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    March 26, 2008  

Duane Morris Gets Vietnam License

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One of the longest flight routes in the world goes from Newark to Singapore. Doug Woloshin, Managing Partner of Duane Morris's DC office, has made the trip 25 times in the last 18 months. He's endured all those airplane meals (not to mention the visits to Newark) in the name of opening offices in Singapore and Vietnam, where Duane Morris has become the second U.S. law firm licensed to practice (after Baker & McKenzie).


The firm broke ground in the Far East with its Singapore office, which has been operational since the start of '07. Doug insists the choice had less to do with the city's great hotels or New-York-quality restaurants (hmmm) than the ease of doing business in an English-speaking environment. It didn't hurt that the firm had local connections through partner Eduardo Ramos Gomez, the former Mexican Ambassador to Singapore, now installed as managing partner of the Asian offices.


An inveterate baseball fan, Doug shows his pride in the Nationals. We pulled the truth out of him though: the NY native still has a soft spot for the Yankees.


Vietnam was the next logical step, since Singapore sends lots of investment into the newly capitalistic country that joined the WTO last year. (The real proof of its business mindset: Golf courses are going up like mad.) Working with Ernst & Young, Doug helped the firm obtain the rare license to practice under Vietnam's new enterprise law. In June, it opened in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City with imported lawyers from Germany, New Zealand, and the U.S. Fluent Vietnamese language skills helped the German attorney, Oliver Massmann, nab an assignment to rewrite Vietnamese business regs to comply with WTO standards. 


Doug says the long-term plan is hire the best local practitioners, and he devoted a recent trip to recruiting. The firm has since added three native attorneys, working on matters like privatizing the state bank and helping a major I-bank develop a real estate portfolio in Vietnam. Doug tells us if all goes well, profitability is within reach two years from opening. Maybe then he'll be able to fly somewhere else. 

Arent Fox
Gilbert Randolph
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