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South Korea > Capital markets > Capital markets – Foreign firms > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings


Index of tables

  1. Capital markets – Foreign firms
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next Generation Partners

Leading individuals

  1. 1
    • Jinduk Han - Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton
    • Hyun Kim - Clifford Chance
    • Yong Guk Lee - Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton

Next Generation Partners

  1. 1
    • Jay Hoon Choi - Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton
    • Daniel Kwon - Linklaters
    • Hongki Moon - Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton leads in capital markets transactions and IPOs as ‘the top international counsel for Korean clients’. The ‘top-notch’ Seoul-based team includes Jinduk Han, who advises on debt and private equity placements and IPOs, and Yong Guk Lee whose experience covers debt and equity capital markets transactions and M&A for Korean clients. Senior attorney Hongki Moon, according to one client ‘is number one for US SEC documentation and relevant regulations’. Counsel Jay Hoon Choi is experienced in representing issuers and underwriters in IPOs, Korean capital market transactions, private and public offerings of debt and equity securities and also advises domestic clients on compliance with US securities law. Standout work highlights include assisting Kakao in a Regulation S/Rule 144A offering of global depository shares and it is also representing Korea Development Bank in its SEC-registered offering of $500m floating rate notes due 2020, $150m due in 2022 and $350m 2.75% notes due 2023.

Hyun Kim at Clifford Chance is a key figure in capital markets and is experienced in advising Korean and international issuers on a wide range of securities offerings. Richard Lee is likewise a well-respected practitioner in this sector, his expertise spans high-yield debt offerings, medium-term note programs, takedowns, IPOs and M&A. Recent standout work includes advising JP Morgan Securities (Asia Pacific) on a 144A/Reg S hybrid security offering by Kyobo Life Insurance in Korea and Singapore. In other matters, the practice acted as international counsel for HSBC and others in connection with KEB Hana Bank’s global Medium Term Note update and drawdown in Korea and Singapore. Angela Ryu in Hong-Kong is also a prominent figure and is consistently involved in the most significant transactions.

Linklaters’ multi-jurisdictional capital markets team is actively involved across the whole practice area, with a strong offering in high-value deals involving global depository receipts and convertible and exchangeable bonds. Singapore-based Hyung Ahn has been involved in a number of standout deals, including working with Tokyo-based Peter Frost in advising Crédit Agricole as the arranger on the $130m Floating Rate Notes due 2019 issued by POSCO Daewoo. Daniel Kwon, based in the Seoul office, and Shawn Yoon advised Bank of China on the $300m senior capital securities issued by Korean Air Lines; the first deal in Korea solely arranged by a Chinese Bank. The practice counts Lotte Shopping Business Management, DBS Bank and Merrill Lynch International as clients.

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP has an impressive track record advising Korean corporations, financial institutions and other clients in the most significant transactions in capital markets, M&A and private equity investments. The firm has announced the closure of its Seoul office by the end of 2018 but will continue to advise Korean clients from its Hong Kong outpost. Hong Kong-based partner Jin Hyuk Park represented the initial purchasers in connection with the offering of $600m 3% notes due 2023 and $300m 3.5% notes due 2027 by Kia Motors Corporation. The group advised Celltrion Healthcare in its IPO of 24,604,000 shares of its common stock, which raised $900m; he also acted for a number of financial institutions, such as JP Morgan Securities as the initial purchasers in Hanwha Life Insurance’s $1bn subordinated capital securities offering. At the time of publication, Youngjin Sohn is set to leave the firm.

John Lee at Allen & Overy LLP Foreign Legal Consultant Office has substantial experience in advising Korean clients on a diverse range of capital market transactions such as hybrid securities, MTN programmes, bonds, IPO’s and GDRs. His recent standout work includes advising Mitsubishi UFJ Securities as lead arranger on Woori Bank’s $5bn Global Certificate of Deposit Programme. Tokyo-based Matthias Voss is experienced in advising Korean companies on structured finance and project finance matters. Julie Song frequently assists Lee with the practice’s most complex mandates.

Ashurst is particularly strong in the areas of securitisation and derivatives, while also handling debt capital markets and covered bonds transactions. The team enjoys a strong partnership with leading firms in Korea and has recently completed a substantial transaction involving covered bonds. Hong Kong-based corporate partner Peter Kwon has worked on the largest cross-border securitisation transactions in Korea for key client Hana Asset Management, which he advised in relation to the restructuring of the $300m notes issued by E-Shang Redwood. He also advised Hana on an IPO of a Vietnamese joint stock company holding multiple Vietnamese real estate assets.

Paul Hastings LLP is able to leverage expertise from multiple offices to handle complex cross-border capital market transactions; its Asia Pacific deals are often coordinated with the support of colleagues in Hong Kong and Tokyo. The practice has a strong reputation representing underwriters in Korean IPOs; Dong Chul Kim advised underwriters UBS and Mirae Asset Daewoo in the IPO of shares of Celltrion Healthcare. In other matters, Kim represented Citigroup and Goldman Sachs as joint bookrunners in the $1bn global depositary receipts offering by Kakao listed in the Singapore Exchange with the underlying common shares listed on the Korean Exchange. Kim heads the practice and is experienced in debt and equity capital market transactions; Daniel Sae-Chin Kim and associate Albert Nah are names to note in private and public offerings, M&A and private equity.

James Lin at Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP is active in a number of significant transactions in debt capital markets. The practice is knowledgeable in US and English law and has a deep understanding of the Korean regulatory business environment.

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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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