International arbitration in South Korea

Bae, Kim & Lee LLC

Bae, Kim & Lee LLC's heavyweight team has a wealth of experience acting as counsel in arbitrations seated in jurisdictions across Asia, Europe and North America. Investor-state work is an area of growth, with the firm increasingly being sought out to advise Korean investors on disputes with foreign states. Elsewhere, international construction disputes form a large part of the firm's overall caseload, with the firm advising many of the largest and most active Korean construction companies and other key clients on contentious matters. In one highlight, a group led by John Bang and Seung-Hyeon (Alex) Kim is acting as co-counsel to Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) in a high-value LCIA arbitration against a consortium of two Korean conglomerates over the construction of the first nuclear power station in the United Arab Emirates. The firm is also a market-leader in high-stakes international commercial disputes; recent work included Bang, Kim, Junu Kim and others acting as sole counsel to SAP Korea in an ICC arbitration concerning claims of unauthorized use by a government-owned utility company and its subsidiary of high-value proprietary enterprise resource planning software (in breach of a licence). David MacArthur's experience includes IP/IT-related matters and cases connected with the shipbuilding and automotive industries. Seokchun Yun made partner in 2018. Kyongwha Chung has recently also made partner. Matthew Christensen has moved to Kim & Chang and Kap-You Kim has moved to Peter & Kim.

Practice head(s):

John Bang (head of international arbitration and litigation team)

Other key lawyers:

David MacArthur; Hongjoong Kim; Junu Kim; Seokchun Yun; Kyongwha Chung; Woochul Hwang

Testimonials

Bae, Kim & Lee’s excellent arbitration practice derives from a combination of first-class clients and ‘big hitter’ partners/counsel (of whom Kevin Kim and John Bang stand out)’.

Bae, Kim & Lee has one of the top international arbitration practices in Korea. It also has a strong regional and wider international presence’.

Key clients

Hyundai Motors

Lippo Group

Kolon Life Science, Inc

KEPCO

Republic of Korea

KHNP

CVC Asia

Hana Financial

Work highlights

  • The firm is acting as lead counsel to the claimant Hyundai Engineering & Construction (HDEC) in a high-value, Seoul-seated ICC construction arbitration arising from a supply contract for the manufacture and supply by respondent Doosan of eight heat recovery steam generator units for the Ras Laffan C Power & Water Project in Ras Laffan, Qatar.
  • The firm is representing the Republic of Korea as the respondent in an investment treaty arbitration commenced under the UNCITRAL Rules in relation to the investment of claimant Schindler Holding AG in Korea.
  • The firm acted for for Keangnam Enterprises Ltd as the respondent in an arbitration under the VIAC rules over a construction contract for a real estate development project.
  • The firm is acting for Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co., Ltd in a Seoul-seated arbitration against RSCC Wire & Cables LLC (a Berkshire Hathaway-owned company), which concerns the controversial expose of unfair practices in the supply of nuclear power plant equipment.
  • The firm acted for POSCO Engineering (Thailand) Co. Ltd as the main contractor in charge of engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning of a major chemical plant. The arbitration was against one of the subcontractors involved in the same project.

Kim & Chang

Kim & Chang's network, broad industry coverage and ability to leverage cross-practice support enable it to assist clients with all complex issues associated with international arbitrations and related civil/criminal proceedings. Byung-Chol Yoon and Eun Young Park jointly lead the widely respected team in Seoul, which is increasingly active in arbitrations in the shipbuilding, offshore and energy spheres. Byung-Woo Im and Kay-Jannes Wegner (who both co-head the specialist construction arbitration practice) advised a Korean engineering and construction company on a Seoul-seated ICC arbitration, which was centred on a dispute with another Korean construction company over a supply contract for major equipment for one of the biggest power and water projects in the Middle East. In another matter, Yoon, Una Cho and others are representing four different financial investors as the claimants in an ICC arbitration against an individual shareholder of a life insurance company; the dispute concerns the individual shareholder’s alleged failure to honour a put option exercised by the financial investors under a shareholders' agreement. Chul-Won Lee's wide-ranging experience includes disputes involving shipbuilding, international trade, insurance and M&A. Other names to note include Joel RichardsonSungjean Seo, and Hye Sung KimDon Jeon is a recent hire from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer. In 2018, Edern Coent and Jae Ha Kwon joined from the ICC International Court of Arbitration and Bae, Kim & Lee LLC respectively. Dong-Seok (Johan) Oh moved to KL Partners. Matthew Christensen and Sae Youn Kim have joined from Bae, Kim & Lee LLC and Yulchon respectively.

