Exploring life at Hogan Lovells with associate Hoang Ha Nguyen

Our "Life at Hogan Lovells" series continues with Hanoi-based associate Hoang Ha Nguyen, who shares with us how fate led her to join Hogan Lovells in our Vietnam office. She provides insights into her most noteworthy projects at the firm and how these have impacted her legal career, work ethic as well clients. Having made life-long friends during her tenure at the firm, she shares words of encouragement to up-and-coming lawyers, and shares how she maintains a work-life balance.

What attracted you to Hogan Lovells?

I first heard about Hogan Lovells when I was at university. Hogan Lovells’ reputation to me then was as an international firm providing legal services across many sectors, including Corporate and Finance (which I wanted to focus on).

I was then “attracted” again to Hogan Lovells when I studied in the Netherlands. I had a chance to walk by the Hogan Lovells’ office in Amsterdam. I knew then I now had multiple signs to do a bit more digging and exploring. After some research, I was impressed by how diversified the firm is, and how wide the range of industry sectors are that the firm can provide to its clients, especially across many jurisdictions. I always thought I would enjoy working on cross-border projects with colleagues from other countries. Since being with Hogan Lovells, I am taking great pleasure in all the work that I am doing, and that what I read about back at the start of this journey and response was/is truly the case.

You've handled a diverse range of cases for Vietnamese and international clients. Could you share some notable projects or cases you've been involved in and explain why they stood out?

Since joining Hogan Lovells, there are two particularly memorable cases which personally standout. The first is a matter where we successfully obtained a license for an international client whose business is growing in Vietnam. We balanced the requests from local authorities, the client’s timeline, and ensuring legality and processing of all documents.

Another significant case that I have been supporting on and driving is a multi-regulator investigations matter which brings together colleagues from Singapore, and the United States. This is the first time I have had the opportunity to work in this industry sector and with many fee-earners, as well as a diverse team. I have had the opportunity to take the lead with tasks as well as to work and learn from colleagues from multiple countries with different yet effective working approaches.

Working on these two cases in particular have developed my knowledge and subject matter expertise but also my skills in management. It is not merely time management; it includes various types of management such as team management, client and regulatory expectations, and competing matters and deadlines.

What do you find most fulfilling about your job and what keeps you motivated?

The most fulfilling thing about being an international lawyer is that I can provide legal advice for clients from other countries to support their businesses in Vietnam. Being a lawyer also gives me plenty of opportunities to meet with people and learn from them, not only to strengthen my working skills but also develop friendships and connections and I do think I am building many life-long friends.

For me, motivation can come from a very small thing. The feeling of assisting clients can be one of them. At Hogan Lovells, I feel motivated every day by my seniors and my colleagues because of their encouragement and the genuinely friendly atmosphere.

Which aspects of law firm life do you enjoy the most? (e.g., networks, pro bono work, community engagement, etc.)

Since working at Hogan Lovells, I have had plenty of chances to connect and work with colleagues from many offices. I found my colleagues to be not only working buddies but also friends in life. I am grateful for the diversity and support of Hogan Lovells’ working environment.

Apart from being entitled to experience multi-cultural and multi-working styles, I also appreciate the firm for creating training and learning courses for junior lawyers. The firm cares about the junior lawyers and develops suitable courses for junior lawyers to learn and progress. The firm does not wait until you are at a certain seniority to invest in your future.

Which industries in Vietnam are currently experiencing significant activity, and how is Hogan Lovells contributing to their progress?

Vietnam is currently a great destination for investors in the energy sector. The Vietnamese government recently promulgated Power Development Plan VIII (PDP8), which has multiple significant highlights and is the legal framework for the implementation of power plant projects. With the issuance of PDP8, the Vietnamese government is promoting the development of renewable energy.

Our Vietnamese office is currently assisting clients in numerous energy projects, both for their investment plans by supporting M&A and diligence and also for their internal compliance with Vietnamese regulations.

Do you have any advice for junior associates or law students aspiring to work in a similar role?

Being a lawyer is not just working at the office and doing research to advise the client; it also requires various elements such as client-facing communications and interactions, teamwork, client and internal management, self-learning, etc. I would say: “Understand yourself, be keen to learn, and do not be afraid of making mistakes”. The first thing about understanding yourself is to know well what your strengths are, which industry or sector you would like to focus on, and prepare yourself both mentally and physically if you would like to pursue this career in the long term. The time to get to know yourself cannot be at one time but will change through your working process.

I recommend junior associates or law students learn and keep the willingness to learn from every task that they are assigned. Each task you work on and deliver to your supervisors, or even directly to the client can always give you a lesson to learn. Therefore, always try your best and work hard on it. Always think of doing the task as if you are the person who directly reports to the client and not the one who has senior associates and partners behind you.

Making mistakes can freak you out! However, as a young lawyer or law student, mistakes can happen. It’s important to try to pre-empt mistakes and pre-empt questions the client or your supervisor might ask, and taking those actions will minimize mistakes. As lawyers, we are trusted by our clients to support them through difficulties. Thus, be bold, be courageous to realize and recognize feedback or pre-empt feedback, and ask questions, that can’t be easily researched, to move the issue forward. I have learnt to always be prepared even at a junior level to come up with a solution. Your solution can even be the best solution.

How do you typically spend your time outside of work?

I have been doing Pilates for more than 2 years and enjoy it very much. Pilates is a great exercise that gives you both mental and physical training, and sometimes, gives you a good picture for your social networks.

I am also a foodie, so I like to ride my scooter around and enjoy the food. If you ever have time to travel to Hanoi, do not hesitate to contact me, and I will give you a Hanoi food map to try out.

Download PDF Back To Listing