Aristotle David

– Masters of Law, International and European Law, Universitiet van Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands
– World Intellectual Property Office Academy, Certificate on Principles of Intellectual Property Right
– Certificate on International Courts and Tribunals, UNITAR/Raoul Wallenberg Institute
– Postgraduate Diploma, International Human Rights Law, International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University, The Hague, Netherlands
– Bachelor of Laws, Law, San Sebastian College, Manila City, Philippines
– Bachelor of Arts, Political Science, Ateneo De Manila University, Quezon City, Philippines


Aris is admitted as a lawyer by the Supreme Court of the Philippines and has been practicing law for more than 18 years with over 13 years’ experience in Lao PDR. He has extensive international and regional experience. He holds a Master of Laws from the Universitiet van Amsterdam and post graduate diploma from the Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University.

Before joining ZICO Law, he has worked on several major investments in Lao PDR and combines his local knowledge and experience with international expertise. He has professional experience in the following practice areas: corporate and commercial, investment structuring, investment regulatory compliance, investment and project coordination, due diligence, company establishment, contracts, real estate, labor, intellectual property registration, international non-governmental organizations, administrative and other government proceedings in the Lao PDR and Philippines.


– English
– Filipino

About Our Network:

ZICO Law is the first network of leading independent local law firms with a full presence in all 10 ASEAN countries.

With a presence in 17 cities in 10 out of 10 ASEAN countries, our 300 lawyers enable our clients to enjoy value-added legal services by leveraging on a combination of local expertise and regional insights.

We are present in Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

ZICO Law is associated with innovative, high quality and efficient services, as evidenced by numerous awards and top-tier rankings in the legal publications, regionally and internationally for our member firms and lawyers individually.

ZICO Law is part of ZICO, an integrated network of multidisciplinary firms helping organizations and individuals succeed in ASEAN.

Johann Spies

To complement his experience as a practicing attorney, Johann Spies has experience as an in-house legal counsel for a company in the credit provision and insurance markets which operates in a number of jurisdictions.

Johann began his career at Webber Wentzel (the South African Linklaters associate and one of the largest firms in Africa) and has practiced in Yangon, Myanmar, where he specialised in cross-border transactions, commercial arrangements and the regulatory framework in the South East Asian markets. Prior to joining Arion Legal, Johann practiced as a partner at Clyde & Co, Johannesburg, in the corporate and commercial department. Johann prides himself on delivering legally sound advice which is commercially minded and reflects an understanding of clients’ businesses.

Firm Overview:

Arion Legal (formerly McDonald Steed McGrath Lawyers) has been operating in Lao PDR since 2008 and is the only Australian law firm registered in Lao PDR.

Our Vientiane office provides international standard Lao legal and tax advice and documentation for foreign investors operating in, or looking to invest in, Lao PDR. Our approach is commercially focused and adapted to suit changing economic and regulatory conditions.

We have represented foreign and local clients across a broad range of commercial issues concerning foreign investment into Lao PDR. We have participated in several mining projects and acted as Lao Counsel to the Government of Lao PDR and lenders on numerous large-scale hydropower projects including:

– Nam Sim Hydropower Project (USD17.6M investment)
– Nam Lik 1 and 2 Hydropower Project (USD 150M investment)
– Nam Ou (USD 700M investment)

Arion Legal has been appointed as Honorary Counsel to the British Embassy and has also acted as Lao Counsel to the Singapore and Australian Embassies.

Our firm has strong links to the local and international business community and actively participates in community events. Arion Legal holds membership with numerous organisations including Australian Chamber of Commerce (AUSTCHAM) and the British Business Group.

Our Lawyers In Lao PDR:

Johann Spies, our Country Manager, is based in Vientiane and is supported by a talented team of foreign and Lao lawyers and tax advisors. The firm’s directors, as well as a team of specialist lawyers and consultants, provide additional expertise and support to the Vientiane office. Our team also travels within Lao PDR and internationally in response to client and project demands.