Practice head(s):

Byung-Chol Yoon; Eun Young Park

Testimonials

Byung Woo Im and Kay Jannes Wegner are well regarded and respected practitioners

I had a very positive experience working with the Kim & Chang arbitration team. We had the right group size for the case and practitioners made sure all the issues were properly covered. The team managed the case effectively from a logistical standpoint to avoid a big crunch at the end (something that does not always happen in this market, in my experience). It reviewed our draft expert reports thoroughly and provided thoughtful comments in a way that showed it really understood the issues

Kim & Chang has a great team, which combines great industry/regional knowledge with very strong legal and strategic analysis. It is one of the leading forces in the Seoul international arbitration market, fielding a good mix of Korean and internationally qualified lawyers

BC Yoon is highly experienced and a very sophisticated player in the dispute resolution market. Byung-Woo Im is very good at managing client relationships. Kay-Jannes Wegner is exceptionally hard working, highly experienced and a great team player

Kim & Chang has the best international arbitration team in Korea. It is on a par with any UK magic circle firm or large US firm. Excellent advocacy, tremendously deep bench, and many very experienced foreign lawyers on the team

Joel Richardson, Una Cho and Kay-Jannes Wegner stand out as very well-organized and focuses advocates

Key clients

Schindler Holding AG

Affinity Equity Partners

Standard Chartered Private Equity

Lone Star

USG Boral

Hyundai Heavy Industries

Hyundai Motor Company

Hanwha

Samsung Heavy Industries

Hyundai Construction & Engineering

Posco Energy

Wemade Entertainment

Doosan Heavy Industries

Doosan Engineering & Construction

Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering

LG Chemical

Work highlights

  • The firm successfully defended LG Chemical against a Swiss biochemical company in an ICC arbitration governed by English law seated in Singapore. The matter involved a claim for hundreds of millions of US dollars against the client. The dispute arose from a project to co-develop and market a new type of slow release growth hormone product in more than 30 countries in the US and Europe. The Swiss company and its Polish affiliate were provided with the right to commercialize the product in Europe. The product was not commercialized in the EU and the Swiss company sought to recover its entire investment amount alleging the Korean company repudiated the contract.
  • The firm defended a Korean heavy industries company in an ICC arbitration governed by the laws of the State of Qatar against a Qatar gas company. The dispute arose from an EPC Contract for offshore platforms and pipeline facilities located in the State of Qatar.
  • The firm is acting as co-counsel to Schindler Holding AG in an investment treaty arbitration initiated against the Republic of Korea, where the central issue concerns the alleged regulatory failings of a financial supervisory authority of the state. Schindler is claiming that Korea breached its international obligations under the Treaty to provide fair and equitable treatment and full protection and security with respect to Schindler’s substantial equity investment in Hyundai Elevator by, among others, failing to take necessary regulatory measures to prevent Hyundai Elevator from effecting unlawful capital raisings amounting to more than KRW 270 billion based on misleading registration statements, and unlawfully issuing convertible bonds amounting to KRW 205 billion, all of which were allegedly orchestrated to benefit Hyundai Elevator’s controlling shareholder.
  • The firm is assisting a client with LMAA arbitration proceedings governed by English law against a Norwegian-Cypriot offshore drilling contractor. The dispute is connected with shipbuilding contracts for four semi-submersible drilling rigs.
  • The firm advised two major Korean construction companies working in a joint venture on claims against their employer in an LCIA arbitration seated in London, governed by English law. The dispute involved a total of 22 separate claims with a total amount in dispute of circa $500m.

