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South Korea > International arbitration > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings


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  1. International arbitration
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next Generation Partners

Next Generation Partners

  1. 1

Bae, Kim & Lee LLC’s ‘premier international arbitration practice’ handles commercial and investment treaty disputes involving construction projects, joint ventures and technology and trade mark licensing. Co-heads Kap-You Kim and John Bang have ‘vast experience in international arbitration’ and, alongside Seung-Hyeon Kim, are representing Korea Electric Power Corporation in an LCIA-arbitration against a consortium of Korea’s largest construction and engineering companies, concerning the construction of the first nuclear power station in the UAE. Bang, SH Kim and Junu Kim, who stands out for his ‘deep understanding of Korean law’, are also instructed by private equity funds and financial institutions to act on post-M&A disputes. Senior foreign attorneys David MacArthur and Matthew Christensen are also names to note.

Kim & Chang ‘consistently delivers an extremely high level of service' in the most complex international disputes, particularly within M&A, construction and shipping sectors. The practice jointly led by Byung-Chol Yoon  and Eun Young Park; Yoon ‘manages the client interface and client meetings very well’ and is highly experienced in cross-border disputes; he and Sungjean Seo successfully defended a Korean shipbuilder in a London-based ad hoc arbitration. Meanwhile, Park, Byung-Woo Im and Joel Richardson represented the claimant, a Korean subsidiary of a French industrial gases supplier, in ICC arbitration over the termination of a supply agreement. Kay-Jannes Wegner is ‘one of the best advocates in Korea’; he regularly acts in cases involving European interests. Richard Menard and Chul-Won Lee are also recommended. Liz Kyo-Hwa Chung has joined Microsoft Korea as head of corporate, external and legal affairs.

Lee & Ko has strengthened its international arbitration practice with the recruitment of Hyunsoo Joo from Kim & Chang, Charles Peterson from Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP and distinguished law professor Yeonsoo Yun. The ‘value for money’ team is lauded for ‘approaching the core of the problem quickly and accurately’ with expertise in construction, shipping and life sciences disputes. Robert Wachter and Jae Hwan Kim are defending an insurer in a complex dispute arising from retubing work at a nuclear power plant. The team is also instructed in several highly technical cross-border disputes concerning construction and engineering projects and military procurement. Sungwoo Lim knows ‘how to lead and advise the clients to get to the goal’, David Kim is noted for his ‘great advocacy skills and strong logic’, while Hyunyang Koo has ‘great communication and investigation skills’. Sunyoung Kim focuses on corporate transactions and regularly acts alongside Wachter.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP's Seoul-based team acts in highly technical and complex cross-border proceedings. Practice head Mike McClure is singled out for his ‘outstanding expertise’; he is acting alongside a cross-border team in an arbitration for a noted Korean construction company in relation to the construction of an offshore gas pipeline in the Middle East. The group is also advising Samsung C&T is a dispute regarding the termination of a subcontract on an iron ore project in Australia. Dana Kim and Philip Kim are names to note.

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.

Shin & Kim attracts praise for its ability ‘to field a large team of several partners along with talented junior lawyers’; the practice is headed by Doo-Sik Kim, who is particularly active in investor-state disputes, as well as in litigation involving complex construction and finance-related matters. Kim has an ‘impressive gravitas with clients and before tribunals’; he advised Lone Star Funds in one of the largest claims in ICSID arbitration against the Republic of Korea. In addition, he and commercial arbitration specialist Jae Min Jeon are acting for Baring Private Equity Asia in a complex case involving a post-M&A transaction. Elsewhere, Seungmin Lee is highlighted for her ‘outstanding speciality and commitment’. Recently promoted partner Sang-Hoon Han is also recommended, while foreign attorney Arie Eernisse is ‘by far their best advocate’.

White & Case LLP (Foreign Legal Consultant Office) expanded its team with the arrival of Jun Hee Kim, previously international general counsel Hyundai Heavy Industries, who has been involved in construction and energy-related disputes of late. Mark Goodrich is a well-known figure in high-value cross-border construction disputes. Main Seoul-based contact James K. Lee has joined Arnold & Porter in Los Angeles.

Yulchon’s arbitration team frequently represents Korean clients in the construction, manufacturing, IT and shipping industries in ICC, UNCITRAL and SIAC arbitration. The practice is jointly led by Sae Youn Kim, Yun Jae Baek and Andrew White and is regularly instructed as counsel by Korean manufacturers, public utility companies and conglomerates in complex contractual disputes and investor-state arbitration. Hyung Keun Lee, Jeong Hye Ahn and Tae Joon Ahn are also active on a number of significant international arbitration mandates. The practice has been joined by senior foreign attorney Ki Jeung Park from Corbett & Co International Construction Lawyers Ltd and Yun Jae Baek, founder of arbitration boutique, Hanol Law Offices.

