Ten years ago tomorrow I started my first day working for Indochine Counsel. I was a year out of law school, having spent six months finishing the qualifying requirements for the California Bar Association and then six months trying to find work in the middle of the Great Recession. The future seemed bleak but then I came to Vietnam and found a position working corporate and commercial for Indochine Counsel. I started on October 1, 2009, ten years ago.
I thought I would take this anniversary opportunity to review some of the things that I’ve seen at Indochine Counsel and to perhaps publicize the abilities of the firm.
Since I came on board Indochine Counsel has grown in size, from approximately 20 to now 30 lawyers, added three partners, and moved offices from Nguyen Du to Nguyen Thi Minh Khai. In the beginning, IC only had a Ho Chi Minh City office, but in the interim, they opened a Hanoi office, and have appointed a partner there to lead the team in the north. The other two partners appointed are females, marking IC as a progressive firm aware of the need to promote gender equality.
From the beginning IC was well ranked by international directories. They remain ranked and recommended by the same legal directories. In fact, Duc was just named as an elite practitioner. IC was ranked tier one for media law, and the firm was recommended for mergers and acquisitions. The trophy case of the firm is full of rankings and awards received by Duc and the lawyers who work for Indochine Counsel.
I have gained many good friends through Indochine Counsel, even though I don’t work their full time, and have been able to maintain relationships that mark a lasting bond. I have helped edit college entry essays, attended vacation trips and gotten to know the children of many of the members of the firm. I have worked on the Client Alert and now this blog since their inception. They remain helpful hints for clients and colleagues about the present state of the law in Vietnam.
Vietnam has changed too. Most of the skyline now visible across the Saigon River from District 2 is new, built in the last ten years, and acts as a sign of the construction and development that have occurred so rapidly throughout the country. The Supreme Court has begun issuing precedent marking a now hybridization of the legal system between Civil and Common Law. Vietnam has moved from a minor exporter to a major exporter, taking the lead from China in the midst of the current trade war between the United States and China. Vietnam is respected around the world and is seen as a major investment destination.
I have changed too. I’ve struggled with mental health issues, worked in three countries, and written several books. I’m still a lawyer, though, and still able to help, just like the lawyers at Indochine Counsel, to guide investors through the landmines and obstacles of the legal system in Indochina and, more specifically, in Vietnam.