Firm Profile > Kim & Chang > Seoul , South Korea
Kim & Chang Offices
39 SAJIK-RO 8-GIL
Kim & Chang > The Legal 500 Rankings
Over 100 attorneys comprise the antitrust and competition law practice group at Kim & Chang; led by practice head Kyung-Taek Jung, the lawyers are closely supported by the firm's seasoned in-house economists, forensic accountants and ex-Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) officials. Merger clearance work before the KFTC is a key piece of the practice, as is defending clients in investigations by the Commission. Cases handled in the latter space are varied in the allegations involved, covering abuse of superior bargaining position, abuse of market dominance, discriminatory treatment, unfair trade practices and cartels. Youngjin Jung has previous experience as a member of the cartel advisory board of the KFTC while Tae-Kyu Kang is the name to note for contested merger filings. The team welcomed a high number of recent new arrivals, including Min-Ho Lee from Lee & Ko (June 2019) and Hyun Gyu Lee from Bae, Kim & Lee LLC (September 2018).
Kim & Chang's varied client roster in the banking and finance space comprises domestic and foreign commercial banks, investment banks, securities firms, private equity funds and asset management firms. Besides a steady flow of transaction work, the group also handles fund formation, restructuring, litigation and alternative dispute mandates. Ie Hwan Yoo and Young Min Kim have expertise in acquisition financing and aircraft financing respectively. Hi Sun Yoon is the name to note for shipping financing work in addition to aircraft financing work. Senior foreign attorney Hoin Lee, who specialises in structured finance work, is also recommended. Key contact Kye Sung Chung is team head.
Hahn & Company
Samsung C&T Corporation
GS Energy Co., Ltd.
Korea Trade Insurance Corporation (“K-sure”)
The Export-Import Bank of Korea (“KEXIM”)
H-Line Shipping Co., Ltd.
The Korea Development Bank (“KDB”)
Mirae Asset Daewoo Co., Ltd.
Capital markets: local firms Tier 1
Kim & Chang takes a multidisciplinary approach to capital markets, the team works hand in hand with counterparts in the tax, competition, insolvency and labour practices. Areas of expertise include IPOs, public and private offering of equity-linked securities, credit and equity-linked derivatives, asset backed securities, hybrid bonds and straight bonds. It also advises on transaction structure, regulatory issues and tax. Myoung-Jae Chung is recommended for his expertise in M&A, capital markets transactions, derivatives and investment funds. Senior associate Kwon Eui Park focuses on M&A, securities transactions, securities regulations and corporate governance.
J.P. Morgan Securities (Far East) Limited.
Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation
Citigroup Global Markets Korea Securities Limited
Standard Chartered Securities
Bank of America Merrill Lynch
Kyung Taek Jung leads Kim & Chang's first-rate corporate and M&A team, which distinguishes itself in headline deals at the premium end of the market. Equally highly regarded by Korean and international clients, its recent work included Yun Goo Kwon, Yunbak Chung, Youngjin Jung and others advising Hyundai Heavy Industries on its circa KRW2.09tn takeover bid for Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co., Ltd. Also notable is that, in 2018, a group led by Sookyung Lee and Byung Min Choi acted for a consortium comprising of Macquarie Korea Opportunities Management and SK Telecom on its $2.64bn acquisition of ADT Caps from Carlyle Group. Jong-Koo Park has a track record in market-shaping M&A and private equity transactions which date back to the late 1990s. Young Man Huh, Bo Yong Ahn, Young Jay Ro, Joon Kim, Jong Hyun Park and Teo Kim are among many other standout names in the team.
