Attorney Entrepreneur Dao Nguyen Represents Good Business
Dao is an exemplary lawyer and entrepreneur. She has over 29 years of experience in law firms all across the world under her belt. Like other great entrepreneurs, she worked her way into opening her own business. In 2014, she set up DN Legal, a Vietnam-based law firm that offers full legal services “for clients who require commercial and innovative solutions”.
The Best Education Starts at Home
Dao’s father was a pharmacist and an entrepreneur, and she learned the ins and outs of mergers and acquisitions from him. In the 1950s, Dao’s father brought the French pharmaceutical company, OPV, onto Vietnamese shores. By 1975, it was the largest company in Vietnam.
Dao was only 3-years old when her father passed away. At this point, her mother and mother’s sisters took over the family business. Dinners were a constant stream of business meetings. And all the business talk became second nature to Dao and her 11 siblings.
Dao was 10-years old when her family emigrated to Boston. She adjusted well to her life as an immigrant. When the time came, she naturally decided on law school. She interned at the same law firm for two consecutive summers. Upon graduation, she joined the practice, where she stayed for a number of years.
Her marriage brought her to Japan, where she also practiced law briefly. But an opportunity from Vietnam eventually brought her home.
Dao Returns to Her Roots
Vietnam opened its door to foreign investment in 1987. At 65-years of age, Dao’s mother decided that it was a good time to start a business again. While her mother set up shop, Dao was hired by a local firm to help get HSBC into Vietnam. This turned into a golden learning opportunity, because it was the first ever attempt to bring an international bank into the local market. Dao performed exceptionally.
Over the next few years, Dao practiced law within the Vietnamese business landscape. She was recognized as a leading lawyer multiple times over by Chambers Asia, Asia Pacific Legal 500, and AI Global.
In 2014, she decided that she wanted to work on something more personal. She set up DN Legal soon after.
DN Legal provides legal advice in corporate and M&A, banking and finance, real estate, energy, and infrastructure. Dao’s energy is palpable in every aspect of the company. Whereas most law offices look the same, DN Legal has bright pink office chairs and a blush pink logo. The way she runs her practice is a direct result of what she has learned after over 20 years.
Key Lessons for Great Entrepreneurs
One, a great entrepreneur is true to themselves. Dao never saw herself fitting in with the lawyers who dressed in “white shirts and blue blazers”. And when she built her company, she made sure that it reflected her personal style. The consistency between her brand and character has resulted in a steady influx of clients who value honesty and consistency.
Two, a great entrepreneur invests in themselves. During the early days of DN Legal, Dao was plagued with fears of failure. But she also decided that she was going to give it her all. Her initial commitment of money, time, and effort has paid off in the long-run.
Three, a great entrepreneur values relationships. As a career woman, Dao often felt like she had to pick between work and family. Unsurprisingly, work often won. When she opened her own firm, Dao realized that she shouldn’t have to make that choice. She now makes it a point to work with fewer clients. While she handles fewer cases in DN Legal, she finds more joy in providing personalized attention. Her clients are far happier. And Dao finds that so is she.
Dao Nguyen is currently based in Ho Chi Minh City yet living in Las Vegas. She is a strong proponent of educating young Vietnamese lawyers and entrepreneurs.
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