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  1. Labour and employment – Local firms
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next Generation Partners

Next Generation Partners

  1. 1

The ‘responsive and knowledgeable’ team at Bae, Kim & Lee LLC provide the full spectrum of labour and employment services to Korean conglomerates and international corporations. Jeong Han Lee is ‘an expert in his field’, acting in disputes concerning wrongful dismissal, wage claims and related employment issues. The team’s expertise in responding to industrial safety accidents is demonstrated by Lee, Hyung Ro Kim and Jinwoo Lee, who together successfully dismissed an arrest warrant issued against two employees following an explosion at a shipyard. In another notable case, Sangkyun Jang acted for KEPCO KPS against claims brought by 4,000 workers in a highly publicised wage dispute. Former judge Wook Rae Lee is highly experienced in representing Korean clients across the gamut of labour disputes.

Kim & Chang 's substantial team stands by providing HR services, compensation and benefits design, in addition to the full breadth of labour and employment law services. Chun Wook Hyun and Weon Jung Kim lead the team which includes Ki Young Kim, who is praised for his ‘depth and sound knowledge of local laws and strategic acumen’; he is active on a number of complex and high-value employment disputes. Deok Il Seo advises corporate clients on matters involving employee benefits strategies, while Hyun Jae Park is experienced in corporate restructuring, early retirement plans, employee privacy and wage claims. Senior foreign attorney Matthew Jones is noted ‘for his ability to understand the needs of a large corporation’.

Lee & Ko handles significant labour and employment disputes for clients including Korean Air, General Motors Korea and Lotte Shopping. Sang Hoon Lee is noted for his ‘knowledge, experience and client-friendliness’; he assisted Cargill Agri Purina with internal investigations following serious allegations brought by its employees, and also advised Jimmy Choo on HR-related matters related to the opening up of its business in Korea. Chang Soo Jin co-heads the practice alongside Lee and is another well-respected figure; he and Hyun Seok Song assisted SK Telecom in relation to the labour law framework and employee status of fixed-term employees specifically hired to complete an installation project at Incheon International Airport. Jae Hoon Choi and Yong Moon Kim are recommended for employment agreements,  collective labor relationships and major corporate restructuring.

Shin & Kim’s full-service labour department spans internal compliance investigations, restructuring and has strong capabilities in disputes, particularly in illegal dispatch worker cases. Practice head Young-Seok Ki and Michael Chang recently advised BBC Korea on setting up its employment structure, employee handbook and policies in compliance with Korean labour laws. In other matters, Dong-Wook Kim and Jong Soo Kim are representing the Ministry of Employment and Labor in the highly topical administrative lawsuit and constitutional petition brought by small and medium businesses in response to the legislative increase of the minimum wage.

Led by managing partner Sang Hoon Park, Yoon & Yang LLC’s labour and employment practice advises Korean and international clients on non-contentions matters such as employment agreements, employee policies and benefits, as well as disputes. Highlights include Tae-Hwan Oh and Chan-Keun Park representing Hyundai Motor Company in a case brought by its employees claiming they are entitled to additional overtime pay for work performed during holidays. CK Park is also assisting GE Healthcare Korea regarding compliance with recent statutory labour amendments.

Yulchon’s ‘knowledgeable and very responsive’ team continue to attract Korean and international client seeking assistance on compliance with labour regulation practices and representation in employment disputes. ‘Highly experienced’ Sang Wook Cho is ‘a safe pair of hands’; he, Dong Ryul Choi and Jae Woo Park advised Hanwha Investment & Securities on matters relating to a reorganisation and reduction of its workforce. The group also acted for a leading steel manufacturer in a dispute involving illegal dispatch claims by employees of a contractor. Other names to note are Soojung Lee and foreign attorney Christopher Mandel.

Hwang Hong & Co’s unique position as Korea’s only labour and employment boutique practice attracts multinational and foreign-invested clients thanks to its ‘very competitive fees without erosion of standards’ and ‘client-friendly and strategic advice’. Brendon Carr is singled out as ‘very responsive, committed and constantly provides top-grade legal advice’; he and litigation leader Jennifer In-Kyu Hwang successfully represented Oracle in a complex case concerning the termination of an employee’s probation period. Other key clients include State Street Bank, Facebook and Nike. Soowon Hong is recommended for employment law compliance, employee discipline and termination.

Jipyong’s practice is experienced in handling non-contentious labour matters such as employment regulations, terminations and personnel management, as well as acting in litigation and providing HR management services. Significant work includes Kwang-Sun Lee representing Hyundai Mobis in the appellate court in a dispute over ordinary wages. Lee and managing partner Ji-Hyung Kim are also representing Nexteel in a pending Supreme Court case pertaining to unfair dismissal of employees who have been made redundant. Other key contacts are Sung-Soo Kim and Chang Young Kwon.

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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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    Recently, based on the premise that requirements for “mutual guarantee” or “reciprocity” in relation to the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments can be allowed between Russia and Korea, a District Court of Korea rendered its decision which allowed a judgment concluded by a Russian court to be enforceable in Korea (see Changwon District Court, Decision 2018Gahap51099 held on January 17, 2019).
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    Recently, the National Assembly of Korea passed legislative amendments to the Fair Recruitment Procedure Act (“FRPA ”) as part of the reform efforts to address the country’s recruitment culture. The latest amendment – dubbed the “blind hiring” bill – expands the FRPA to prohibit any type of recruitment irregularities (e.g., improper solicitation, coercion, pressure) and, more importantly, bars employers from asking jobseekers to provide any information unrelated to the position and the applicant’s merit. The amended FRPA will go into effect starting July 17, 2019.
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    On February 21, 2019, the Supreme Court of Korea issued an en banc decision overruling its prior precedents on the issue of whether a licensee who is continuing to make royalty payments under an existing license agreement nevertheless has standing to challenge the validity of the licensed patent. In short, the Korean Supreme Court held that absent special circumstance, a patent licensee is an “interested party” eligible for challenging the validity of a licensed patent, despite the lack of any threat or potential threat posed by the patent holder against the licensee’s right to use the patented invention. (Supreme Court En Banc Decision No. 2017Hu2819).
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    The Korea Fair Trade Commission (the “KFTC ”) recently amended its Guidelines for Merger Review (the ”Guidelines ”), which took effect from February 27, 2019. The Guidelines now provide for particular issues relating to “innovation markets” and “big data” that will be considered during the KFTC’s review of mergers within R&D-intensive (i.e. innovative) industries.

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