Lee & Ko

Lee & Ko has a growing and varied portfolio of complex arbitration cases, with Sean (Sungwoo) Lim and Robert Wachter jointly leading the team, which acts as the lead counsel in the majority of its matters. David Kim has been instrumental in increasing the volume of construction arbitration work undertaken by the firm, and generates mandates from large construction companies such as Hyundai Rotem and GS Engineering & Construction. Elsewhere, the firm is active in matters with a nexus to shipping, life sciences, sport and energy and natural resources, among other sectors. In one highlight, the team is acting for the CEO of Kyobo Life Insurance in a $2bn shareholder dispute. On the investor-state side,  Lim, Wachter, Kim, Sanghoon Han and others are acting as co-counsel to the Korean government in an arbitration brought by Mason Capital LP and Mason Management LLC over the client's alleged intervention in  the merger between Samsung C&T and Cheil Industries. The team is also acting as co-counsel to the Korean government in a similar matter brought by Elliott Associates. Sunyoung Kim is another name to note.

Practice head(s):

Sean (Sungwoo) Lim; Robert Wachter

Other key lawyers:

David Kim; Sanghoon Han; Sunyoung Kim

Testimonials

The team is highly responsive to clients’ demands. Also, it builds up strong legal theories based on thorough factual investigations. The team doesn’t allow for any kind of vague assumptions as to facts

David Kim’s youth and energy belies his experience of international disputes. He knew how to lead the case and client

Everyone in this team is professional and excellent. Robert Wachter is really smart and dedicated. He always answers queries and is willing to listen our thoughts

Key clients

Republic of Korea

Chang Jae Shin

Korea East-West Power Co., Ltd

Hyundai Rotem Co., Ltd

Mitsubishi Tanebe Pharma Corporation

Republic of Korea Navy

Hyundai Steel Company

Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd

GS Engineearing & Construction Corporation

Duskin Hong Kong Company Ltd

Work highlights

  • The firm is representing the Republic of Korea in a €68m defence acquisition dispute.
  • The firm secured a major victory for one of the world’s leading manufacturers of rolling stock against an Asian passenger train manufacturer.
  • The firm is representing a Korean engineering and construction company in a construction dispute.
  • The firm is representing a leading pharmaceutical company in Japan in an ICC arbitration against a Korean affiliate of a large conglomerate in a dispute involving a potential groundbreaking medical treatment.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP's Seoul office operates at the heart of a large global network, which assists Korean clients with all aspects of cross-border arbitration matters. Mike McClure heads up the team, which leads on all of its cases, demonstrating strong capabilities in matters involving a broad range of governing laws and all the major arbitral rules. Its work covers a multitude of sectors, such as financial services, energy, technology, construction, shipbuilding and manufacturing. Of counsel Dana Kim acts for a variety of clients, including international companies, insurers and consultants. Senior associate Philip Kim is experienced in investment treaty arbitrations. Associate Jade Park is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Mike McClure

Other key lawyers:

Dana Kim; Philip Kim; Jade Park

Testimonials

Mike McClure, who is the head of the Korea desk. has done an impressive job of growing the desk into a viable and productive arbitration team

Both Mike McClure and Dana Kim in the Seoul office are well-known and respected in the arbitration community

The team is very proactive and provides creative solutions for the client to make a business decision

Their insight and accumulated experiences are crucial for Korean conglomerates doing business all over the world

Philip Kim has significant experience of high-stakes disputes, and we were able to benefit greatly from his insights and strategy in conducting arbitration. He is one of the few attorneys with impeccable bilingual capabilities, which is key in working with Korean clients

Key clients

Samsung C&T Corporation

Ministry of Justice of The Republic of Korea

Work highlights

  • The firm is representing a leading Asian private equity firm in an HKIAC arbitration with an industry peer concerning issues arising from the sale of its shareholding in a Korean company.
  • The firm is representing a major Korean construction company in relation to an ICC arbitration arising from the design and construction of an offshore subsea gas pipeline system in the Middle East.
  • The firm is representing the Ministry of the Republic of Korea in UNCITRAL arbitration proceedings against a US citizen. This is an investor-state dispute concerning the alleged expropriation of property in Korea, under the Korea-US FTA.
  • The firm is representing Samsung C&T as the EPC contractor in a dispute with Laing O’Rourke Australia, with respect to subcontracted works on the AU$10 billion Roy Hill Iron Ore Project.
  • The firm is acting for a Korean manufacturing company in an anticipated AAA arbitration against an Asian engineering company over issues arising from its cross licence agreements.

