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South Korea > Dispute resolution > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

Index of tables

  1. Dispute resolution – Local firms
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Bae, Kim & Lee LLC’s strength in handling complex litigation is demonstrated through successful wins for Korail in a dispute on private investor liability in the suspension of a PPP development project. In cross-border disputes, Dong-Su Lee and Gun Chul Do are advising Malaysian company Berjaya, on a $350m damages claim filed against Jeju Free International Development for breach of a land sale and purchase agreement in connection to the failed joint venture to develop a tourist resort on Jeju Island. Elsewhere, Wu Cheol Song and Tae Joon Park are representing Samsung Medical Center against patients seeking damages for being infected by Middle East respiratory syndrome. Also of note, Byoung Ha Jeon focuses on real estate, construction and financial litigation, while cross-border expert Tony Dongwook Kang is active in corporate governance.

When it comes to disputes, Kim & Chang is ‘best in class in terms of industry knowledge, appropriateness of advice, and strength of team’. The team has expertise in a diverse range of areas, including corporate and M&A litigation, professional liability, family and estates, media and health, among others.  Cross-border expert Jin Yeoung Chung is able to ‘cut through the complicated facts and legal analysis to provide practical guidance throughout the litigation process’; he is advising a conglomerate in a complex class action suit, and a foreign financial institution in a high-value criminal investigation and civil action suit. Accomplished litigator Sang Ho Han is representing Philip Morris Korea, alongside Hye Kwang Lee, Sungwook Kim and Chul-Won Lee, in an on-going suit brought by the National Health Insurance Service claiming damages equivalent to insurance paid out to policyholders diagnosed with cancer as a result of tobacco defects and company misconduct. Other key figures include Sun Seong Park, Jung Keol Suh and Chang Beom Ryu who have a niche focus on securities and derivatives litigation.

As one of the largest dispute practices in Korea, Lee & Ko regularly leads counsel in employment, media, tax, competition and intellectual property litigation. In significant recent case, Won Seok Ko, Yong Sup Kim and Heon Myung Jeong obtained a positive outcome for LG Hausys in a patent dispute relating to optically clear adhesives. In relation to noteworthy labour disputes, Seong Won Chang, Hyun Soo Park and Won Jin Jung successfully represented Lotte Shopping in a decision which is expected to remain as a precedent for employers concerning the reinstatement of employees following childcare leave. Seon Tae Kim is active in disputes concerning administrative, false advertising, and construction issues. The practice also includes a number of partners with sector-specific litigation experience, namely, Chan Ik Jang in construction, Wan Shik Lee in insolvency, Young Cheol Chi for constitutional matters and Jeong Kyoo Han for banking-related disputes. Jung Hyun Lee and Jae Heon Park are also recommended for insolvency and commercial disputes.

Shin & Kim has notable expertise across a range of disputes including administrative and fair trade, construction, capital markets and crime, to name but a few. Standout wins for the team include representing Incheon Metropolitan City and Lotte Group in a long-running dispute against Shinsegae Department Store concerning the sale and transfer of a terminal site. Elsewhere, Jong-Han Oh, Hyun-Jeong Kang and Jin-Ho Jeong are active in key financial disputes. Jae-Yun Yun is a well-regarded construction and real estate litigator. Seung Soo Lee is also a name to note.

Yoon & Yang LLC's disputes practice handles corporate governance, damages and white-collar crime. The team has been joined by a number of former judges and prosecutors experienced in a broad range of sectors. Byeong Cheol Yun focuses on civil and corporate affairs; he recently obtained a successful outcome for Hanhwa Chemical in a dispute over the cancellation of a memorandum of understanding and confiscation of a performance bond. Seung Nam Yoo's broad practice area covers commercial, tax, crime and injections. Yoo and Sang-Pil Lee are representing the CEO and directors of an insurance company in a complex corporate governance dispute against the company's shareholders. Seung Ryong Yoo is involved in white-collar investigations and is counselling NH NongHyup Bank in a dispute arising out of a decision by SK planet, the affiliated services provider for the “Syrup card”, to terminate its affiliate agreement. Tae-Gu Zeon is a name to note for civil, financial and corporate litigation.

Yulchon's practice head Yong Sup Yoon, alongside Nung Hwan Kim, Hai Sung Park and Dong Ryul Choi, is representing Hanwha Chemical in a complex dispute concerning performance bonds. Finance and M&A specialist Il Bong Moon recently obtained a favorable decision for Hana Bank in a lawsuit filed by Emirates requiring the return of deposits. Moon and Yoon also successfully represented Ho Jin Lee, chairman of the Tae Kwang Group, in a dispute concerning the transfer of shares. Other key contacts include Hai Sung Park, Yong Pyo Yeom and Jubong Park for real estate litigation, and Hak Seok Kim for corporate crime matters. International disputes partner Young Seok Lee left for boutique litigation practice Rosetta Legal.

Jipyong has recently bolstered its capabilities with the recruitment of five experienced dispute resolution practitioners. The practice has a particularly strong focus on real estate developments disputes, with successful outcomes obtained for the Urban Development Project Association for Singok District 6 in Gimpo, Farms Industrial and Seoul Metropolitan City. In white-collar crime, Hong-Jae Lee and Sehoon Choi have been defending the vice president of Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering over allegations of collusion and fraudulent accounting, and representing an executive officer in the Ministry of National Defense on charges of corruption involving allegations of bribery.

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.

