Kinstellar marks Southeast Asia launch with 21-lawyer ‘sister’ firm

European powerhouse joins forces with Vietnamese outfit Asia Counsel

Leading European independent Kinstellar has expanded into the Southeast Asian legal market after forming a joint venture with 21-lawyer Vietnamese firm Asia Counsel.  

Prague-based Kinstellar, which currently operates across 11 countries in Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia, said the tie-up would act as a launchpad for its expansion 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 focused, thereby positioning ourselves as the leading innovator and powerhouse in those jurisdictions,” the firm said.  

Asia Counsel will continue to operate under its existing brand but in association with Kinstellar Southeast Asia. Founded in 2015, the Ho Chi Minh City-based firm has built up a steady client base of multinationals, international law firms, investment funds, venture capital funds, private equity investors and financial institutions. It also serves high-profile Vietnamese corporations with their full business lifecycle in Vietnam, from market entry and M&A to daily operations and regional expansion.

The firm houses a mixture of Vietnamese and foreign lawyers, including managing partner Minh Duong and partners Justin Gisz and Phong Nguyen.

Duong is a highly rated M&A lawyer in Vietnam, where he has worked for more than 15 years, and is admitted in the Supreme Court of New South Wales, Australia and the High Court of Australia. His practice also covers banking and finance matters.  

Meantime Gisz advises VC and PE funds, corporates and high net worth individuals on their investment and business activities in Vietnam, and Nguyen specialises in M&A, capital markets, banking and finance and corporate and commercial law.  

Kinstellar senior partner, Jason Mogg, said the tie-up was “a significant milestone for our group and for its development plans for Southeast Asia. We are excited to have a firm of the quality of Asia Counsel in our group and about pursuing the next steps in Southeast Asia”.

Kinstellar was founded in Prague in 1992 and later became fully independent when it spun off from parent firm Linklaters in 2008. It expanded into Croatia in 2022 after joining forces with 20-lawyer Croatian law firm Žurić i Partneri and the year before added its Ukraine base when it absorbed DLA Piper’s Kiev office in a move that marked the latter firm’s exit from the Ukrainian market. 

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