Firm Profile > Lee & Ko > Seoul, South Korea

Lee & Ko
SEOUL 04532
South Korea

Antitrust and competition: local firms Tier 1

Lee & Ko's antitrust and competition department comprises former officials of the Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) and ex-judges of Korean courts, including the Supreme Court. Matters pertaining to cartels, abuse of dominance, merger control, unfair trade practices and antitrust litigation all fall within the remit of the group. Blue-chip clients from a wide range of industry sectors (including semiconductors, automotive, pharmaceuticals, shipping and financial services) regularly instruct the firm. The practice was marked by a recent uptick in investigation work, especially in cases seeing Korean conglomerate 'chaebol' businesses accused of unfair trade practices. Team head Hwan Jeong has a wide-ranging practice. Also highly recommended are managing partner Yong Seok Ahn and Suruyn Kim. Min-Ho Lee departed for Kim & Chang.

Key clients

Deutsche Bank

Rubycon Corporation

Federation of Korean Music Performers

21 Century Fox

Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited

LG Corp. / LG Electronics

Biogen Therapeutics Inc.

Yang-ho Cho (Chairman, Hanjin Group)

Lotte Asset Development / Lotte Fuji Film / Lotte Global Logis

LG Electronics

Mitsubishi Electric

Korean Association of Paediatricians

Cargill Agri Purina, Inc.

Huawei / MediaTek / Samsung Electronics

Banking and finance: local firms Tier 1

Lee & Ko's practice encompasses the full gamut of banking and finance work including project finance, acquisition finance, structured finance, securitisation, trade finance and derivatives transactions. The firm has both major Korean banks and multinational financial institutions on its enviable client list. Woo Young Jung, who leads the practice, has a strong historical record of handling matters related to ship financing, securitization and banking regulation. Yeo Kyoon Yoon and Myoung Chul Kwak are some other key practitioners. Yoon was involved in some of the firm's most recent and significant acquisition financing highlights while Kwak is noted for his expertise in leveraged finance transactions.

Key clients

BNP Paribas

Societe Generale

Standard Chartered Bank

JPMorgan Chase Bank

KEB Hana Bank

NH Investment & Securities Co., Ltd.

Korean Air

Korea Development Bank

Woori Bank

Shinhan Bank

Corporate and M&A: local firms Tier 1

Lee & Ko's M&A practice has been a pillar of the firm's work since the firm's inception in 1977. Hyun Tae KimSang Gon Kim and Hyeong Gun Lee jointly lead the team, whose outstanding deal execution capabilities make it a strong choice for Korean and cross-border transactions. Its extensive experience spans a multitude of industries, such as construction, financial services, healthcare and pharmaceuticals, energy, logistics and technology, among various others. In 2018, Sang Gon KimHo Joon MoonKi Wook Kang and Seung Hwan Lee were among the advisers to The Carlyle Group on the sale of ADT Caps to to SK Telecom and Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets. In another highlight, Sang Gon KimJang Hyuk YeoSung Min Kim and others acted for  LG Electronics and LG Corporation on their acquisition of ZKW Holding GmbH (an Austria-based automotive lighting and headlight systems provider) for $1.25bn. Yong Joon YoonEdward Kim and Kyungchun Kim are also notable individuals. Chee Kwan Kim joined from Clifford Chance.


The team always does its best. Feedback is very accurate and timely

Jang Hyuk Yeo always delivers satisfactory results. He has expertise in American law and Korean law

Key clients

Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.

Goldman Sachs Group, Inc.

Carlyle Group

eBay Inc.

Macquarie Group

LG Electronics Inc.

Korean Air

Lotte Group

SK Telecom Co., Ltd.

Korea Development Bank

IMM Private Equity


Shinsegae Group

LG Household & Health Care

NHN Corporation

Netmarble Games

MBK Partners

Shinhan Financial Group

Dispute resolution: local firms Tier 1

Lee & Ko's depth of manpower underpins its ability to assist clients with large, high-profile and high-stakes litigation, with it housing practitioners active in 40 different practice groups. In addition to being adept in domestic matters, a sizeable portion its team's workload has a cross-border dimension, notably in areas such as white-collar crime, shipping and insurance. A group led by Pyoung Keun Song and Jongsoo (Jay) Yoon  recently represented the Korea Communications Commission (KCC) in court proceedings issued by Facebook Ireland Ltd; the case arose from the KCC's imposition of fines because Facebook changed a connection path, which slowed down the speed of users attempting to access Facebook through SK Broadband and LG Uplus. In 2018, the firm acted for Korean Air Lines Co., Ltd in a lawsuit filed by retired pilots seeking a judgment that no debt was due for loans provided by the airline to finance participation in flight training courses. Won Seok Ko heads up the team, which includes administrative litigation head Seon Tae Kim and Chan Ik Jang, who leads on construction and real estate litigation.  Seong Won ChangYang Suk HanJeong Kyoo Han and Sang Yong Ra each have over 20 years of experience serving as judges. Jae Heon Park is another key figure.