Hyundai Heavy Industries, Co., Ltd
Macquarie Korea Opportunities Management
SK Telecom Co., Ltd
Hahn & Company
CJ ENM CO., Ltd
Affinity Equity Partners Pte Ltd
MSPE (Morgan Stanley Private Equity)
Glenwood Private Equity
Kim & Chang has a standout reputation acting for clients in reputationally-sensitive cases of the utmost complexity and significance. In addition to fielding a first-rate team of experienced litigators, the firm is able to leverage the expertise of patent attorneys, accountants and industry experts in complex matters. The team's strengths span multiple areas, including securities litigation, white-collar/regulatory investigations, M&A-related disputes, insurance and competition cases. Jay J. Kim, Sang Yoon Lee, Sung Jin Kim and CY Chooyoun Kim are defending a company against product liability claims brought by multiple plaintiffs over injuries sustained as a result of using humidifier sanitisers. The team has also assisted with related criminal proceedings and government investigations connected with the matter. Sang Ho Han, Hye Kwang Lee, Sungwook Kim and Chul-Won Lee are representing Philip Morris Korea in a longrunning lawsuit brought by the Korean National Health Insurance Service (NHIS). NHIS first brought the damages against tobacco manufacturers in 2014 in relation to policyholders being diagnosed with lung cancer and laryngeal cancer. Sun Seong Park leads the firm's banking litigation team. Jin Yeong Chung and Chang Beom Ryu are among many other names to note.
‘The team always secures successful outcomes in complex disputes. It has a practical strategy to address key issues and is proactive in providing support in-house counsel‘
Philip Morris Korea
Deutsche Bank AG
The Boeing Company
Bank of America Merrill Lynch
Insurance: local firms Tier 1
Kim & Chang's insurance team's core areas of focus include regulatory, licensing and general commercial issues. Jay Ahn is a key figure and focuses on transactions and regulatory mandates. Hyun Wook Shin is also very active in advising on regulations and commercial matters, as is Joon Young Kim. The team has recently been boosted with the arrival of Stephane Min Gyu PARK from Prudential Life Korea.
‘Kim & Chang is good at advising on complex and difficult issues.’
‘The team can offer effective alternatives due to its long-standing experience.’
‘There is an extensive network of professional within firm that clearly identifies the position or required matters of regulators.’
‘Very systematic and precise.’
Prudential Life Korea
Samsung Fire & Marine
Hyundai Marine & Fire
'Highly knowledgeable, responsive and accurate', the IP department at Kim & Chang is led by Jay (Young-June) Yang. The department comprises several sub-practices which liaise seamlessly to cover the full range of IP work; these are the patent practice, the trade mark practice, the IP litigation practice and the IP transactional practice. Key areas of operation include patent infringement litigation, domestic and foreign patent prosecution, patent due diligence for transactions and support on US-based IP litigation (including pre-trial discovery document review and deposition support). Senior patent attorney Young Kim boasts a track record of handling numerous landmark cases at the supreme court. Also recommended on this front is Man Gi Paik.
‘Without Kim & Chang’s strong argumentation skills and persuasiveness, our case wouldn’t have been a success. The team’s deep understanding of the recent Unfair Competition Prevention and Trade Secret Protection Act 2. Ka-mok, which currently has few precedents, was indispensable in our arguments‘.
‘Youngsun You and Deahyun Seo quickly got up to speed with our business and our long-term commercial strategy, forming strong arguments with these goals in mind. They service was excellent and consistent‘.
‘In-Hwan Kim and Jung-Ho Yoon are highly knowledgeable and experienced IP professionals with great communication and technical skills‘.
‘They have a very strong legal expertise and at the same time are able to understand the client’s needs and consider the pragmatic view. They also took the time to get to know our business and thoroughly understand the trade environment in which we functioned‘.
‘We are extremely happy with the work carried out by Ann Kwon and Alexandra Belec; they are prompt and agile experts‘.
Robert Bosch GmbH
Carl Zeiss Co. Ltd.
International arbitration Tier 1Kim & 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 Richardson, Sungjean Seo, Hye Sung Kim and Sejong Youn. Don 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.
