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  1. Banking and finance – Local firms
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next Generation Partners

Next Generation Partners

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Kim & Chang's ‘always responsive, constructive and client-friendly’ team is highly sought after by leading Korean and foreign commercial banks, private equity funds and asset management companies owing to its expertise in transactions, fund formations, restructuring and compliance in addition to contentious matters. Prominent figures in the sizeable team are Geon Ho Kim and Hi Sun Yoon who are experienced in project finance and have recently acted for Kookmin Bank and Bank of Communications on significant transactions. Sang Hwan Lee is a name to note for financial regulation matters, restructuring and M&A and Young Kyun Cho and Ick Ryol Huh are recommended for aircraft finance. Young Min Kim and foreign attorney Robert Gilbert represented Export Development Canada as senior lenders in all aspects of the transaction for the delivery of a Bombardier jet to Korean Air. Ie Hwan Yoo is also recommended securities-related transactions.

Lee & Ko’s ‘vast pool of experienced professionals’ continue to dominate the banking and finance sector space and is praised for ‘its dedication to maintaining long-standing relationships and delivering the full range of its capabilities, knowledge and resources in a timely manner’. This substantial team has strong capabilities across all banking and finance-related matters, particularly within project finance and acquisitions. Dong Eun Kim and Hun Ko advised both the borrower, Second Beltway, and several banks such as Kookmin Bank as lenders on the $616m financing structuring arrangement for the Icheon-Osan Express Way Private Participation Project. Yun Jeong Seo leads on several ship finance transactions. Other noted figures include Yeo Kyoon Yoon, Helen Sohn and Tom Shin.

Shin & Kim continues to have a strong reputation in acquisition and project finance. The team has been active on several significant transactions, in one notable example Yun Seok Jang and Yong Hee Kim advised a syndicate of financial institutions led by long-standing client Woori Bank as lenders on the refinancing of acquisition financing for Doosan Machine Tools valued at over $900m. Senior foreign attorney Hyun Ju Helen Pak frequently advises private equity and asset management firms and sponsors on acquisition finance with a cross-border element. She and Jang advised Korea Trade Insurance on a loan facility extension to Korea Shipping and Maritime Transportation. For project finance transactions, Sang-Hyun Lee is well regarded and has been active on the practices’ largest transactions.

Bae, Kim & Lee LLC has a strong track record advising well-known Korean and foreign financial institutions, private equity and asset management companies. The practice stands out among its competitors with its expertise in advising Korean lenders on the financing of nuclear and hydro power projects. The ‘responsive and quality team’ has been active in a number of significant transactions; Eui Jong Chung, Ho Jin Kim, Dongwook Kang and Seung Il Hong collectively advised Shinhan Alternative Investment Management in relation to a  mezzanine loan of $190m to finance the operations of One Worldwide Plaza in New York City. Annie Eunah Lee and Chung acted as Korean counsel for Deutsche Bank in drafting a security package for a term loan facility to be used in the acquisition of an 80% interest in Lumileds, a leading supplier of LED components.

Clients are continually attracted to Yulchon not least for its ‘sound legal advice’ but also in offering a ‘strategic business perspective’. The cross-disciplinary practice’s strong capabilities in acting on high-value project finance transactions are demonstrated with Kyu Sik Kim continuing to assist CGN Daesan Power in connection with the financing of a biomass power plant project. Foreign attorney Seung Jae Chang advised Woori Bank and other senior and junior lenders in the acquisition financing of Baring Private Equity’s acquisition of Halla Cement. Foreign attorney Christopher Joon Tae Cho is ‘very organised and attentive to details’; he represented K-Sure in its ECA covered loans provided to Seadrill and its affiliates, and also acted for KTB Investment & Securities regarding the sale and leaseback of a Boeing 787-9 aircraft on lease to Etihad to the value of $60.7m. Sung Keun Park is ‘highly responsive, diligent and a great communicator’.

Structured and project finance specialist Yully Kang at Jipyong has been active on a number of high-value transactions; in recent examples, she acted as counsel to Pinestreet Asset Management in relation to acquisition and related financing of 49 LPG stations across Korea from SK Networks, and also acted for Korea Development Bank in its refinancing of the Daegu and Busan Sinho solar power projects. Other key contacts are Seong-Jin Bae, Hee-Jung Shim, who is experienced in the establishment and merger of financial holding companies, and Hee-Suk Chai who focuses on private equity funds.

