Dr. Le Minh Phieu, the man behind multiple M&A deals in Vietnam

After graduating with a master’s degree in 2005, Le Minh Phieu was offered a high-paying job to work at a reputable Japanese corporation. This was also a period when the Vietnamese market was booming with countless opportunities to make money. Le Minh Phieu did, however, leave everything behind to pursue a doctorate degree in France.

Le Minh Phieu studied abroad in France to fulfill a dream shared by many young people at the time: reaching out to the big sea, becoming a global citizen. Following his doctorate graduation, Le Minh Phieu returned to Vietnam and founded LMP Lawyers, and is now a trustworthy legal partner of many big brands, including Mercedes, Pizza 4P’s, Galaxy Media, Thien Viet Securities, Fuji CAC… 

With a Doctorate with Honor in International Trade Law granted by the University of Bordeaux, you have many articles and research on French and international business laws, but why did you return to Vietnam to establish your career?

To be an excellent lawyer in any place, one must have a thorough understanding of the law, culture, customs, politics, society, language, and business practices, as well as have an extensive social network there. Therefore, I still decided to return to Vietnam because this is the country with which I am most familiar and have many vital connections. 

Vietnam is a country with a great working environment and attractive startup opportunities. Being a dynamic and potential market with 69% of the population in working age and a homogeneous language, culture, society, and political institutions, Vietnam is an appealing destination for many foreign investors. 

When I saw many foreigners coming to Vietnam to start their businesses, I wondered why they chose to leave their own country and come here. Why not start up in my own home country, where I am far more familiar than they are?

With an insight of both Vietnamese and international cultures, I am confident that I will have a competitive advantage when practicing in Vietnam.

After returning to Vietnam, you had gained profound experience from working in one of the largest Japanese law firms and advising for many major cases. So, what motivated you to establish your own law firm – LMP Lawyers?

After returning to Vietnam, I was offered a job by a prominent French law firm in Vietnam, but I declined this offer. I had spent a lot of time studying and working in France, so I’d like to learn more about other countries.

At that time, I was drawn to Japan, a country with a culture very different from the liberal France I was used to. I absolutely admire Japan’s determination to rise from the ashes of World War II to become the world’s second largest economy at the time. For that reason, I was determined to join one of Japan’s largest law firms in order to learn more and advance in my career. 

During that valuable time, the Japanese taught me to be precise, detail-oriented, and meticulous in my work and dedication to clients. Professionally, I’ve been given the opportunity to consult on major, multinational deals.

However, I almost exclusively advised the Japanese side when it came to investing and negotiating with the Vietnamese side. The more I do, the more concerned I get about my ambitions and goals. With my aspirations to be a global citizen at that time, I didn’t want to limit myself to only working for one country.

Not only that, I also witnessed entrepreneurs who either went bankrupt or their business failed due to the lack of legal knowledge. I eventually decided to leave this prestigious Japanese firm and established LMP Lawyers, with the mission “To ensure that businesses and entrepreneurs avoid failure due to legal issues, thereby leading to breakthrough improvements in a safe and sustainable manner”.

Have you ever self-evaluated your own different characteristics in the legal market in Vietnam? What are those characteristics?

Thanks to the opportunities to study and experience in France, as well as have a cross-cultural perspective through working at a Japanese law firm, I have absorbed international standards and qualifications. At the same time, having been born and raised in Vietnam, I also have a deep understanding of the practice, character and culture of Vietnamese people.

This is the reason why LMP is always very “smooth” in M&A deals, having an outstanding track record of finding and introducing foreign investors to business owners in Vietnam, and then leading, advising, and closing such deals. The combination of international standards and qualifications together with Vietnamese practice and culture is one of the distinct features that distinguishes LMP Lawyers in the market. In M&A transactions, we are able to comprehend the demands of foreign investors and convey them to the Vietnamese side while taking cultural and commercial norms into account.

Whether representing a buyer or a seller, we always play an important role advising on transaction structure, performing legal due diligence, or negotiating terms and conditions in contracts, agreements, by assisting foreign and domestic investors to understand each other, overcome differences, and make mutual concessions to achieve the goal of completing the transaction. Nowadays, if a lawyer only knows how to practice law, then they are considered outdated, since modern attorneys are required to have the skill set and a profound grasp of business, finance, accounting, strategy, and so on to apply to their profession.

In the current phase of Industry 4.0, when the economy is the association of many professions and fields, a lawyer is demanded to know how to adjust, adapt, and comprehend numerous sectors. And this is also one of LMP Lawyers’s other strengths. Thus, the fact that LMP Lawyers has gained the trust of many major clients, including Mercedes, Pizza 4P’s, Galaxy Media, Thien Viet Securities, Fuji CAC, and numerous Vietnamese enterprises, international corporations, as well as leading domestic and foreign investment funds, is the powerful testament to our strength in the market.

 

 Anh Duong

Source: Cafe F – 01/08/2022

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