‘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‘
Schindler Holding AG
Affinity Equity Partners
Standard Chartered Private Equity
Macquarie Korea Infrastructure Fund
Hyundai Heavy Industries
Hyundai Motor Company
Samsung Heavy Industries
Hyundai Construction & Engineering
Doosan Heavy Industries
Doosan Engineering & Construction
Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering
Attorneys, certified public labor consultants, accountants and HR professionals together comprise the seamless full-service labour and employment department at Kim & Chang. The breadth of experts in the practice ensures the firm can provide employee relations consulting, compensation and benefits design and post-merger integration services in addition to its core legal assistance. In the latter space, the group handles both contentious and non-contentious matters for corporations from a range of sectors including TMT, industrial and manufacturing, consumer goods and insurance. Chun Wook Hyun heads up the team together with Weon Jung Kim. Senior attorney Hyun Jae Park is another key practitioner who often supports clients with corporate restructuring, early retirement plans, employee privacy and wage and hour claims. The firm welcomed Seon Yeong Kwon from Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office in August 2018; Kwon boasts extensive experience in criminal liability matters arising from labour and employment violations.
Kim & Chang's projects and energy practice acts for sponsors, construction firms, investors and lenders. The firm has advised Korean companies working on projects in a range of countries including China, Vietnam and Indonesia. The team is co led by Yon-Kyun Oh and Ick-Ryol Huh. Oh advised Taekwang Power on the multi jurisdictional Nam Dinh project worth $500m. Huh works in project finance, with domestic and offshore experience. Young-Kyun Cho acted as lead partner advising Asset Management Multi Asset Global Investments on the project financing of Samcheok Thermal Power Plant worth $4.2bn. Claire (Mi-Jin) Kim is an expert on project finance, energy matters and litigation and is likewise recommended.
Real estate: local firms Tier 1Kim & Chang’s real estate practice has recently been advising its clients on novel REIT issues and overseas acquisitions – both through REF and REIT structures. The group is led by Yon-Kyun Oh in Seoul with the support of Keun Ah Cho who has substantial experience in tax-efficient real property investment structures such as REITs, business transfers, project financings, share acquisitions, and acquisitions under insolvency proceedings. Also notable are Sang Min Lee and David Pyun.
‘The team consists of a number of reputable lawyers qualified both in Korea and abroad. They are good at providing creative legal solutions for challenging transactions or circumstances. The team always provides clear and reliable advice which is hard to find in other firms.’
‘Yeom Seung-Hoon represents the team’s superior capabilities. He is very good at understanding clients’ concerns and identifying potential legal risks within a transaction.’
DWS Asset Management (Korea) Co. Ltd.
Mirae Asset Global Investments Co., Ltd.
M&G Real Estate
The Blackstone Group
Brookfield Asset Management
KKR (Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. L.P.)
Samsung SRA Asset Management Co., Ltd.
WeWork Companies Inc.
According to one client, Kim & Chang's corporate investigations & white collar defence practice group is 'stronger than other law firms with regard to the seamless collaboration between its Korean and foreign attorneys'. The department is split into two subgroups, one focusing on domestic companies and the other on foreign companies, ensuring the firm can provide a truly bespoke service. Clients from a broad range of sectors regularly instruct the firm, including those from particularly niche or highly regulated areas such as financial services, insurance, aviation and defence. Michael Yu is an expert in the latter sector. The practice was recently marked by a large influx of mandates from major players in the automotive industry, especially on matters concerning emissions or homologation. Kook Hyun Yoo is team head and Ho-Keun Ryu is also recommended.
‘Very professional in terms of legal knowledge at both the local and international level; experienced in forensic investigations with strong interviewing skills‘.
‘Han Cheol Kang is a very professional Korean lawyer with strengths in pharmaceutical compliance and investigation‘.
‘Michael Yu is a very mature foreign attorney who specialises in corporate investigation and handling international affairs; he is particular favorite for our general counsel‘.
