The Vietnamese American Bar Association of Washington Foundation is pleased to announce that the recipient of the 2008 Hồng Đức Clerkship is Stephanie Tuong-Vi Do, University of Washington School of Law Class of 2009. Stephanie spent the summer of 2008 at the international law firm Lovells. Lovells is one of the largest international business legal practices, with over 1,600 lawyers operating from 26 offices in Europe, Asia and the United States. Stephanie clerked at Lovells’ Ho Chi Minh City office in Vietnam.

Stephanie earned her bachelor’s degree in political science (with a minor in business management) at the University of California, Irvine. During college, she interned with the City of South Pasadena in coordinating worker’s compensation claims and grant applications. Stephanie also volunteered with the South Pasadena Education Foundation, where she assisted in fundraising efforts. In addition to graduating cum laude from University of California, Irvine, she was also a member of the Phi Beta Kappa National Honor Society and the National Political Science Honor Society.

Now a second-year law student at the University of Washington School of Law, Stephanie is treasurer and board member of the Asian Pacific American Law Student Association (“APALSA”). Stephanie spent her summer 2007 as a summer associate at Garvey Schubert Barer in Seattle.

At our 2008 Annual Banquet, Stephanie made the following remarks about the Hồng Đức Clerkship.

“Vietnam, like many other countries in Asia, is in the midst of a transformation. It resonates not only in its economy, but also in its society and culture. The Vietnam today is not the same Vietnam my parents left, and certainly not the Vietnam I had pictured in my mind.

The Hong Duc Clerkship was a way for me to discover Vietnam, to observe its evolution and development, and to see its growing legal system in practice. It was a way to represent the expatriate Vietnamese community, and also participate as one of the growing numbers of Americans interested in visiting and working in Vietnam. And I was surprised to find that Vietnam is a bustling country drawing people from different corners of the world.

This summer provided an eye opening experience, and the atmosphere at the Lovells Ho Chi Minh City Office was a perfect reflection of Vietnam’s environment.

I was amazed by the level of talent and diversity pooled among the 16 people working at the office.

On one of my favorite assignments, I assisted in drafting a sales and purchase agreement and joint venture agreement with a young Danish junior associate, a German senior attorney who had been working in Vietnam for over 5 years, a French-Indian senior attorney, who had worked in France and Vietnam, an American attorney who had over 20 years legal experience in Japan, the United States, and Vietnam, and a young Vietnamese trainee.

I was expected to dive right into the work, at a level of responsibility not expected by many summer associates in the United States.

And it was incredible to see how each individual contributed to the success of the project, from the European attorneys who worked directly with the foreign clients, to the Vietnamese trainee who translated documents and helped working with the Vietnamese clients. Though we each came from different backgrounds, we were all in one office, with the common goal of creating progress through the legal system.

I went to Vietnam hoping to develop a new perspective of what it means to be a lawyer and what it means to be a Vietnamese American. And once I was working in Vietnam, I felt the vibrant energy of the country and the diverse group of people drawn to Vietnam and living in Vietnam.

I developed a richer understanding of what it means to be a Vietnamese American attorney. There is more to being a lawyer than mastering a legal regime. Rather, I recognize that being successful in a legal career encompasses a holistic approach that utilizes all of my skill sets and experiences, a flexibility to adapt.

I would like to thank my family and VABAW, especially Denise, Peter, Thuy, and Lam for their continuous faith and belief in the Clerkship program and my abilities to succeed, and providing me with an enriching and unique experience that will be the foundation for my legal career.”

We also invite you to view a video presentation about the 2008 Hồng Đức Clerkship. Special thank you to Prolumina Trial Technologies for the video presentation.

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