Yoon & Yang LLC’s team has extensive expertise across financial transactions, particularly within the real estate and project development space. Young Woo Park assisted KB Securities in a project finance loan for the development and construction of multiple commercial outlets in Sungdong-Gu, Seoul and has also been active on several real estate transactions. Soonghee Lee has a strong reputation in advising domestic banks in relation to financial disputes, while Young Ho Kang specialises in financial regulations.

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Dinner with GC -
Korea 2018

  • China and Hong Kong GC Powerlist

    In May, The Legal 500 and GC Magazine added another country to the list of destinations for their exclusive Dinner with GC series, as South Korea’s elite in-house counsel came together at Mugunghwa in Seoul, for a closed-door discussion on the realities of the role.

    Dinner with GC - Korea 2018

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Legal Developments in South Korea

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  • Greater Reforms for Promoting Work-Life Balance – Changes to the Gender Equal Employment....

    Greater Reforms for Promoting Work-Life Balance – Changes to the Gender Equal Employment and Work-Life Balance Support Act
  • Lee & Ko successfully represents Big Hit Entertainment against unauthorized use of BTS’ photos

    Lee & Ko, on behalf of Big Hit Entertainment (“Big Hit”), obtained the first-ever decision in Korea to recognize the entertainment companies’ right to independently request for injunction against those who free-ride on the customer attractiveness that is based off of popularity and fame of the artists managed by the companies. This landmark decision is expected to serve as an important pedestal in protecting the legitimate interest of entertainment companies (domestic as well as international) that manage famous artists and entertainers and remain vulnerable to unfair competition of free-riders.
  • First- Ever Decision by the Supreme Court of Korea ...

    First- Ever Decision by the Supreme Court of Korea to Find Copyright Infringement in the Selection, Arrangement or Combination of Game Elements
  • Key International Tax Law Amendments in the Draft 2019 Tax Revision Bill

    On July 25, 2019, the Ministry of Economy and Finance publicly released the 2019 draft Tax Revision Bill (the “Draft Bill”). The Draft Bill is expected to be sent to the National Assembly on September 3, 2019 for deliberation and adoption.
  • Russian Court’s Judgment Recognized for Enforcement in Korea

    Recently, based on the premise that requirements for “mutual guarantee” or “reciprocity” in relation to the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments can be allowed between Russia and Korea, a District Court of Korea rendered its decision which allowed a judgment concluded by a Russian court to be enforceable in Korea (see Changwon District Court, Decision 2018Gahap51099 held on January 17, 2019).
  • Korean National Assembly Passes “Blind Hiring” Bill to Reform Hiring Culture

    Recently, the National Assembly of Korea passed legislative amendments to the Fair Recruitment Procedure Act (“FRPA ”) as part of the reform efforts to address the country’s recruitment culture. The latest amendment – dubbed the “blind hiring” bill – expands the FRPA to prohibit any type of recruitment irregularities (e.g., improper solicitation, coercion, pressure) and, more importantly, bars employers from asking jobseekers to provide any information unrelated to the position and the applicant’s merit. The amended FRPA will go into effect starting July 17, 2019.
  • Korean Financial Supervisory Service Mandating Disclosure of Transaction Documents When Filing Repor

    Korean Financial Supervisory Service Mandating Disclosure of Transaction Documents When Filing Report on Material Facts
  • Successful Challenges to Korean Health Insurance Regulator’s 13-Year Old System...

    Successful Challenges to Korean Health Insurance Regulator’s 13-Year Old System of Automatic Reduction of Original Drug Price
  • Korean Supreme Court Confirms Licensee’s Standing to Challenge Patent Validity

    On February 21, 2019, the Supreme Court of Korea issued an en banc decision overruling its prior precedents on the issue of whether a licensee who is continuing to make royalty payments under an existing license agreement nevertheless has standing to challenge the validity of the licensed patent. In short, the Korean Supreme Court held that absent special circumstance, a patent licensee is an “interested party” eligible for challenging the validity of a licensed patent, despite the lack of any threat or potential threat posed by the patent holder against the licensee’s right to use the patented invention. (Supreme Court En Banc Decision No. 2017Hu2819).
  • Amendments to the KFTC Merger Review Guidelines

    The Korea Fair Trade Commission (the “KFTC ”) recently amended its Guidelines for Merger Review (the ”Guidelines ”), which took effect from February 27, 2019. The Guidelines now provide for particular issues relating to “innovation markets” and “big data” that will be considered during the KFTC’s review of mergers within R&D-intensive (i.e. innovative) industries.

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