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  1. Regulatory: compliance and investigations – Local firms
  2. Leading individuals

Bae, Kim & Lee LLC’s full-service compliance and white-collar crime practice is comprised of highly skilled former prosecutors and government officials able to utilise their expertise and judicial experience to advise individuals and corporate clients on internal investigations and criminal trials. The team has strong digital forensic capabilities, used to find critical evidence of corruption and infringement of clients’ assets, and is regularly instructed by high-ranking corporate executives and organisations to defend against allegations of bribery and money laundering. Key highlights include Injae Lee and Soon Ik Kwon defending the vice-chairman and other senior officials of Samsung Electronics against charges of offering bribes to former president Geun-hye Park. Other figures in the sizeable team include Sangchul Lee as head of criminal litigation, Yong Rak Sung, Kwang Jun Kim and Hwan Gyun Roh.

With its strong forensic capabilities, Kim & Chang’s multi-disciplinary practice is a favourite with international businesses seeking assistance with compliance issues. Head of the corporate investigations and white-collar defence Kook Hyun Yoo is working alongside Seung Ho Lee, Ho-Keun Ryu, and Michael Yu in defending Audi Volkswagen Korea against investigations by multiple Korean agencies in connection with the "Diesel Gate" scandal for vehicles imported into the Korean market. Other key contacts are Myungsuk Sean Choi for white-collar criminal defence, anti-corruption and regulatory compliance; Dong Min Cha leads in corporate crime and insider trading; Hankyu Kim is highly experienced in internal investigations and leading criminal cases. Sung Gwan Chun acts in cases involving Korean conglomerates, while Byung Suk Lee’s expertise lies in securities fraud and insider trading. In non-contentious matters, Yu advised Lotte Chilsung Beverage in negotiating compliance provisions in a distribution and joint venture agreement with a multinational beverage corporation.

As ‘one of the top law firms’, Lee & Ko attracts praise for its wide-ranging expertise in compliance and white-collar criminal investigations, as well as for its ‘immediate and value-added advice’. The practice also maintains a digital forensic team, ensuring client confidentiality and a quick turnaround of results – an aspect very much valued by its clients. Taek Rim Oh is ‘one of the best cross-border attorneys in Korea’, according to one client. Tae-Ki Ghil, Chan-Youp Song, Jae-Deog Bae and Joon Kim advised McDonald's in relation to criminal complaints filed by consumers claiming to have contracted hemolytic-uremic syndrome from hamburgers. Yong-Seok Park, Song and Tae Yop Lee are defending Samsung Display against a criminal complaint brought by LG Display over alleged trade secret misappropriation. Other names to note are Jin So, Sedong Min, Yeonsoo Yun and Yuseok Kim.

The 'outstanding’ white-collar crime practice at Shin & Kim is comprised of highly skilled former prosecutors and judicial officials, and is regularly instructed to advise and represent executives and corporations in criminal proceedings. The firm's recently established digital forensic centre is utilised for internal investigations, corruption prevention, and compliance. Dong-Seong Myung heads the sizeable team, which includes Dong-Shin Yeom and Tak-Kyun Hong, and focuses on criminal investigations and trials. Keonjoo Lee and Doosik Lee successfully defended a key client against bribery, while Seong-Jin Choi, a specialist in financial crimes, money laundering and digital forensics, has been counsel on several high-profile criminal trials.Ok-Sook Byun and Hong-Il Kim are also names to note.

The white-collar crime practice at Yoon & Yang LLC consists of experienced former government officials and expert criminal attorneys who represent high-ranking executives and well-known corporations against allegations of misconduct and criminal charges. Former chief judge Seung Ryong Yoo leads the team; he recently represented Bong Rae Cho, former president of POSCO ChemTech, and obtained an acquittal on bribery charges. In other highlights, Young Kon Cho and Seung Nam Yoo successfully defended Andong City mayor Young Seh Kwon against bribery charges, while Byeong Cheol Yun and Jeok Hwa Hwang likewise defended Hee Yong Roh, the director of Southeastern District of Gwangju Province, on appeal against similar charges. Other names to note are Youbum Kim, Dong Gyu Lee and Heesung Lim.

Yulchon’s multi-disciplinary practice, led by Sai Ree Yun takes an active approach regarding compliance and internal investigations by responding to new issues, such as the #MeToo movement and workplace harassment, by assisting a well-known retailer to comply with regulations and set up anonymous reporting mechanisms. The practice also utilises the latest technology, including smartphone apps and digital forensic tools, to assist clients. Yoon Soo Lim and Eun-Jae Park are highly recommended.

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    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.

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