Canada firm pulls in former premier

CANADIAN law firm Goodman Phillips & Vineberg gained the services of a former premier of Ontario, the country's largest province, last week.

Bob Rae retired as leader of the New Democratic Party a day before joining as partner in Goodman Phillips' Toronto office. He was Ontario premier for nearly five years, stepping down in June last year, when his government was defeated.

The authority of Canadian provincial governments extends over all sectors, from regulating capital markets to environmental regulations and taxes and, except for monetary policy and foreign affairs, they are more powerful than the federal government.

Goodman Phillips' co-chair Dale Lastman said Rae would help the firm's clients with international issues.

“For example, as premier, Bob was part of Team Canada that went to China in 1994 and he has spent considerable time in the Far East. Our Beijing office tells us Bob is well known to Chinese government and business leaders and that they respect his pragmatic approach to building trade and investment ties,” he said.

Lastman said Rae would focus on improving partnerships between the public and private sector, and was at home in the world's financial centres.

“As premier during a tough recession in Ontario, Bob has to know and deal with the players in capital markets in Canada, London and New York,” he said.

UK firms have won four out of 16 practice licences issued by the Vietnam government, more than any other country.

Clifford Chance, Lovell White Durrant and Freshfields are among 14 firms that have received new licences to run offices in Vietnam. Sinclair Roche & Temperley are expected to receive their second practice licence next month.

The other firms are from Singapore, France, Australia, the US and Hong Kong.

Clifford Chance, Freshfields and Sinclair Roche have received licences for their offices in Hanoi and Lovell for its office in Ho Chi Minh City.

The system of regulating the presence of foreign firms in Vietnam by issuing official licences was introduced last year. The main criterion for obtaining a licence is the existence of a client base with interests in Vietnam.

Tom Rose, media relations manager for Clifford Chance, said: “Vietnam has an expanding economy which is becoming more market-led.

“It is, therefore, becoming an increasingly popular place for western firms to invest. We hope to get a second licence for our office in Ho Chi Minh.”