KL Partners

KL Partners has gained significant traction in the domestic and international legal market since it was established in 2015, when experienced arbitration partners Beomsu Kim and Eun Nyung (Ian) Lee left Shin & Kim to set up a new firm. In addition to serving existing clients that have turned to the firm for advice since its inception, the team has also recently won mandates from a significant number of new clients. With all of the aforementioned founding partners having a corporate law background, the firm has become a first port of call for high-profile post-M&A arbitration cases; one recent example involved the group acting for private equity firm Lone Star Funds in a $500m Singapore-seated ICC arbitration against Hana Financial Group; the dispute arose from Hana’s acquisition of a controlling interest in Korea Exchange Bank in 2012. Also notable is that the firm has been instructed in groundbreaking investor-state disputes, as has been evidenced by its work acting for Elliott Funds and Mason Capital Management LLC in separate investor-state arbitration cases against the Republic of Korea. Young Suk Park chairs the international arbitration practice, having joined from Atinum Partners in October 2018. Dong-Seok (Johan) Oh, who joined from Bae, Kim & Lee LLC in March 2019, is the overall head of the dispute resolution practice (which covers both international arbitration and cross-border litigation). John M. Kim and Byungsup F. Shin left to establish Kim & Partners.

Practice head(s):

Dong-Seok (Johan) Oh – Head of Dispute Resolution Practice Group; Young Suk Park – Co-chair of International Arbitration Practice Group

Other key lawyers:

Beomsu Kim; Eun Nyung (Ian) Lee

Key clients

Elliot Funds

Mason Capital

Lone Star Funds

Vogo Funds (VIG Partners)

Wemade Entertainment

MBK Partners Ltd

Kumho-Asiana

Yuanta Securities

WeWork

H&M

Work highlights

  • The firm is representing Vogo Funds (“VIG Partners”), Yuanta Securities and MJ Lee (Atinum Partners) as the sellers in a $612m Hong Kong-seated ICC arbitration against Anbang Group; the dispute concerns the sale of a controlling interest in Tong Yang Life Insurance Company to Anbang in 2015
  • The firm is representing Lone Star Funds (as the former majority shareholder of Korea Exchange Bank) in a $5bn ICSID investor-state arbitration against the Republic of Korea.
  • The firm is representing Wemade Entertainment in a KCAB arbitration governed by Korean law against a Chinese publisher regarding a non-payment of fees and intellectual property rights violations.
  • The firm is representing MBK Partners Ltd in a $200m Hong Kong-seated ICC arbitration against ING regarding alleged breaches of warranties.
  • The firm is representing Moo Gung International, Inc. in a KCAB arbitration against a Korean exporter for the non-payment of the price of produce commodities.

Shin & Kim

Shin & Kim's practice is gaining momentum under the leadership of recently re-elected managing partner Doo-Sik Kim and Jae Min Jeon, with the firm attracting new cases, where it is typically instructed to act as the lead or sole counsel. The group features prominently in investment treaty arbitrations, where it acts for foreign investors in disputes connected with investments into Korea, as well as representing Korean clients in matters arising from outbound investments. Jeon, Youngwon YoonRockey YooArie Eernisse and others are part of the team which is acting as the lead counsel to Korea Western Power Co., Ltd in an investor-state arbitration against the Government of India, which concerns India’s change in gas allocation policy and alleged misrepresentations on the availability of domestic gas for power plants. In another matter, the firm acted as Korean counsel to Lone Star Funds, as the former majority shareholder of Korea Exchange Bank, in a $4.4bn claim against the Republic of Korea; this is one of the largest ever ICSID arbitration claims. On the commercial arbitration front, the team demonstrates strong capabilities in a full range of contentious matters, including M&A-related disputes, as well as matters connected with construction, finance and bankruptcy. Jeon led a group, which acted as the lead counsel to K-Water and JSC Nenskra Hydro (a special purpose vehicle established by K-Water) in a dispute with contractor Salini Impregilo in connection with the construction of a hydropower plant in Georgia. SeungMin Lee, who is the first Korean-qualified lawyer to be admitted as a Fellow of the CIArb, also recently became qualified to practise in England and Wales.