Comprised of attorneys experienced in disputes in Korea and the US, Lee International IP & Law Group handles civil and criminal litigation and intellectual property disputes. Senior foreign attorney Kurt B Gerstner is representing  Foresco, the plaintiff, in US litigation over a business debt of $1.3m. Lance B Lee is a key contact in cross-border litigation and government investigations. Elsewhere, Myung-Ho Song is advising Pyeongtaek Youngsin District Urban Development on real estate-related disputes.

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Dinner with GC -
Korea 2018

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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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Legal Developments in South Korea

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  • Korean Financial Regulators Advance Legislation to Introduce Regulatory Sandbox to Spark FinTech

    The 2018 year in review in Korea was notable for the sluggish overall economy, uncertainty surrounding the geo-politics and impact on Korea due to the global trade wars, on-going concerns related to the lack of jobs and unemployment, increased taxes and burdens for businesses and families, and no meaningful improvement or clarity in the current situation for 2019. In response, the Korean National Assembly passed a legislation called the Financial Innovation Support Act (the “FinISA”) on December 7, 2018 to spark the financial services industry in conjunction with FinTech products and services. The FinISA, which will soon take effect in March 2019, is intended to lay the legal foundation to introduce a regulatory sandbox for innovative financial services, where FinTech firms test their new products and services without certain regulatory oversight pursuant to exemptions for a limited period of time (“Sandbox”). As the FinISA exempts or defers application of existing finance-related regulations for new financial technology, products or services with the purpose of fostering the creation of innovative and new financial products and services, it will also support the stabilization of such services in the financial services market at the end of the testing period and is expected that the FinISA will support a revitalization of the FinTech industry which experienced sluggish growth in recent times. In particular, as companies and investors become more interested in security tokens and Security Token Offerings (“STO”) which are regulated by the Financial Investment Services and Capital Markets Act (the “FSCMA”), there have been on-going discussions and debates as to whether the FinISA could lead to a breakthrough in the crypto-asset industry based on blockchain technology. Crypto assets encompasses those assets which utilize blockchain technology where the asset is digitalized by utilization of cryptography, peer-to-peer networks and a public ledger of verified transactions resulting in a ‘units’ of such a crypto asset without any involvement by middle-persons or brokers (e.g., cryptocurrency.
  • Flying Under the Radar

    Flying Under the Radar: Companies Must Increase Awareness of the Potentially Dormant and Disruptive Changes to the Minimum Wage in Korea
  • New Legislation: Amendment to the Enforcement Decree of the Act on External Audit of Stock Companies

    The amendment to the Act on External Audit of Stock Companies (the “Act ”) and the enforcement decree thereof (the “Enforcement Decree ”), whose key feature pertains to the external audit and disclosure requirements for limited liability companies, became effective as of November 1, 2018. Certain provisions relating to the category of targets of external audits will become effective with respect to the fiscal years that commence on or after November 1, 2019. Therefore, for the majority of companies whose fiscal years begin on January 1 and ends on December 31 of each year, the revised category will become effective with respect to the fiscal year that begins on January 1, 2020.
  • New Proposed Tax Law Amendments Provide Clarification on the Taxation of Foreign Funds

    On July 30, 2018, the Korean Ministry of Economy and Finance (“MOEF ”) announced the proposed tax law changes/amendments for 2019 and beyond (“Proposals ”). The Proposals are expected to be reviewed and finalized by the Korean National Assembly in December 2018.
  • KFTC to Expand Scope and Penalties of Korea’s Antitrust Enforcement Regime

    Korea’s competition authority, the Korea Fair Trade Commission (the “KFTC , has announced a proposal to expand its existing enforcement authority to the courts and prosecutors through a full-scale reform of the Monopoly Regulation and Fair Trade  Act, Korea’s primary competition statute. If all proposed reforms are passed by the National Assembly as currently drafted, the impact on the Korean economy and antitrust enforcement will require companies doing business in Korea to tighten their risk management and compliance measures, as the scope and penalties of Korean antitrust enforcement would be broadened.
  • Korean data law amendments pose new constraints for cross-border online services and data flows

    Under amendments to IT Networks Act, set to take effect in March 2019 , offshore online businesses, meeting thresholds of nexus to Korea, will be required to designate local agent for regulatory oversight purposes.
  • New Legislation Reduces Maximum Weekly Working Hours in Korea

    *For better understanding of this article with other graphics , we highly recommend you to visit our firm's website as below. http://www.bkl.co.kr/upload/data/20180410/bkl-legalupdate-2018000410.html#.WsxBYIhuaHs
  • Supreme Court Renders Decision Calling for “Gender Sensitivity” in Sexual Harassment Cases

    Amid the widespread attention that sexual harassment/violence in the workplace has received due to international movements such as the “Me Too” movement, the Supreme Court of Korea has recently rendered a significant decision on the need to reform the judicial system’s approach to sexual harassment cases.
  • [South Korea] Amendment to Unfair Competition Law

    A bill to amend the Unfair Competition Prevention and Trade Secret Protection Act (the “UCPA”) was promulgated on April 17, 2018, and is scheduled to take effect on July 18, 2018.   The bill introduces significant amendments to the UCPA, namely stipulating store interior designs as business marks and making the unauthorized use of “ideas” an act of unfair competition, thereby substantially expanding the applicability of Subparagraph 1 (j) of Article 2 (“fraudulent use of another person’s product”) of the current (or pre-amendment) UCPA.
  • [South Korea] Location information law amended to ease requirement for tracking of objects

    Under changes to Location Information Act, to take effect in October 2018, businesses will be allowed to track goods after obtaining registration instead of license.

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