Allens Arthur Robinson (AAR) is to bolt on the two Vietnam offices of Phillips Fox following the latter’s decision to shun a link-up with DLA Piper.

The Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City practices of Phillips Fox will link up with AAR from 1 January 2007, subject to regulatory approval. AAR will establish new premises for the two partners and 17 other lawyers.

Phillips Fox is to rebrand as DLA Phillips Fox later this year and become a member of the DLA Piper Group – a network of firms that share the brand and access to resources but which remain financially independent, as reported on (15 June).

The rated Vietnam practices in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City spurned DLA Piper’s advances and opted out of the link-up, splitting from the Phillips Fox partnership, as reported by The Lawyer (4 September).

Vietnam partner Bill Magennis operates in Hanoi while Nigel Russell will join in Ho Chi Minh City. The practice includes five foreign senior associates and 12 Vietnamese lawyers, while the 16 support staff, all ongoing client matters and website will all come under AAR’s control.

AAR managing partner Tom Poulton said: “Our aim is to be the leading legal firm in the Asia-Pacific region and expanding into Vietnam is another important step in this process.”

The addition of Vietnam will give AAR, the Australian best friend of Slaughter and May, 14 offices in seven countries. The firm already has Chinese offices in Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai, and is present in Cambodia, Papua New Guinea, Singapore and Thailand, together with an association in Indonesia.

The Vietnam practice covers projects, energy, corporate M&A and banking and finance.