Practice head(s):

Doo-Sik Kim; Jae Min Jeon

Testimonials

This team is close-knit and it clearly has a great collaborative ethos

SeungMin Lee is highly responsive and energetic. Jae Min Jeon is a first‐rate black letter lawyer, whose deep transactional expertise adds real value in the arbitration space. Doo‐Sik Kim has impressive gravitas with clients and an extensive network in the judicial, academic and commercial spheres

Doo-Sik Kim is a living legend in Korea’s legal industry. Jae Min Jeon is a top talent with a broad spectrum of experience. He is probably one of the smartest practitioners, if not the smartest, in Korea. It is always good to have him on your side. He works tirelessly work for you.

Key clients

Baring Private Equity Asia

Lone Star Funds

LSF-KEB Holdings SCA

International Petroleum Investment Company

AIG

Lotte Group

SK Group

KCC Group

Korea Marine Transport Co., Ltd

KOWEPO

SL Corporation

K-Water

Dongwon Group

Work highlights

  • The firm acted as co-counsel to the claimant Shuttle Holdings (a wholly-owned investment firm of Hong Kong-based Baring Private Equity Asia) in an HKIAC arbitration against CVC, with Korean law as the governing law. The dispute arose from the client’s proposed $282m sale of Logen to CVC.

White & Case LLP (Foreign Legal Consultant Office)

At White & Case LLP (Foreign Legal Consultant Office), construction-related arbitrations (particularly those arising from energy and infrastructure projects) are a pillar of the firm's work. Its strengths in this space were bolstered by the hire of David Robertson to the London office from Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP as part of a wider expansion of its Asia Pacific dispute resolution practice. Robertson focuses on acting for North Asian (particularly South Korean) clients, and has a wealth of experience acting as counsel in arbitrations under the ICC, LCIA, SIAC, DIAC, ICSID and UNCITRAL rules. Another name to note is Mark Goodrich, whose practice is split between the London and Seoul offices. In addition to construction, Goodrich's expertise also includes disputes involving areas such as shipbuilding and mining. Elsewhere in the global network, Paul Friedland and Damien Nyer (who are both based in New York) are leading the advice to the Republic of Korea as the respondent on an investor-state arbitration under UNCITRAL rules, which arose from Schindler’s investment in Hyundai Elevators. Friedland, Nyer and others are also representing the same client at an UNCITRAL arbitration over claims brought by Mason Capital in relation to the 2015 merger between Samsung C&T and Cheil Industries. Matthew Secomb in Singapore is another key figure. Jun Hee Kim and James Lee moved to Arnold & Porter.

Practice head(s):

Matthew Secomb (Singapore)

Other key lawyers:

Mark Goodrich; David Robertson; Paul Friedland; Damien Nyer

Key clients

Ministry of Justice, Republic of Korea

Work highlights

  • The firm is representing an Asian energy company in a price review arbitration under a long-term LNG sale and purchase agreement.
  • The firm is representing the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in an ICSID dispute brought by Samsung Engineering over the construction of a power and desalination plant in Yanbu, Saudi Arabia.
  • The firm is advising a leading shipyard on a major LCIA arbitration in relation to highly complex and technical disputes over the reconditioning of an FPSO.
  • The firm is representing a consortium of South Korean companies in a SIAC arbitration seated in Singapore. The dispute concerns a contract to construct a petrochemical plant.

Yulchon

Yulchon has a broad international dispute resolution practice, which covers all aspects of arbitration cases, including related court proceedings. Underlining its credentials in cross-border disputes, the team comprises of practitioners with experience of working at international law firms in jurisdictions worldwide. It has vast experience of representing clients in cases involving all major international arbitral institutions, such as ICC, LCIA, SIAC, HKIAC, AAA/ICDR, KCAB, CIETAC, VIAC, SHIAC. It also appears brought before ad hoc bodies under the UNCITRAL rules. Yun Jae Baek co-chairs the practice with senior foreign counsel Andrew White. White specialises in construction-related matters. Elsewhere, the firm's work spans other areas, such as energy, healthcare and manufacturing. In addition to undertaking commercial arbitration cases, investor-state disputes are another area of activity. Hyung Keun LeeJeonghye Sophie Ahn and Hyun Ah Park are other key figures. Sae Youn Kim has moved to Kim & Chang.

