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Bae, Kim & Lee LLC has particular strength in defending Korean conglomerates in major labour disputes with employees and has recently handled a number of major sub-contractor/dispatch worker cases. In one example Hyungsuk Lee and Jeong Han Lee successfully defended Samsung Electronics Service in the Seoul Central District Court in a case that determined that outsourced service technicians should not be regarded as regular employees of the company. Other work included practice head Wook Rae Lee obtaining a favourable result for Kia Motors in the Seoul High Court, in a claim where the claimant sought to enforce a collective bargaining agreement which granted a right to succession of employment to the family of a worker who died due to an accident on duty. The team is also proficient in handling severe industrial and safety accidents that have resulted in casualties. Anthony Chang and Sangkyun Jang are additional contacts.

Kim & Chang is ‘able to find creative solutions to overcome difficult labour problems’ and the practice’s offering takes in rightsizing, company turn-around, compensation and benefits design, and post-merger integration. Besides advising on a number of M&A-related restructurings, the team was also busy in the litigation space where it represented employers on a sub-contractor/dispatch worker dispute, and also handled a significant claim relating to the nullification of a salary peak system. In an example of the practice’s strength in the automobile sector, Jin Hwan Kim advised Mercedes-Benz Korea on the implementation of various privacy protective measures for customer’s personal information. Other noteworthy names include Chun Wook Hyun and Weon Jung Kim, who head the department, and senior foreign attorney Hoin Lee, who has ‘good communication skills’. Hyun Jae Park is ‘precise and hands-on’ and Ki Young Kim is ‘good on Korean labour law and corporate law’.

Lee & Ko’s ‘very knowledgeable’ team ‘always provides very clear and to-the-point advice’ and advises on a full range of individual employment relationships, collective labour relationships and corporate restructuring efforts. On the contentious side, the team represented employers in a number of disputes with senior executives, including practice co-head Sang Hoon Lee, Seungwan Hahm, and foreign attorney William Woojong Kim representing Christie Digital Systems in the termination of an employee’s employment for inadequate performance. In another contentious highlight practice co-head Chang Soo Jin led a team that successfully acted for the Korea National Oil Corporation (KNOC) in blocking an injunction designed to stop the rolling out of a performance-based annual salary system. In Hyung Lee and Hyun Seok Songprovide insightful and constructive legal assessment and arguments’, and associates So Young Kim and Junghae Kang are ‘very proactive and responsive’.

Yulchon’s fast-developing practice attracted new domestic and international clients, with Johnson Electric, Masimo, and Hyundai Steel all new client wins. The team is led by Hee-Chul Kang, who focuses on the employment aspects of M&A transactions, and includes Sang Wook Cho, who handled a large number of contentious and non-contentious mandates; as well as assisting Hanwha Investment & Securities with a reorganisation and workforce-reduction project, Cho also successfully defended Hyosung against ordinary-wage claims brought by about 800 employees, both in the first-instance trial and subsequent appellate proceedings. In another important mandate for the team, Sang Wook Cho, Kyu Sok Cho, Jae Woo Park, and Jin Su Choi are defending Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power against claims brought by its labour union challenging the recent shift to a more performance-based pay system.

In 2016 Shin & Kim’s team was particularly busy in the public sector space, with Dong-Wook Kim successfully defending the Korean government in a discrimination claim brought by civil servants relating to working conditions, and Yong Joon Cho and Seong Ki Park securing a favourable result for Korea Railroad in the appellate court in a claim relating to severance payment. Other work includes practice head Young-Seok Ki advising on workforce reduction and restructuring issues and Se Ryul Hong being part of a team that advised on the illegal dispatch of temporary workers. The practice also acts for a range of domestic and international private companies including Korea Yakult, SK Hynix and Seagate Technology.

Yoon & Yang LLC handles a good balance of contentious and non-contentious work and has a particularly strong reputation for defending employers in large-scale ordinary wage disputes. Tae-Hwan Oh and Chan-Keun Park successfully defended Hyundai Motor Company in an ordinary wage claim relating to overtime and holiday pay. The practice is led by Sang Hoon Park, who alongside Seong Hong, secured a good result for Korea Asset Management in the Supreme Court in a case arising from the company’s refusal to renew the employment agreement with its fixed-term workers. Another name to note is Seog-Jong Han, who specialises in labour issues arising in the education sector. On the non-contentious side the practice advised on a major mandate for the transition of non-regular workers to regular workers.

Jipyong’s practice can draw on the expertise of managing partner Ji-Hyung Kim, who is a former Supreme Court justice specialising in labour law. Practice head Kwang-Sun Lee handled a major confirmation of worker status case for Samsung Electronics Service and also successfully defended Seah Besteel in a case that decided that the regular bonus paid to workers did not constitute ordinary wage. Other clients include Korea Securities Depository and Kia Motors.

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