Audi Volkswagen Korea
Kim & Chang is noted for the ‘experience of team members’ and the quality of its ‘local, international and forensic knowledge’. The practice is divided into two separate teams of criminal defence attorneys, one which caters the firm’s international clients and another which focuses on the domestic market. Sector expertise encompasses aerospace, defence, insurance, finance and the automotive industry. Practice head Kook Hyun Yoo provides experience in representing both major Korean conglomerates and leading global entities while Ho-Keun Ryu delivers expertise in embezzlement, breach of trust, bribery and corruption.
‘The experience of team members. Reputation and estimate.’
‘Rich legal knowledge and varied experience. And a careful description and expression of passion.’
‘Very professional in terms of legal knowledge local and international, forensic as well as investigation skill including the interview skill. Stronger than the other law firms with regards to the collaboration by and between Korean attorneys and foreign attorneys.’
‘Han Cheol Kang is a very professional Korean lawyer with strengths on pharmaceutical compliance/ investigation Michael Yu, very mature foreign attorney specialized on corporate investigation and handling international affairs, favorite lawyer accessed by our general counsel’.
Audi Volkswagen Korea (Volkswagen AG)
Shipping: local firms Tier 1
Kim & Chang's market-leading reputation in shipping is underpinned by its extensive coverage of a full range of shipping disputes, where it acts for domestic and foreign shipowners, P&I clubs and insurance companies. Byung-Suk Chung leads the team, which is experienced in contentious matters involving shipbuilding contracts, accidents at sea, charter party disputes, insolvency proceedings and insurance issues. Chung's standing in the industry is reflected by the fact that he serves as the president of the Seoul Maritime Arbitration Association, among other notable roles. Chul-Won Lee and Sungjean Seo are advising a client on LMAA arbitration proceedings arising from a dispute over shipbuilding contracts for the engineering and construction of four semi-submersible drilling rigs. Clients also benefit from the expertise of Jin Hong Lee, Jae-Bok Lee and Joon Hwan Park.
‘Kim & Chang provided detailed and accurate advice on casualty, damages to cargo, charter party disputes and marine insurance related work. It also has resources and expertise from other practice groups. It is capable of the full range of shipping-related work and provide the client with timely, in-depth advice. It has experience and knowledge of the industry. and practitioners consider the commercial realities. There is no doubt that Kim & Chang is a leading maritime law firm in Korea‘
North of England P&I
Holman Fenwick & Willan, London
Hill Dickinson LLP
Hyundai Heavy Industries Co., Ltd
Yoshida & Partners
Samsung C&T Corporation
Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering
Tax: local firms Tier 1
'Enthusiasm and eagerness to meet the needs of clients' are the core strengths of the tax practice group at Kim & Chang, which is led by key practitioners Woo Hyun Baik and Byung-Moon Jung. The team comprises an integrated pricing and customs sub-practice and offers a broad range of services including assistance with tax planning, tax advice on corporate transactions, applications for tax exemptions, applications for tax rulings and transfer pricing studies. Most impressive is the firm's litigious tax work which sees the group defending taxpayer positions up to and including the supreme court, often on issues for which there is little or no legal precedent. Tae Yeon Nam and Hae Ma Joong Kim are highly recommended. Also of note is Sang Woo Lee, who specialises in tax dispute resolution and audits.
‘The work was done by a highly engaged team with a deep knowledge and broad experience in tax‘.
‘Sangwoo Lee is a professional lawyer with deep knowledge on income tax, especially incomes generated from abroad. Sungweon Cho is a professional lawyer with high levels of expertise in tax lawsuits; he is eager to solve matters for the client‘.
‘Kim & Chang’s tax practice is the best in the market; all of team members are very highly skilled and they have wide-ranging relevant network throughout the tax world, including relationships with regulatory bodies‘.