Key clients

Samsung Electronics

Hyundai Heavy Industries

LG Chem Ltd

SK telecom

Korean Air

Kookmin Bank

Korea Development Bank

Lotte Shopping Co. Ltd

LG Corporation

Booyoung Group Co., Ltd

Bristol Myers Squibb

Insurance: local firms Tier 1

Lee & Ko's broad practice includes advising on regulations and transactions, as well as representing clients on contentious issues. Jin Hong Kwon is one of three practice heads and has extensive experience in advising on regulatory compliance. Fellow practice head John JungKyum Kim is particularly skilled in advising international clients and works on advisory, transactional and contentious issues. Also leading the team Jae Hwan Kim, who focuses on corporate and commercial insurance matters. Other important members of the team include Jin-Young Jung, who specialises in maritime insurance; Chongsu Seo, who is well known for acting on behalf of insurers in claims issues; and Sae Um Kim, who advises on regulations and insurance claims.

Key clients

ABL Life Insurance Co., Ltd., formerly known as Allianz Life Insurance Co., Ltd

Ace American Fire Marine Insurance Co., Ltd (Korea Branch)

AIA Group Limited (AIA Korea)

AIG (American International Group) Insurance Co., Ltd.

Aon Korea Inc.

Aon Singapore Pte. Ltd.


Arch MI Asia Limited

Berkley Re

BNP Paribas Cardif General Insurance Co., Ltd.

Chubb Life Insurance Co., Ltd.

CNA Hardy

Compagnie Française d’Assurance pour le Commerce Extérieur

Corstone Asia

DB Insurance Co., Ltd.

DB Life Insurance Co., Ltd.

Euler Hermes Hong Kong Services Limited

Euler Hermes Korea Non-Life Broker, Co., Ltd.

General Insurance Association of Korea

General Reinsurance Corporation

Hanjin Busan Newport Co., Ltd.

Hanwha General Insurance Co., Ltd.

Heungkuk Fire Marine Insurance Co., Ltd.

Heungkuk Life Insurance

Hyundai Life Insurance Co., Ltd.

Hyundai Marine and Fire Insurance Co., Ltd.

ING Life Insurance Co., Ltd.

Jardine Lloyd Thompson (JLT) Asia

KB Insurance Co., Ltd.

Korea General Insurance Association

Korea Life Insurance Association

Intellectual property: local firms Tier 1

Un Ho Kim leads the IP department at Lee & Ko, which comprises IP trial lawyers and patent attorneys who possess expertise across a broad range of sectors including pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, telecommunications and software. Besides patent and trade mark prosecution, the group also acts for clients in cases pertaining to trade secrets and unfair competition and copyright enforcement. The firm's dedication to further developing its offering was evinced by the 18 new clients who recently instructed it on IP matters, including Korean media giant BigHit Entertainment. Choong Jin Oh and Hui Jin Yang are both highly recommended. Also of note is Young Mo Kwon, whose practice in this area spans over 30 years.

Key clients


LG Electronics

LG Chemical

Samsung Electronics


Novartis International

Bristol Myers Squibb

JNC Corporation / JNC Petrochemical Corporation

Silicon Mitus

Robert Bosch GmbH

JJGC Industria E Comercio de Materiais Dentarios S.A

The Face Shop

Actial Farmaceutica S.R.L.

Epic Games Inc.

Celgene Corporation

Giorgio Armani S.p.A.

Ericsson-LG Co., Ltd.

ITS Games Co., Ltd.

Hyungji I&C Corp.

Aptiv PLC


Hanwha Q Cells Co., Ltd.

Daewoong Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd.

Big Hit Entertainment

International arbitration Tier 1

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.


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

Projects and energy: local firms Tier 1

Lee & Ko's practice advises investors, insurers, contractors, government agencies and banks in regards to project and energy matters. The firm undertakes domestic and cross border work in power projects and in relation to conventional and renewable energy matters. Dong Eun Kim, co heading the team, represented Shinhan BNP Parisbas Asset Management and Korea Investment & Securities in restructuring financing for Uikeongbu Light Rail. Tom Shin , also a co head, has been active on financing for renewable energy projects, including wind and solar. Hun Ko has acted for financial institutions and construction companies in relation to project finance for renewable energy, PPI projects and real estate work. Hyunsu Kim, experienced in infrastructure projects, real estate development and project finance, is recommended.