Practice head(s):

Yun Jae Baek; Andrew White

Key clients

KT

Hyundai Engineering & Construction

Daelim Industrial

Knorr-Bremse

Siemens AG

POSCO Daewoo

Republic of Korea

Hanwha Corporation

GS Engineering & Construction

POSCO

Clifford Chance

Clifford Chance's Korean disputes practice is led by Hong-Kong based partner Thomas Walsh, whose arrival in 2014 from Herbert Smith Freehills has facilitated the growth of the practice. Also located in Hong Kong is Ling Ho, who is leading the advice to a Korean shipbuilding company (as the claimant) on a dispute with a Russian shipyard; this matter has arisen from the shipyard using technology, designs and know-how provided by the client for an unauthorised project. Elsewhere in the global network, Paul Sandosham in Singapore has a strong track record assisting Korean clients with construction-related arbitrations. In addition, he is also known for his work in areas such as power, oil and gas, natural resources and commodities. Kelvin Teo works closely with Sandosham to assist Korean clients with Singapore-related arbitrations. Other key practitioners are Paris-based Jason Fry, who is a global co-head of the firm's international arbitration group, and Alex Panayides in London. Dubai-based partner James Abbott, who heads up the construction disputes practice in the Middle East, is another name to note.

Practice head(s):

Thomas Walsh

Testimonials

Exceptionally creative and tenacious in every way. Excellent value for money. Thomas Walsh and senior associate Tania Tse are exemplary of the strength of the practice in every way. They are persistent in the face of adversity and are so committed they can sometimes even make the most astonishing feats of legal brilliance look easy

Thomas Walsh has spent years in Korea cultivating strong relationships with other colleagues and clients

Thomas Walsh, formerly in Seoul and now in Hong Kong, is a highly energetic, sharp and well-connected young partner and is one to watch. Paul Sandosham in Singapore is a long-established partner who continues to perform and draw the respect of colleagues and competition alike

A great team for construction arbitration disputes, highly experienced individuals who know how to get to the right facts quickly

Work highlights

  • The firm acted for a Korean contractor in a SIAC arbitration seated in Singapore. The client was engaged in a dispute with a subcontractor over design works relating to the construction of the largest ferris wheel in the world.
  • The firm is acting for a South Korean shipbuilding company as the respondent in a potential dispute over an alleged patent infringement relating to a safety system on several rigs constructed by the client.
  • The firm is acting for an investment bank in relation to an ICC arbitration seated in Hong Kong over an investment into the Korean technology sector.
  • The firm acted for a Korean contractor as the respondent in a SIAC arbitration seated in Singapore relating to the procurement of a contract in the Middle East.
  • The firm is advising a Shanghai-listed multinational corporation (one of the world’s largest curtain wall specialists) on ongoing disputes with a Korean contractor, which arise from contracts for aluminium and glazing works for the redevelopment of the oldest shopping centre on Orchard Road in Singapore.

Mayer Brown

Mayer Brown handles arbitrations for and against Korean parties, with a focus on sectors such as energy, technology, transport and heavy industry and manufacturing, to name a few. Construction-related cases (across a wide range of industries) are a key pillar of the practice, as are complex business combination disputes and other general commercial matters. The firm's standing among Korean and global clients has been enhanced since Yu-Jin Tay joined the Singapore office from DLA Piper in 2017, with him having more than 17 years of experience of handling commercial and investment treaty arbitrations. Cases involving Korean investments into emerging markets are a specialism of the firm; Tay has particular expertise in Vietnam, which is notable given the rise of Korean investments there. In Hong Kong, Menachem Hasofer and John Hickin are also names to note.

