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Billing and Invoice

Q & A - Billing and Invoice

1. How many methods of calculation of legal service fee is your law firm applying?

We understand thoroughly and share your concern with respect to the legal service fee payable from a limited budget and that is the reason we have adopted a flexible way of payment: hourly fee, fixed fee and success fee. The hourly fee(which is the most commonly used method) is usually applied to assigned works where it is difficult or impossible to determine their completion time (e.g., regular legal advice; dispute settlement); fixed fee is usually applied to work where we can estimate the completion time (e.g. obtainment of investment licenses, registration of internal labour regulations, trademark registration, obtainment of work permits, etc.); and successful fee applied for a job where a number of clients, for many reasons, do not have the ability nor intention to pay the initial legal service fees (for example, recovery of bad debts).

2. What are your law firm hourly rates? Do they change often?

The current hourly charges of our team of lawyers and supporting staffs are as follows:

Senior Partner USD480/hour

Partner USD430/hour

Senior Associate USD330/hour

Associate USD280/hour

Senior Paralegal USD230/hour

Paralegal USD200/hour

Translator USD50/A4 page, font Times New Roman, 12pt font size

We often change the hourly rates of Phuoc & Partners annually on the first day of January and such changes will be advised in writing to our clients at least seven (07) days before the application. These changes will be based on the percentage of inflation of the Vietnam Dong (VND), the social and economic situation of Vietnam and legal demands in the business and individual areas. The changes are applied consistently not only to new clients but also current clients of Phuoc & Partners who are using our legal services.

3. Can I pay the legal service fee of your law firm in a foreign currency?

According to current regulationson foreign exchange control of Vietnam, payment currency in transactions within the territory of Vietnam (including legal services related transactions) must be in the currency of Vietnam (VND). Therefore, the payment currency will be VND on all of our quotes/legal service contracts and service invoices issued to all of our clients being organizations registered to operate in Vietnam and foreign individuals permanently presentin Vietnam. For some cases that our clients have foreign elements, such as foreign-invested companies, representative offices and branches of foreign traders in Vietnam, our law firm can, in addition to VND, further notice the payment currency in foreign currency(applicable toU.S. dollars(USD) only) with the value of USD equivalent to the amount of VND at the selling exchange rate of the State Bank of Vietnam, calculated at that time of the clients’ referral, comparison and internal reporting,but the payment must be by VND. The quotes/legal services agreements and payment in USD will only apply to client companies and individuals which do not have a permanent presence in Vietnam.

4. How much is the Value Added Tax (VAT”) rate applicable for legal services of Vietnam?

The VAT rate applicable for legal services is 10% (standard rate). However, if the legal service(s) are provided to clients which/who are abroad, and the provided legal service(s) are conducted (the word “consumed” as technical term in the legal documents) outside Vietnam, a VAT rate of 0% will be applied (being treated as a service for export). Please note the conditions for enjoying the 0% VAT rate for clients abroad which/who is an organization without a permanent establishment in Vietnam and is not a VAT payer in Vietnam no longer apply. In respect of cases where the legal service(s) are provided for enterprises located in the export processing zones of Vietnam, such legal services will also be entitled to the 0% VAT rate.

5. I am an individual client, shall I bear VAT levied on your firm’s legal service fee?

Under the provisions of the current Law on VAT in Vietnam, goods and services used by organizations and individuals for production, trading and consumption in Vietnam are generally subject to VAT and legal services are not an exception to this rule. Therefore, even if you are an individual using our legal services and you do not need a VAT invoice, you must also bear VAT on the amount of legal service fees that you have to pay us and we are also liable to issue VAT invoices to you. With the responsibility to pay VAT to the State, we will charge and collect the VAT from you as mentioned above and pay it to the State treasury as prescribed.

6. How many methods of payment of legal service fees is your company applying?

We are currently applying two forms of payment i.e. by bank transferand in cash. Bank transfer is the most commonly applied form especially for any transferred amount of 20 million VND or more in accordance with the VAT Law, and is tobe treated as a deductible VAT input. Currently, we do not accept any payment from clients by credit card or cheques.

7. Why do I have to pay a retainer to your law firm right after the fee quote/legal service agreement is signed?

This is the general practice of law firms because, when carrying out legal work for clients. We have to arrange the right human resources needed for the job as well as incur some necessary expenses for services purchased from outside suppliers related to your assigned work and sowe need to receive some money from you for us to cover costs incurred. The retainer will be deducted from the service fee of the last invoice issued to you, and if there is still a positive balance of the retainer, it will be refunded.