‘I was impressed by Yungu Kang and Sungweon Cho. They are always accurate, up-to-date and provide good technical advice from a practical perspective. They also demonstrate superb case management and I would definitely contact them as a first choice in future‘.
LG Electronics Inc.
National Oilwell Varco
TMT: local firms Tier 1
Kim & Chang act for a diverse range of clients, ranging from broadcasting and telecommunications companies, hardware and software, online service providers to online game developers and e-commerce businesses. Its team 'has insights into the relevant industry areas and government practice, allowing them to provide guidance that is not just based on the law but also practice'. Key figures in the sizeable team include practice head Dong Shik Choi, Min Chul Park, Brian Oh and Seong-Hyeon Bang.
Kim & Chang > Firm Profile
Established in 1973, Kim & Chang is Korea’s premier law firm with a market leading position in all major practice areas including antitrust and competition; banking; capital markets; corporate investigations and white collar defense; environment; financial regulation and compliance; financing; fintech; health; insolvency and restructuring; insurance; intellectual property; international arbitration and cross-border litigation; international trade and customs; labor and employment; litigation; mergers and acquisitions; privacy and data security; private equity; real estate; securities; shipping; tax; and technology, media and telecommunications.
Our strong foundation is built on the breadth and depth of our talent. Our professionals include lawyers, tax lawyers, patent and trademark attorneys, accountants, and other subject matter and industry experts totaling more than 1,500 professionals today. Our teams work seamlessly in close coordination with each other with the highest commitment to creating innovative solutions to the legal and business challenges that our clients face.
Based in Seoul, with offices in Hong Kong and Ho Chi Minh City, we are particularly known for our cross-border expertise. We have advised on some of the largest, most complex and demanding transactions and legal challenges in Korea and around the world. We have built a track record of “first-of-its-kind”, groundbreaking solutions that have had a profound impact on the law and business. Our attorneys are licensed in multiple jurisdictions, including Australia, Belgium, Canada, China, England and Wales, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the US and Vietnam in addition to Korea. With our growing regional networks and collaborative relationships with reputable law firms across Asia and around the globe, our clients with multi-jurisdictional interests have come to rely on us as a “one-stop shop” of the highest quality.
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Staff FiguresNumber of professionals : 1,500+
LanguagesChinese Dutch English French German Japanese Korean Vietnamese
In the recently published The Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2018, one of the legal industry’s most prominent guides to the legal market in Asia, Kim & Chang was the only Korean law firm to be top-ranked ("Tier 1") in all 16 practice areas surveyed. Particularly noteworthy is the fact that our IP group was the only Tier 1-ranked practice to be recognized in the “Intellectual property – Patents and Trademarks” category.
On November 18, 2017, more than 40 Kim & Chang attorneys and K&C Friends (staff volunteers) of Kim & Chang Committee for Social Contribution volunteered in gimjang, a Korean tradition of preparing large quantities of kimchi for the winter. Volunteers gathered early in the morning to learn how to do gimjang, and helped to make kimchi. The kimchi prepared through this event was donated to 100 foster care families supported by the Central Foster Care Family Center .
Kim & Chang was the only Korean law firm to receive “Outstanding,” the highest possible ranking, across all 18 practice areas in the 22nd edition of Asialaw Profiles 2018, a definitive guide to Asia-Pacific’s leading regional and domestic law firms. Additionally, we were the only Korean firm to be awarded “Outstanding” in the Financial Services Regulatory and Intellectual Property practice areas.
On December 9, 2017, Kim & Chang attorneys and K&C Friends (staff volunteers) of Kim & Chang Committee for Social Contribution together with youth members of Deulggot Youth World, an organization dedicated to caring for and educating children in need, delivered coal briquettes to a jjokbang town in Seoul’s Yeongdeungpo District. Jjokbang towns are low-income neighborhoods comprised of tenement housings with small rooms that barely accommodate one person.
The volunteers delivered the briquettes to low-income families, the elderly living alone, and others in the jjokbang town with hopes to give them a warmer winter.