Key clients

Daelim Industrial Co., ltd

Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power

Hyundai Rotem

Bloom Energy

Dealim Energy

Samsung Life Insurance

Real estate: local firms Tier 1

Besides regularly handling high-value commercial property transactions, Lee & Ko has also developed a strong reputation for contentious real estate work including disputes arising from the construction sector; Chang Ik Chang is the name to note on this front. Reconstruction and redevelopment mandates and Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) related work are some other core areas of operation. Jin Wook Yang is recommended for his real estate development expertise. Yang is joined by Junghwan Lee and Dong Seok Woo, whose practices encompass both domestic and overseas projects, in leading the offering. Also notable is Jee In Kim, who specialises in matters involving overseas real estate investment by Korean institutional investors.

Key clients

Hana Alternative Asset Management

Shinhan Alpha Yongsan Reits

Hyundai Engineering CO., LTD

Ryukyung PSG Asset Management Company

Samsung E&C Corporation

Pine Street Asset Management

IGIS Asset Management Co., Ltd.

Samsung SRA Asset Management Co., Ltd.

Mirae Asset Daewoo Co., Ltd.

United Partners Asset Management Co., Ltd.

Hyundai Investments Co., Ltd.

NomuraRifa Asset Management

Vestas Investment Management

LB Asset Management Inc.

KTB Asset management Co.

Korea Asset Investment Management

Regulatory: compliance and investigations: local firms Tier 1

Praised as ‘one of the top firms in Korea for government investigations’, the team at Lee & Ko also handles regulatory and compliance matters in the competition, financial regulation, tax, employment, environment and automobile sectors, among others. With the support of an in-house digital forensics team, the department is split between white-collar crime, compliance and internal investigation practices which are headed by Chang-Hee Suh and Kyunghoon Lee. A standout name to note is Tae Yop Lee who is a market leader for corporate crime liability, foreign exchange and trade-related breaches. He recently formed a team representing Hanjin Group and Koren Air in charges which included criminal breach of fiduciary duty, self-dealing transactions and embezzlement.


‘Kyunghoon Lee’s team is very professional and kind.’

‘Kyungoon Lee is very professional and kind.’

‘Lee & Ko is one of the top firms in Korea for government investigations whether in Korea or cross-border.’

‘Kyunghoon Lee and Taek-Rim Oh are both bilingual attorneys who can manage complex issues that arise in these investigations.  They are familiar with working with both Korean and U.S. companies which is a key core competency in this area.’

Key clients

Hanjin Group (Korean Air)

SK Chemicals

Incublock Co., Ltd.

Booyoung Group

Daehan Oil Pipeline Corp.

Samsung Display

BonIF Co., Ltd.

Ferrotec Advanced Materials

Korea Corporation

Doowon Corporation


Shipping: local firms Tier 1

At Lee & KoJin Young Jung heads up a specialist team which focuses on shipping disputes. Contentious work spans areas such as marine casualty, ship arrests, marine cargo claims, shipping insolvency and marine insurance claims. In 2018, Jin Young Jung and Lee Sang-hyeop defended Meritz Fire & Marine Insurance Co  against a lawsuit brought by Korea Development Bank (as pledgee of the insurance claim) in relation to the sinking of vehicle-passenger ferry MV Sewol. Yang Ho Yoon is also recommended for maritime disputes. Yun Jeong Suh, who leads the shipping finance practice, acts for a mix of domestic and international financial institutions, and shipping companies. Elsewhere, the firm has a strong track record advising on shipping regulation,  and ship sales and purchases, among other matters.


They are very good on the law and also extremely commercial in their advice and practice. They are also very responsive when required

Jin Young Jung is very astute and experienced

Key clients

Hyundai Merchant Marine Co, Ltd

Pan Ocean Co., Ltd. (formerly known as STX Pan Ocean)

SM Korea Line Corporation

E1 Corporation

Sammok Shipping Co., Ltd

Bookuk Shipping Co., Ltd

Taeyoung Shipping Co., Ltd

Lotte Global Logistics Co., Ltd. (formerly known as Hyundai Logistics)

