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  1. Dispute resolution – Local firms
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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 Yeong 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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Legal Developments in South Korea

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