Vietnamese boutique Asia Counsel has announced that it has entered into an alliance with European law firm Kinstellar, and also hired M&A veteran Justin Gisz as a partner from local rival Frasers Law Company.

In a release, the Prague-based Kinstellar said Asia Counsel would become its “sister law firm” in Vietnam as it looks to expand its presence across Southeast Asia.

“Our strategy is to continue to develop a first-class group of law firms in jurisdictions where the major international law firms are not focussed, thereby positioning ourselves as the leading innovator and powerhouse in those jurisdictions,” Kinstellar said in the statement.

The 21-lawyer Asia Counsel will continue to operate under its existing name, but with an added appendage of “in association with Kinstellar Southeast Asia.”

Similar to Kinstellar, Asia Counsel also hopes the alliance brings it a strong Southeast Asian network. “Our strategy is to continue to develop a first-class family of connected law firms within developing jurisdictions in Southeast Asia where the major international law firms, which concentrate on the major Western financial centres, are not focussed,” the firm said in a statement.

The leadership team for the alliance will comprise Asia Counsel’s managing partner Minh Duong, partners Gisz and Phong Nguyen – who joined Asia Counsel from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer in August  last year – and the head of Kinstellar’s China desk, Rita Pang.

Gisz, who joins after 17 years at Frasers, advises VC and PE funds, institutional investors, corporates, and high net worth individuals on their investment and business activities in Vietnam.

“I am a huge fan of the Asia Counsel and Kinstellar business models, which I believe present a unique and compelling proposition in the Vietnam legal services market,” Gisz said.

Prior to his stint at Frasers, Gisz held general counsel roles at Australia’s Betcorp and the ANZ operations of DHL/Deutsche Post.

Founded in 2015, the HCMC-based Asia Counsel has three partners. Another partner, Ross Macleod, left recently to launch his own business ventures.  


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