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South Korea

International arbitration
International arbitration - ranked: tier 2

KL Partners

KL Partners has expertise in M&A-related disputes and investor-state arbitration. Practice co-heads John M. Kim and Eun Nyung (Ian) Lee frequently acts alongside Beomsu Kim, who is particularly noted for his ‘efforts to champion the client’s cause’ and is ‘very apt in understanding complicated issues’, as counsel in leading high-stake disputes. Recent highlights for the team include acting as lead counsel for Lone Star Funds in the highly publicised post-M&A dispute against Hana Financial Group. The group is representing the same client in the first treaty-based ICSID investor-state dispute brought against the Republic of Korea claiming damages worth $4.7bn.

Leading individuals

Eun Nyung (Ian) Lee - KL Partners

John M. Kim - KL Partners

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South Korea: Corporate and M&A

Corporate and M&A – Local firms
Corporate and M&A – Local firms - ranked: tier 2

KL Partners

KL Partners is quickly developing a reputation as an ‘outstanding practice’ in the corporate and M&A space. Group head Seong Hoon (Sean) Yi is an all-round expert in M&A and private equity transactions; he advised KTB Private Equity in its sale of shares in Dongbu Express to Dongwon Group for $380m and assisted Kumho Holdings in the re-acquisition of Kumho Buslines for $400m. John M. Kim regularly advises foreign corporations on M&A, joint ventures and corporate transactions; he recently acted for NBC Sports in its broadcast of the Pyeongchang 2018 Olympic Winter Games.

Leading individuals

Seong Hoon (Sean) Yi - KL Partners

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South Korea: Dispute resolution

Dispute resolution – Local firms
Dispute resolution – Local firms - ranked: tier 3

KL Partners

Boutique practice KL Partners is an ‘excellent choice’ for ‘experienced local and foreign-educated lawyers’ who are ‘engaged, reactive and very much understanding of the client’s needs' and ‘offers much better service compared to large firms and more value for money’, according to clients. Beomsu Kim and Ki Seong Park are the ‘go-to figures’ for politically sensitive criminal investigations; they secured a reduced sentence for Chae-Yoon Park (representative director of Y. Jacobs Medical) and her husband, Young Jae Kim, as part of an investigation into the corruption scandal of impeached former President Park Geun-Hye. In the Supreme Court, ‘extremely professional’ international arbitration partner John M. Kim and Park, aided by a cross-border team, are representing GEA Farm Technologies in a dispute over the wrongful termination of exclusive distribution rights granted to a Korean local distributor. Senior associate Heedong Hwang joined from Jipyong and ‘is very professional, knowledgeable and always available for clients’; he acted for Posco Daewoo in a claim for damages relating to a commodity transaction.

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Further information on KL Partners

Please choose from this list to view details of what we say about KL Partners in other jurisdictions.

South Korea

Offices in Seoul

Legal Developments in South Korea

Legal Developments and updates from the leading lawyers in each jurisdiction. To contribute, send an email request to
  • 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.