Top tier lawyer off to resource-rich Mongolia for secondment of a lifetime

by Sophie Schroder21 Jul 2014
Minter Ellison Rudd Watts construction lawyer René Theelen is preparing to leave New Zealand and embark on a secondment at the firm’s Mongolian office where he hopes to be involved with the exciting resource-based projects that are emerging thanks to the country's rapidly growing econmony.

Theelen will leave Down Under on August 15 and spend close to four months in the Mongolian capital city of Ulaanbaatar.

After hearing about the secondment opportunity at the beginning of the year, Theelen put his hand up to show interest. He sent his credentials to the Mongolian office a couple of months ago, and was lucky enough to be selected.

“It will be a chance to experience something new while also getting to work one some international projects,” he told NZ Lawyer. “It’s a chance to travel while working, with the support of a top tier firm.”

It will be Theelen’s first time in the east-central Asian country and he hopes practising there at a time that there is a resource boom will give him invaluable skills and experience to bring back to New Zealand.

Alongside the construction team at Minter Ellison, he currently works on energy and resource focused work including fuel supply agreements, as well as straight construction work.

He's excited at the prospect of learning about related issues in a different country.

“I guess like everything all these projects and agreements are quite specific so you end up getting unique risks and challenges with each project,” Theelen says. “It will be interesting to see how all these arise in different jurisdictions.”

Working with Minter Ellison, which has a strong Australasian and international presence, provides good opportunities to be involved with such projects, he says.

During his down time in Mongolia he is looking forward to exploring the ancient country.

Minter Ellison opened its office in Ulaanbaatar in February 2012.

Senior corporate partner Elisabeth Ellis works at the office as the full time, resident partner.

With Mongolia's rapidly emerging resource-based economy attracting the attention of the global resources industry, Minter Ellison aims to assist clients with inbound and outbound investment opportunities in the developing market.

Ulaanbaatar is Minter Ellison's fourth office in Asia. The firm has been in Hong Kong since 1989 and opened in Shanghai in 2001 and in Beijing in 2010.