Clifford Chance’s former Vietnamese ally expands with energy bolt-on

One of Vietnam’s largest firms, VILAF, has expanded its energy practice by taking on sole-partner local boutique LDV Lawyers.

VILAF Ngo Thanh Tung
Ngo Thanh Tung

The enlarged VILAF now has 11partners and nearly 50 lawyers. LDV Lawyers managing partner Luu Hoang Ha has become a partner at VILAF based in Ho Chi Minh City. Ha is a highly regarded energy lawyer in Vietnam who has advised Fortune 500 clients and Vietnamese government agencies in a number of complex transactions in Vietnam’s energy and natural resources sector. Some of his clients include GE Oil and Gas, KrisEnergy, Mubadala Petroleum, Petronas and Phu My 3 BOT Power Plant.

Outside of private practice, Ha also serves as the vice-chairman of AmCham Vietnam’s energy committee and as Vietnam director of the Association of International Petroleum Negotiators. He is the seventh partner in VILAF working on projects, power, oil and gas, water, infrastructure and mining.

VILAF, which was an affiliate of Clifford Chance in Vietnam from 1994 to 2000, recently lost Hanoi-based banking and finance partner Tran Anh Duc to Allen & Overy (21 December 2012). Duc served as the firm’s country managing partner prior to his departure.

VILAF now has two managing partners, Vo Ha Duyen in Ho Chi Minh City and Tran Tuan Phong in Hanoi, under the top leadership of founding partner and chairman Ngo Thanh Tung in Ho Chi Minh City.

“This merger represents a significant growth of VILAF. It creates the first precedent of merger between two local firms. It benefits clients of both LDV and VILAF through a stronger team and expanded capabilities, especially in M&A, oil, gas and project financing,” said Tung. He also indicated that VILAF will continue growing by merger and lateral hires.

Prior to the latest expansion, the firm strengthened its partnership through the promotion of corporate lawyer Nguyen Quang Vu, who worked in Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer’s Hanoi office for eight years.