Ho Chi Minh City, commonly known as Saigon, is a city with a rich culture and history. War relics from the devastating Vietnam War that lasted 20 years, and left a profound impact on the country’s economy, can still be found in the city.
From a war torn country to emerging as one of the world’s fastest-growing economies, Vietnam has come a long way. The city whose fall marked the end of the devastating war is now a major commercial and financial hub of Vietnam. Here is a quick guide to help lawyers and legal professionals effectively navigate this fascinating city during their visits.
Getting around Ho Chi Minh City
Ho Chi Minh City’s metro line is still under construction and there may be crazy traffic and congestion due to the undergoing metro construction at some places. However, you can still get around the city easily.
Taxi: Taxis are one of the easiest and most convenient ways of getting around Ho Chi Minh City. They are easy to hail and inexpensive. You can also book a cab or a motorcycle taxi through the Grab app.
Motorcycle Taxi (Xe Om): Motorcycles dominate the roads of the city and motorcycle taxis are another convenient way of getting around.
Cyclo: The three-wheeled cyclo can be mostly found at popular landmarks, temples, and restaurants. Once a popular mode of transportation, it is not so common anymore and limited to short trips.
Bus: There are more than 100 bus lines and routes around Ho Chi Minh City and these are a great way of exploring the city on budget. If you chose to travel by bus, you may download the Bus Map App to find all the routes and schedules.
Hotels, Restaurants, Shopping and Entertainment
Most of the City’s luxury hotels are located in District 1. Here you’ll also find some stunning boutique hotels reflecting a unique blend of French colonial and contemporary Vietnamese architecture.
The district is also home to some of the best restaurants and shopping centers and malls of the city. Some of the major landmarks of the city are also located in this area. It is a compact district that can be easily explored on foot.
District 1 is vibrant, touristy and bustling with travelers. However if you prefer a quiet and relaxing place, District 2 is the best area to stay for you. It is an upscale neighborhood by the Saigon River, home to a majority of the expats in the city.
It is far from the city centre and tourist attractions but there are hotels that offer complimentary boat shuttle that will take you to the centre of the city in 15 minutes.
Here are a few places that are worth visiting on a short trip in Saigon.
- War Remnants Museum
- Cu Chi Tunnels
- Reunification Palace
- Jade Emperor Pagoda
- Cao Dai Temple
- Riverboat tour
Ho Chi Minh City Legal Resources
History of the Vietnam legal profession
In 1946 the Vietnamese legal organization was set up under which the lawyers who had a license to practice before 1945 were required to undertake legal education.
Vietnam In 1986, began to open the doors to introduce reform policies, and set up a private legal practice association. In 1987, the government issued the ordinance on lawyers.
In 2001, the government again revised the ordinance of 1987. Under the new ordinance, Vietnam tried to open up more to the international community, and they began to negotiate and then sign a US bilateral trade agreement.
In 2007, Vietnam joined the World Trade Organization (WTO).
As a result of increased training opportunities, lawyers in Vietnam enjoy a much more advanced access to education and opportunities. While 99% of Vietnamese lawyers have been trained at the judicial academy, there is an increasing number of Vietnamese lawyers who have trained abroad or are practicing law with international firms in Vietnam.
Foreign Law Firms & Lawyers in Vietnam
Foreign lawyers have been present in Vietnam since early 1990. At that time, foreign law firms in Vietnam could only open representative offices, but could not practice law.
In 1998, the government issued Decree 92 which allowed a foreign law firms to practice law in Vietnam.
The year 2006 saw a new law on lawyers allowing foreign law firms to represent their clients in litigation cases, provided the lawyer who attends the trial is a Vietnamese lawyer.
According to the Ministry of Justice, by the end of 2010, Vietnam had 51 branches of foreign law firms.
Published monthly in English by Vietnam News Agency, since September 1994, Vietnam Law & Legal Forum magazine is a reliable resource for those who wish to inquire into Vietnamese laws and policies.
The OFFICIAL GAZETTE is the English translation of new legal documents printed in the Government Office’s Công Báo. Since September 1994 more than 7,000 legal documents on different domains have been translated into English and published in the Official Gazette.
Following are the two bar associations of Vietnam:
- Bar Association of Hanoi
- Vietnam Bar Federation
Top Law Firms in Ho Chi Minh City
Listed below are a few of the top law firms in the Ho Chi Minh City Area:
- Baker & McKenzie
- AV Law LLC
- D.S. Avocats
- Kevin Chia Partnership
- Tilleke & Gibbins International, Ltd.
Law Firms in Vietnam
Following are a few of the top law firms in Vietnam:
- LNT & Partners
- DFDL, Ho Chi Minh City
- DFDL, Hanoi
Legal Events in Ho Chi Minh City
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Asia Law Portal’s “Find a Lawyer”
Client’s can find lawyers in Vietnam via Asia Law Portal’s “Find a Lawyer” section, which contains listings of law firms practicing in the Asia-Pacific region, including Vietnam.