Practice head(s):

Menachem Hasofer (Hong Kong); John Hickin (Hong Kong)

Other key lawyers:

Yu-Jin Tay (Singapore)

Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP

At Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP, a team in Hong Kong acts for Korean companies and foreign companies with a presence in Korea. It is experienced in all types of commercial and investment treaty arbitrations, and handles proceedings involving most arbitral institutions worldwide, as well as ad hoc matters. The firm's international platform also enables it to leverage additional resources elsewhere in the network. Asia Pacific arbitration head John RhieDuncan Watson and recently promoted partner Harold Noh are part of a cross-office group, which is acting for Republic of Korea over financial losses it sustained following an investment in Hyundai Elevator. In another matter, Rhie, Watson and Noh are representing the CEO and chairman of Kyobo Life Insurance Company (as the respondent) in an arbitration brought by a consortium led by Hong Kong-based Affinity Equity Partners; this case concerns a $2bn shareholder dispute between the parties. Associates Tom Brebner and James Chun are also recommended.

Practice head(s):

John Rhie

Testimonials

John Rhie is a high quality lawyer with commercial acumen

Hong Kong managing partner John Rhie is also the head of the Korea desk. He is very capable and well respected in both Hong Kong and Korea. Duncan Watson, who is another key partner in the group, works tirelessly on cases. He has a sharp legal mind and possesses strong advocacy skills

The firm is one of the best in the business. It knows Korea inside and out

John Rhie is building a superb team. Duncan Watson is outstanding

Despite the very high workload, the individuals in the team are very responsive and mostly available

Key clients

Schindler Group, Schindler Management AG

Chang-jae Shin (Kyobo Life Insurance Chairman)

Clyde & Co Clasis Singapore

's practice head June Yeum, who divides time between the Singapore and New York offices, has extensive experience of assisting Korean clients with arbitrations in areas such as construction, energy and infrastructure. She also handles more general commercial arbitrations, such as those connected with joint ventures and licensing. Having assisted POSCO International with obtaining a victory in a New York-seated arbitration under the ICDR/AAA rules, Yeum has been advising the client on related enforcement proceedings in Louisiana. In another matter, Yeum, assisted Doosan Power Systems with settling a SIAC case against Indian conglomerate GMR Group over the construction of a power plant.

Practice head(s):

June Yeum

Yoon & Yang LLC

Led by practice head Junsang LeeYoon & Yang LLC's team acts for Korean and international clients in cross-border disputes connected with areas such as aviation, insurance, construction and commodities, among others. In 2018, Nam-Geun Kim and Sang-Pil Lee were the lead partners who successfully represented Korea Resources Corporation and STX Corporation in a circa $259m KCAB arbitration claim brought by POSCO Daewoo over its withdrawal from a Korean consortium which had jointly invested in the Ambatovy nickel mine development project in Madagascar. Another highlight saw the firm advise Samchully ES in a $7m KCAB arbitration against Jeonju Power Corporation, which arose from delays to a power plant construction project. In other key developments, Ji Hoon Cha and Min Young Han joined from APEX LLC. Senior foreign attorneys Myung-Ahn Kim and Sam Kim, who are members of the California Bar and New York Bar respectively, have extensive experience handling cases under the rules of the ICC, HKIAC and SIAC, among others. Yonsoo Kim and associate Mun Jeong Kyung are also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Junsang Lee

Key clients

General Electric Company (GE)

Hyundai Autoever

STX Corporation

POSCO ICT Company

GM Trading

The Engineering Pte., Ltd.

Seoul Broadcasting System

Korea Water Resources Corporation

Otis Elevator Korea

Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power

YD Online

Work highlights

  • The firm is handling an ICC arbitration arising from an investment dispute connected with the Midan City Development Project in Incheon Yeongjongdo.
  • The firm acted as co-counsel to the Republic of Korea in its successful defence against an investor-state claim brought by a US citizen. This was the first ISDS arbitration defended by the client under the Korea-US Free Trade Agreement.
  • The firm is handling a SIAC arbitration arising from a contract dispute between Korean and Chinese companies.
  • The firm assisted a client with successfully obtaining arbitral awards in the HKIAC in relation to a contract dispute.
  • The firm assisted a client with obtaining an arbitral award at the KCAB in relation to an insurance claims dispute.