Tran Che with her co-workers at Hogan Lovells
VLS Student Tran Che Interns in Vietnam
Tran B. Che '13 graduated from Pennsylvania State University in 2009 with a B.S. in psychology-neuroscience. She originally intended to go to dental school, but her previous experience with policy debate and her passion for law was a perfect match for law school. Villanova quickly opened the doors to many opportunities for her, for which she is very grateful.
Over the summer, Tran interned at Hogan Lovells in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. The internship program, run by the Vietnamese American Bar Association of Washington (VABAW), is called the Hong Duc Clerkship and has been offered for the past four years. VABAW offers one law student full funding for airfare to Ho Chi Minh City, lodging, and a daily stipend for the clerkship. Hogan Lovells put her to work immediately, working on memos, client notes, presentations, and group projects. With the help of the legal translator and other attorneys, she became well acquainted with Vietnamese law. The majority of the commercial transactions involved clients from all over the world, including Japan and France. This November, Tran will be giving a speech at the annual Vietnamese American Bar Association of Washington banquet about her summer experience.
Q & A withTran Che
Why did you choose Villanova?
Villanova has a strong reputation both in Philadelphia and nationally. Growing up in the Philadelphia area, I knew that if I ever wanted to leave, my Villanova education would allow me to practice wherever I wanted to go. Additionally, when I visited Villanova, the students and professors were friendly. I've learned that Villanova is a community where students help each other and encourage one another to do well.
Q: What are the best things (professors, activities, classes, etc.) about Villanova?
A: The best thing about Villanova is our community. Professors and students are always friendly and welcoming which makes our environment a very enjoyable one. Professors are experts in their fields and are always willing to explain and teach concepts to students. Their approachability makes students eager to learn and form bonds with their professors. The intimate Villanova community allows everyone to get to know each other and it's comforting to see familiar faces every day.
Q: What advice do you have for 1Ls and 2Ls for securing their "dream" internship or clerkship?
A: Never give up. From the fall to the spring, I applied often to whichever job opportunities were available on Symplicity, sending out my resumes to any contacts that I had. I was rejected from a fair amount of employers but that never deterred me. My advice would be to never let fear or doubt keep you from applying for an internship or clerkship. Your law career will be built upon the opportunities you created for yourself, not those which you allowed to pass you by.
Q: How did your courses at Villanova help you succeed at Hogan Lovells?
A: Legal writing was definitely the most helpful during my internship at Hogan Lovells. I spent a lot of time editing memos, writing client notes, and simplifying the English in memos for our foreign clients. With foreign investments, a lot of our work involved revisions of contracts. My contracts class definitely helped me with revisions and editing of those agreements.
Q: What differences did you note between legal practice in the United States and abroad?
A: Aside from the laws being different, the practice itself was very similar to what I expected in a US firm. Everyone in the office was very helpful and had an “open-door” policy. Attorneys juggled many cases at one time and worked efficiently and effectively. The only big difference is punctuality. Vietnamese people tend to run ten to twenty minutes late to events, which can get frustrating at times. However, the reason for their tardiness is usually to spend more time with their families in the mornings since they are a multi-generation family-oriented country.
Q: What are your post-graduate career aspirations?
A: I’m hoping to work for an international firm in the future with the option to converse with foreign clients in either Vietnamese or Spanish. I think it’s exciting to interact with others in different languages and it helps you connect with your clients on a different level.
Q: What is one item on your bucket list?
A: Concordant with my interest in international law, the opportunity to experience what practicing law in a foreign country would be like was something I had been eagerly looking forward to. I am grateful to Villanova for giving me the chance to fulfill that goal this summer. It was a deeply enriching experience, both personally and professionally.