In the recently published Representing Corporate Asia and Middle East Survey, an annual ranking survey published by Asian-MENA Counsel, Kim & Chang won "In-House Community Firm of the Year" in 14 categories.
On October 31, 2017, Kim & Chang Committee for Social Contribution hosted its second Multicultural Family Law Academy for 2017, a “mobile” legal service for multicultural families in Korea, in the City of Gyeongsan in Gyeongsangbuk-do Province. The first session was held in the City of Gimje in Jeollabuk-do Province earlier in 2017.
On November 28, 2017, Kim & Chang was recognized as the "Asia-Pacific Firm of the Year" in the inaugural Asialaw Asia-Pacific Legal Practice Awards.
According to the latest "Asia 50," an annual special feature published by The American Lawyer, Kim & Chang ranked 11th among the top 50 Asia-Pacific law firms.
According to “Asia’s Top 50,” a feature story in the November issue of Asian Legal Business (ALB), Kim & Chang is the 12th largest Asian law firm, with the top 11 being China-based firms. Our firm continues to lead this chart among Korean firms, and once again, this is the highest ranking for a Korean firm.
Kim & Chang was once again named "Korea Law Firm of the Year" at the ALB Korean Law Awards 2017, a recognition we have won five consecutive times since these awards began in 2012. Our firm was also once again honored with the highest number of recognitions at this year's ceremony held on November 16 at the Grand Hyatt in Seoul.
In the 2018 edition of the prestigious legal guide, Chambers Asia-Pacific, Kim & Chang was the only law firm in Korea to receive top rankings (“Band 1”) across all 19 practice areas surveyed.
Kim & Chang has consolidated its position as the leading law firm in Korea ranking “Tier 1” across all six practice areas in the 2018 edition of IFLR1000 Financial & Corporate. We are the only Korean firm to receive top tier rankings in all categories for 14 consecutive years.
In addition, IFLR named nine Kim & Chang attorneys as "Highly Regarded," two as "Market Leader," and one attorney as a "Rising Star." According to IFLR, our firm "dominates the market and is routinely involved in the best mandates available across all practice areas."
For the fourth year in a row, Kim & Chang is the only ranked law firm in Korea among the world’s largest law firms in the American Lawyer's “The Global 100" report.
At the China Law & Practice Awards 2017, Kim & Chang won "South Korea Firm of the Year.” This is the seventh consecutive year that our firm’s China Practice has received such recognition. Further, we are the only Korean firm to be so named.
On September 28, at the prestigious third annual Asialaw Asia-Pacific Dispute Resolution Awards 2017, Kim & Chang was named "National Law Firm of the Year - South Korea," along with top recognition in one other major category.
On May 15, 2017, Who’s Who Legal awarded Kim & Chang “Country and State Awards 2017: Korea.” This is the twelfth consecutive year that the firm has received this recognition.
Kim & Chang is pleased to announce that it was named as “Pro Bono Law Firm of the Year” by Who’s Who Legal for our firm’s steadfast commitment to pro bono work and for providing phenomenal services in 2016. Also, Kim & Chang is the only Asian law firm to be recognized as one of the top 10 leading law firms in the world for its pro bono services for four consecutive years.
In the recently announced Acritas “Asia Pacific Law Firm Brand Index 2017,” Kim & Chang was again recognized as a top 5 law firm brand in the AP region. Our fourth ranking is the highest distinction earned by a local firm. The top 3 firms are global firms with regional offices worldwide.
On June 15, 2017, at The International Legal Alliance Summit & Awards 2017, Kim & Chang received the Gold Award – the highest recognition – in the “Best Asian Law Firm 2017” category.
On May 4, 2017, Kim & Chang was named “South Korea Tax Firm of the Year” and “Asia Tax Transactions Firm of the Year” at the 2017 Asia Tax Awards.