Samsung SDS Co., Ltd

Pantos Logistics Co., Ltd

CJ Korex Co., Ltd

Orient Shipyard Co., Ltd

Hyundai Heavy Industries Co., Ltd

Korean Air Lines Co., Ltd

China Eastern Airlines

Turkish Airlines


Meritz Fire & Marine Insurance Co., Ltd

HanJoong Ship Machinery Co., Ltd

Korean RE SK Networks Co., Ltd

Hyundai Glovis Co., Ltd

TMT: local firms Tier 1

TMT is a core area of practice for Lee & Ko, where the team continue to be involved in the regulatory side; advising on the establishment of legislation and regulatory guidelines aimed at promoting data economy, artificial intelligence, and big data. The practice also has notable expertise across a range of IT, telecom, media, fintech, data privacy and litigation. Department head Soon-Yub Samuel Kwon advises on various corporate, investment and commercial transaction, while Kwang Bae Park has a particular focus on issues arising in the telecom services, media, Internal portal services, open-market platforms, and online advertising. Hwan Kyoung Ko, Ju Bong Jang and Hyunjun Kim are also of note.


Lee & Ko offers the best value for money in Korea.’


Key clients

SK Telecom

Hyundai Motor Company and Kia Motors Corporation

Shinhan Financial Group

LG Electronics

SK Broadband

Capital markets: local firms Tier 2

Lee & Ko is active in the debt capital markets, equity capital markets, derivatives, private equity and investment funds arenas. Areas of expertise include subordinated bonds, hybrid bonds, securitization, domestic and cross-border IPOs, disputes and regulatory matters. The firm has particular expertise in the fintech and bio-tech sectors and advises banks, insurance companies, securities companies, asset management companies, credit-specialized financial companies, financial holding companies, major corporates and public enterprises. Wonsik Choo is recommended for his experience in equity issuances, IPOs, listing, de-listing, M&A financing and compliance. Hyunjoo Oh is adept at handling securities, structured capital market products, derivatives, capital markets licensing, compliance issues, foreign exchange regulations and disputes.

Key clients


Citigroup Global Markets Inc.

Daeshin Securities Co., Ltd.

DBS Bank Ltd

Deutsche Bank

Export-Import Bank of Korea

Hanwha Asset Management Co., Ltd.

J.P. Morgan Securities LLC

JR AMC Co., Ltd.

KB Securities Co., Ltd.

KDB Infra Asset Management Co., Ltd.

KEB Hana Bank

Kiwoom Securities Co., Ltd.

Korea Asset Investment Management Co., Ltd.

Korea Investment & Securities Co., Ltd.

Korea Investment Corporation

Korea Transportation Asset Management

KTB Asset Management Co., Ltd.

Kyobo Securities Co., Ltd.

Goldman Sachs International

Hana Asset Management Co., Ltd.

Hana Financial Investment Co., Ltd.

Macquarie Asset Management

MERITZ Securities Co., Ltd.

Merrill Lynch

Mirae Asset Daewoo Co., Ltd.

Mizuho Bank, Ltd.

Multi Asset Global Investments Co., Ltd.

National Pension Service

Rhinos Asset Management Co., Ltd.

Samsung Securities Co., Ltd.

Shinhan Bank

Shinhan Investment Corp.

SK Securities Co., Ltd.

The Korea Development Bank

The Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited

Yuanta Securities Korea Co., Ltd.

Labour and employment: local firms Tier 2

Lee & Ko advises clients on layoff strategy, collective bargaining negotiations, performance improvement schemes and covers the full spectrum of labour and employment disputes. Sang-Hoon Lee and Chang-Soo Jin jointly spearhead the practice group and recently welcomed consultant Yong Hee Lee from the Ministry of Employment and Labour to the practice. Senior associate William Kim has developed an expertise in advising foreign clients on employment contracts, changes to work rules, sexual harassment investigations, employment discrimination, general compliance matters, employee discipline and terminations, amongs others. He is a key contact alongside Jae-Hoon Choi and Yong Moon Kim .


‘The team is professional and knowledgeable. It is able to provide professional legal advice based on the client’s business needs and model.’

‘Lee & Ko represents the best value for money in Korea.’

‘The key factor is a strong, and well-organized teamwork which stems from its members’ diverse professional backgrounds. The team can answer and respond every single questions to handle the pending issues always in a timely manner. Lee & Ko is one of top 5 law firms in Korea due to its scale and diversity.’

‘William Ko who is the main contact I have with Lee & Co always provide detailed explanation and tailor the advice based on our business need and model. He is responsive and acts on request in an efficient manner.’

‘Sang Hoon Lee is recommended because of his knowledge, expertise and client-friendliness.’

‘Hyunseok Song, a labour team partner has more than 15 years of work experiences with wide range of practice area in a labour law market. He has rich experience in both private and public sectors, and is always ready to respond issues of urgent situations.’