8. Is your law firm using many kinds of service invoices?

We are using two types of service invoices i.e. provisional invoice and VAT invoice. The provisional invoice is typically issued to clients when we start working on the assigned work and the clients need to pay the retainer as required under the fee quote/legal service contract signed or upon the end of each stage of the assigned work or at the date of completion of the assigned work agreed by the two sides. The provisional invoice will list the work that our team of lawyers and supporting staff has done in a particular period of time for the assigned work and our fees for the actual time spent. If the client has a comment as to the content of the provisional invoice, wewill respond, explain, modify accordingly and return with a final one upon which the parties have agreed. If client does not have any further comments, either (1) the clients will pay the service fees according to those stated in the provisional invoice and once the service fee is received in full, we will accordingly issue the VAT invoice; or (2) the VAT invoice will be issued first and then the client will pay the service fee within seven (07) days from the invoice date or the number of days agreed to by the two sides in the fee quote/legal services agreement signed.

9. Does your law firm request for reimbursement from the client for out of pocket expenses incurred relating to the client’s assigned work?

Under the general billing policy of law firms in general and Phuoc & Partners in particular, the cost of our purchase of services or goods from outside suppliers relating to the assigned work(s) will be paid in advance by us and then reimbursed by the client through the content recorded in the provisional invoice. For some high value items which accord to the level of money agreed by the two parties, we will ask for prior consent from the client. These out of pocket expense costs include, but are not limited, to travel expenses (taxi fare; car rental; tickets of trains, cars, airplanes; tolls; packing fees); accommodation (hotel charges; laundry; meals); telecommunication costs (telephone, fax, internet); government fees and charges; and other expenses (photocopying, notary fees). We always carefully keep invoices/documents relating to the expenses, and are ready to provide to the client upon request.

10. What are the consequences if I am unable to pay your law firm’s service fee promptly in accordance with those stated in the fee quote/legal service contract?

If you are unable to pay our service fees on time, a penalty for late payment of 0.05% per day will be automatically applied for the total amount of payment delayed from that point of time. If the duration of payment delay is more than 30 days from the date of issue of the invoice, we will remind you 3 times in the next 30 days. However, in case the amount of the service fee has not been paid and we will not have received any positive feedback from you, we have no other choice but to consider seeking a favourable judgment from a competent court and ask a competent judgment execution agency to enforce the court judgment to recover our debts.

11. Why are there many lawyers from many different professional levels of your law firm involved in my simple case?

Legal work delivered to our clients in very diverse in many different legal fields from simple to complex. Therefore, depending on the complexity of the work and expertise of each lawyer we will arrange suitable person(s) to be responsible for your work to help reduce your costs and increase the efficiency of time of our lawyers. If the legal work given to us is complex and requires focused expertise in a variety of legal areas such as tax, intellectual property and trade at the same time, then we must organise a number of specialists from different areas of legal expertise to work on your profile at the same time. We hope you will understand how we reasonably arrange our jobs as described above.

12. After paying the retainer to your law firm, I, due to personal reason(s) do not want to continue the legal work which was assigned to your law firm but has not been completed yet, can I have refund of the retainer paid?

According to our working principles, as soon as you sign the fee quote/legal services agreement drafted by us, our staff have been deployed immediately to the service of your work to ensure the time of completion committed to you, so if you, for some personal reasons (not because of our intentional faults) request us to stop the assigned work being carried out, the retainer paid will not be refunded. In addition, if the cost of the time our staff spent for your legal work is higher than the amount of retainer paid, we will notify you accordingly in order that you should pay the extra cost.

13. If a lawyer of your law firm provides legal advice or performs legal work which is wrong and which causes serious material damage to me, will your law firm pay compensation and how much is the amount of compensation?

If a lawyer or supporting staff of Phuoc & Partners provide legal advice or performs legal work which is wrong and which caused serious material damage directly to the client, provided there is clear evidence for that we will be liable for material damage to the client in accordance with the current civil law. However, in all cases, the amount of compensation that we shall pay will not exceed either the total amount of service fee that we have received from such client for that particular assigned work to the date of compensation or the compensation paid from insurance company, depending on which amount is higher.