"Hyundai Merchant Marine Restructuring," one of Kim & Chang's 2016 representations, was among the 38 “Winning Deals” chosen by Asian-MENA Counsel for its annual “Deals of the Year” awards.
In the 2017 edition of Chambers Global – a global-wide leading law firm directory, published by Chambers & Partners – Kim & Chang received top rankings (“Band 1”) in all 7 practice areas surveyed.
Kim & Chang was top ranked (“Band 1”) in all 18 practice areas surveyed in the 2017 edition of Chambers Asia-Pacific, a leading law firm directory of Asia-Pacific region, published by Chambers & Partners.
For the 15th consecutive year, Kim & Chang was recognized as the “National Law Firm of the Year: Korea” at the IFLR Asia Awards 2017.
For the second consecutive year, Kim & Chang was recognized as the "Compliance/Investigations Firm of the Year" at the Asia Legal Awards 2017. On February 22nd, “The Asian Lawyer” – an affiliate of ALM, a world-renowned legal media group – hosted the awards ceremony at Hong Kong’s Four Seasons Hotel, to honor Asia’s top lawyers, law firms, and in-house teams.
Kim & Chang was named as “Korea Firm of the Year” in 19 practice areas in the 10th annual “Representing Corporate Asia & Middle East Survey,” which was conducted and announced by Asian-MENA Counsel magazine.
According to the “Mergermarket M&A League Tables of Legal Advisors 2016,” Kim & Chang ranks as the No. 1 M&A advisor in South Korea by deal value and count (USD 22.994 billion and 80 counts).
Kim & Chang has been named in the "Global 100," a special feature of The American Lawyer, a renowned US-based legal magazine, for three years in a row. Our firm was ranked among the Top 100 firms in each of the following charts: 68th on the "Most Lawyers (rank by number of lawyers)", 59th on the “Most Revenue (rank by gross revenue)”, 46th on the “Most Profits Per Partners (rank by profits per partners). Kim & Chang is the only Korean firm to be listed on these charts.
Kim & Chang was selected as “Korea Law Firm of the Year” at China Law & Practice Awards 2016, an event hosted by China Law & Practice, an affiliate of ALM, a world-renowned legal media group. Kim & Chang has been recognized as “Korea Law Firm of the Year” for sixth consecutive years.
Kim & Chang was recognized as one of the leading M&A firms in South Korea, named as a Tier 1 firm in the ALB (Asian Legal Business) M&A Rankings 2016, a feature article in the September 2016 issue of ALB.
Kim & Chang was selected as one of the leading (Tier 1) tax advisory firms in Korea by World Tax 2017.
Potential Regulatory Compliance Systems to Enhance the Safe Control of Chemical Substances
Continuing its policy to enhance the safe control of chemical substances, the Ministry of Environment (“MOE”) has been making legislative efforts to further heighten regulations of chemical substances.
On September 8, 2017, to promote joint growth of enterprises of all sizes and their collaborative efforts, the Korean Fair Trade Commission (“KFTC”) and the ruling Democratic Party of Korea held a consultation conference to step up efforts to eliminate unfair demands of technical information and/or misappropriation of technology by large conglomerates against small and medium-sized enterprises.
Several amendments to the Patent Act (“PA”) and the Design Protection Act ("DPA"), which passed the National Assembly on March 2, 2017, went into effect on September 22, 2017. We highlight below the major changes:
Supreme Court Affirms Lower Court Decision, Finding Invalid the Regulations on Foreign Exchange Report on Incorporation of Offshore Subsidiary by an Offshore Company
On June 15, 2017, the Korean Supreme Court affirmed an appellate court decision which ruled that a Korean company is not guilty of a violation of the Foreign Exchange Transactions Act (the “FETA”) for failing to file a foreign exchange report after its offshore branch office established an offshore subsidiary. This Supreme Court decision is a milestone decision that requires a clear legal basis in relevant statutes for finance-related regulations.