Key clients

Novartis Korea



Trade & Investment Queensland

Kangwon Land

Oriental Brewery


Japanese Tobacco International

Parker Hannifin


Tax: local firms Tier 2

Jay Shim and Myung Sub Kim jointly lead the tax practice group at Lee & Ko. The offering spans bespoke corporate tax advisory, assistance with tax audits, tax planning (both inbound and outbound) and customs law cases. On the contentious side, the team handles both administrative tax disputes and tax litigation. A number of recent arrivals further strengthened the bench, which now accommodates 4 former research judges from the tax division of the supreme court; especially of note is ex-chief research judge Sung Hwan Kim, who joined in March 2019. Also recommended are Byeong Jun Son and Sung Hyun Ryu, both of whom possess significant litigious tax expertise.

Key clients




ADT Caps

Bayer Korea Ltd.

NH Amundi Investment & Securities

Baring Private Equity Asia

Polaris Shipping Co., Ltd.


SK Telecom

Songwon Industrial Group

Hwagok 3 Reconstruction Association

Police Mutual Aid Association

Korean Veterans Association

STX Offshore & Shipbuilding


Dongwon Enterprise

Medtronic Korea

Korea Trade Insurance Corporation

Hanwha Asset Management

Samsung SRA Asset Management



Daelim Industrial

Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction


Hyundai Motor

Korean Air



Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering


Woori Bank

Korea Development Bank

Quilvest Private Equity

Alazar Technologies Inc.


Beijing Kunlun Tech Co., Ltd.

Lindstrom Oy


Showbox Co., Ltd

Korea Professional Golf Association

United Air Lines, Inc.

  • Premier full-service law firm in Korea


  • Founded in 1977, and comprising more than 700 professionals, organized into 7 practice groups with 40 specialty teams


  • One-stop service for all legal needs, based on efficient collaboration among highly specialized team


  • Emphasis on responsiveness & practical solutions


  • 7 major practice groups: (i) corporate and M&A, (ii) banking, finance and securities, (iii) litigation (both civil and criminal) & alternative dispute resolution (iv) tax & customs, (v) antitrust & competition, (vi) labour & employment and (vii) intellectual property


  • 40 specialised teams : Within the firm’s seven major practice groups there are approximately 40 highly specialised teams of legal professionals including the following: anti-corruption & FCPA; antitrust & competition; aviation; banking; bankruptcy, insolvency & corporate restructuring; capital markets & securities; class actions & consumer claims; construction; consumer goods & services; corporate and M&A; corporate governance; derivatives; dispute resolution; energy; entertainment; environment; finance (acquisition finance, asset finance, project finance, structured finance); foreign direct investment; healthcare; industry & manufacturing; infrastructure; insurance; intellectual property; internal investigations; international practice (Chinese, European, Japanese practice); international trade; investment funds; labour & employment; maritime & shipping; overseas investment; private equity & venture capital; privatisation; product liability; real estate; regulatory compliance; tax & customs (tax consulting, audits, dispute resolution, transfer pricing); technology, media & telecommunications; and white-collar crime.


  • Recognition & Awards


  • “Best Firm in South Korea” – Euromoney (2018)
  • “Korea Deal Firm of the Year” – Thomson Reuters (2018)
  • “Korea Finance Firm of the Year” – The Asian Lawyer (2018)
  • “Korea TMT Firm of the Year” – The Asian Lawyer (2019)
  • “Labour and Employment Law Firm of the Year” – Thomson Reuters (2018)
  • “Competition Lawyer of the Year” – The Asian Lawyer, Asia Legal Awards (2017)
  • “Behavioural Matter of the Year (Asia-Pacific, Middle East and Africa)” – Global Competition Review (2017)
  • “Transfer Pricing firm of the Year” – Euromoney ITR Asia Tax Awards (2016)
  • “Korea Patent Firm of the Year” – Asia IP Awards (2018)
  • “Korea Trademark Contentious Firm of the Year Award 2019” – MIP (2019)
  • Tier 1 in all or a majority of practice areas by Asia Pacific Legal 500, IFLR 1000, Asialaw Profiles and Chambers Asia
Photo Name Position Profile
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South Korea

KFTC Enhances the Predictability and Clarity of Decisions but Potentially Increase the Overall Administrative Fine Levels

Facing continued criticisms that the existing rules allowed overly broad discretion to the Korea Fair Trade Commission (the “KFTC”) in setting the amount of administrative fine, the KFTC amended the Notification on Detailed Standards for Imposition of Administrative Fine (the “Notification”). The amendments (the “Amendments”) were passed by the KFTC’s full Committee of Commissioners on December 21, 2016, and came into effect on December 30, 2016.