Clifford Chance’s multi-jurisdictional practice is extremely active within the Korean arbitration sector. Thomas Walsh splits his time between the Hong Kong and Seoul offices, and Singapore-based Paul Sandosham achieved a favourable result for a leading shipbuilder in an LMAA arbitration concerning the construction of a large crude oil carrier in Korea worth more than $70m. The group is representing a Korean construction company in a dispute relating to the construction of a hotel in Mongolia, as well as advising an engineering company in highly complex technical and factual issues arising from the engineering, procurement and installation of a major offshore processing facility. In other significant matters, Walsh is acting as lead counsel in an ICC arbitration between Chinese and Korean parties over the intellectual property and gaming rights for Spongebob Squarepants in the People's Republic of China.

DLA Piper's team are praised for ‘going the extra mile’ and providing ‘absolute dedication to clients' needs’. Korea managing partner Daniel Lee draws on the firm’s cross-border expertise to advise and represent major Korean clients in the food and drink, IT, automobile, and construction sectors in multi-jurisdictional proceedings. In recent cases, the team successfully obtained favourable results for their Korean clients in the technology, engineering, food and beverage, and automotive industries in HKIAC and ICC arbitrations, and proceeding in Canada and the US.

Led by the head of its Asia arbitration group, Singapore-based Nicholas Lingard, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer's cross-border international arbitration practice is regularly instructed by notable Korean and international clients to act in UNCITRAL investor-state arbitration, as well construction, commercial and private equity-related disputes. Key contacts include Dubai-based Erin Miller Rankin and William Robinson in Hong-Kong.

With his strong reputation in the Korean market, Mayer Brown’s Singapore office has benefited from the arrival of experienced international arbitration lawyer Yu-Jin Tay from DLA Piper. The practice is instructed by prominent international and Korean clients within the construction, aviation and technology industries in complex and high-value proceedings across multiple jurisdictions.

Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP's managing partner John Rhie is rapidly ‘developing the leading foreign firm arbitration practice focused on Korea’. The ‘very sharp, commercial and strategic’ Hong Kong-based group is instructed on complex cross-border commercial and post-M&A disputes. The team includes Duncan Watson, who specialises in commercial and investment treaty arbitration. Also of note is associate Harold Noh, who is ‘well respected and an extremely effective advocate’.

Clyde & Co Clasis Singapore's  June Yeum acts as counsel for Korean conglomerates in cross-border construction, infrastructure and energy-related arbitrations. She also has experience in licensing and sales contracts as well as joint venture disputes. Shaun Leong is also a name to note for commercial disputes.

At DR & AJU LLC, Timothy Dickens leads an experienced team which includes Kichul Lee, Elena Min and Kyeong Kim, who represent Korean clients in the cosmetics, shipping and manufacturing industries in arbitrations before the Korean Commercial Arbitration Board as well as proceedings in foreign jurisdictions in Asia and the Middle East.

Jipyong’s integrated practice of experienced Korean and foreign attorneys acts before numerous tribunals. Arbitration head and foreign attorney Jinhee Kim is frequently assisted by foreign attorneys Jeesun Park and Jane Young Sohn as lead and co-counsel for Korean conglomerates in the manufacturing, technology and consumer goods industries in KCAB, ICC and HKIAC arbitration.

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP represents well-known Korean conglomerates in the automotive, electronics and healthcare industries in arbitration in Singapore and the ICC. Palo Alto-based Lance Etcheverry leads on arbitrations for Asian clients and regularly acts alongside head of the Seoul practice, H Young Shin.

Yoon & Yang LLC has a ‘great team of bilingual attorneys’ who have ‘expert knowledge and experience’ in arbitration across various sectors while also maintaining ‘very competitive fees’. ‘Well respected for his legal mind and communicative skills’, Jun Sang Lee leads the sizeable team and regularly acts as lead counsel for well-known Korean clients; alongside Seung-Bok Nah he acted for a client in a dispute concerning unpaid royalties for a licensed game. Also of note, Sam Kim is ‘highly sought after by clients for his skill and interpersonal skills’. The team has recently been joined by foreign attorneys Myung-Ahn Kim, Yonsoo Kim and senior adviser Kyung Bae Kim.

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