To step forward as an environment-friendly government, the Moon Jae-in Administration has announced its key environmental policies, including improving safety in chemical substances and household chemical products, and reinforcing implementation measures of the Paris Agreement. Under the “sustainable development” paradigm, the new administration will continually promote new regulations to protect the environment and strengthen its enforcement of environmental regulations.
Lower Court Issues Favorable Decision for 27,000 KIA Motors Employees in an Ordinary Wage Case
On August 31, 2017, the Seoul Central District Court held for around 27,000 employees of KIA Motors ("KIA") in their claim seeking payment of unpaid allowances. These allowances were not paid, because the defendant, KIA, had not included the employees' regular bonuses in their ordinary wages.
On February 15, 2017, the Korea Fair Trade Commission (“KFTC”) announced the Standard Distribution Agreement for transactions between suppliers and distributors in the food & beverage (“F&B”) industry.
Supreme Court Rules that Distributor's Sales Agents Are Distributor's Employees, Entitling Them to Severance Payment from the Distributor
In a recent decision, the Supreme Court held that although a company (the "Distributor") executed service agreements with its sales agents (the "Sales Agents") who worked in the Distributor's retail space at a department store, the Sales Agents were the Distributor's "employees" as defined under the Labor Standards Act and entitled to statutory severance from the Distributor. Although the Sales Agents were subcontracted to the Distributor and received a sales commission for selling products on its behalf to customers, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Sales Agents.
The Amendment to the Chemicals Control Act (“CCA”), as proposed by the MOE and promulgated on December 27, 2016, is scheduled to take effect on December 28, 2017 (the “Amendment”).
On January 5, 2017, the Korea Fair Trade Commission ("KFTC") announced its enforcement plan for 2017 (the "Plan"), and set out detailed policies to: (i) monitor and remedy anti-competitive structure and behavior; (ii) establish a healthy business system among large conglomerates and small and medium-sized enterprises (“SMEs”); and (iii) build a consumer-friendly environment promoting consumers’ rights.
Ministry of Environment (i) Strengthens Safety/Labeling Standards for Potentially Risky Products and (ii) Introduces Biocides Act Modeled After EU’s Similar Regulation
On December 30, 2016, Korea’s Ministry of Environment (“MOE”) announced an amendment to the “Potentially Risky Product Designation & Safety/Labeling Standards” (“MOE’s Notice”), which strengthens the safety and labeling standards relating to potentially risky products, as well as the “Act on the Safe Control of Household Chemical Products & Biocides” (“Biocides Act”) modeled after the EU BPR (Biocidal Products Regulation) to regulate active substances and biocidal products.
[SOUTH KOREA] Questions on Product Safety Continue, Bringing About Strengthened Regulatory Oversight
In the midst of growing public concern over the health hazards of certain household chemical products,¹ concerns are now being raised about the safety of chemicals in other types of products, such as "quasi-drugs" (e.g., toothpastes) and cosmetics.
Primarily, these recent concerns focus on the health hazards associated with biocides contained in household products. In particular, Korean people are concerned about chemicals that were used as biocides in some humidifier sterilizers, such as chloromethyl-methylisothiazolone (“CMIT/MIT”).
Much earlier than expected, on September 12, 2016, the Korean government notified the Hong Kong government of the Korean National Assembly’s ratification of the Korea–Hong Kong Tax Treaty (“Treaty”). On September 27, 2016, the Treaty entered into force.
South Korea: Corporate Governance
Published: March 2019
Authors: Hyeon Deog Cho Joon Kim Byoung Kwon Park
This country-specific Q&A provides an overview to Corporate Governance laws and regulations that may occur in South Korea.
South Korea: Blockchain
Published: November 2019
Authors: Joon Young Kim Samuel Yim Jungmin Lee
This country-specific Q&A provides an overview to Blockchain laws and regulations that may occur in South Korea.
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