Lee & Ko > Seoul, South Korea > Firm Profile

Lee & Ko
SEOUL 04532
South Korea

South Korea > Banking and finance: local firms Tier 1

Lee & Ko’s banking and finance group provides a focused service for clients through its structured sub-teams that specialise in different areas of finance: acquisition, project, aircraft and shipping. The group advises both domestic and foreign commercial banks and financial institutions on a wide range of issues, including regulatory compliance, lending transactions, fintech, tax and trust business activities. Practice head Woo Young Jung has over 20 years of experience in ship finance and is supported by Yunjeong Seo in this space, along with other members of the team, including aircraft finance expert H.K. Helen Sohn, and Myoung Chul Kwak and Yeo Kyoon Yoon who both have extensive experience in leveraged and acquisition finance.

Practice head(s):


‘We believe the Lee&Ko team is one of the best legal advisories in the world. It specialises in project finance, corporate finance, debt restructuring, and various other debt transactions. In our opinion, LK has the state of the art documentation skills in light of perfection.’

Key clients

BNP Paribas

JPMorgan Chase Bank

KEB Hana Bank

Kookmin Bank

Korean Air Co., Ltd.

Korea Development Bank

Korea Investment & Securities Co., Ltd.

Mirae Asset Daewoo Co., Ltd.

NH Investment & Securities Co., Ltd.

Samsung Securities Co., Ltd.

Shinhan Bank

Societe Generale

Standard Chartered Bank Korea Limited

Woori Bank

Work highlights

  • Advised HDC Holdings Co., Ltd. on restructuring and financing for Seoul-Chuncheon Expressway.
  • Advised NH Investment & Securities Co., Ltd. on financing for Hahn & Company’s acquisition of Korean Air’s in-flight meal and duty-free business.
  • Advised Standard Chartered Bank (Hong Kong) Limited on financing for the construction of a high-capacity data center in Korea.

South Korea > Corporate and M&A: local firms Tier 1

Lee & Ko’s M&A group works in collaboration with other practices, such as tax and labour to deliver a full service offering to clients dealing with complex M&A transactions. It handles both domestic and cross-border mandates for a variety of industries and is experienced in handling work for major corporations and prominent private equity houses. Hyun Tae Kim is renowned for his expertise in deal structuring while Hyeong Gun Lee has extensive experience in private and public company mergers, stock purchases and asset sales. Sang Gon Kim has a focused M&A practice, specifically handling transactions in the financial and petrochemical industries, and co-heads the team with Kim and Lee. Kyungchun Kim and Ho Joon Moon represent major Korean global companies including Samsung and SK. Daehoon Koo has a niche practice in relatively rare types of transactions such as comprehensive share swaps and in-kind contributions while Sung Min Kim is an expert in fintech and start-ups.


‘The team is dedicated and experienced.’

‘Ho Joon Moon is the experienced M&A partner.’


Key clients

SK Engineering & Construction Co., Ltd.

Hahn & Company

Korea Development Bank, Asiana Airline

Skylake Investment

Hana Financial Investment Co., Ltd.

Hahn & Company Limited

LG Electronics

LG Household & Health Care

Hyosung Corporation

Key Foundry Co., Ltd.

KB Asset Management Co. Ltd.

Work highlights

  • Advising SK Engineering & Construction on its acquisition of 100% stake in EMC Holdings, with a total deal value of approximately ₩1 trillion.
  • Advised Hahn & Company, Korea’s leading private equity firm, in its signing of a business transfer agreement with Korean Air with respect to Hahn & Company’s acquisition of Korean Air’s in-flight catering and duty-free business for ₩990.6bn.
  • Represented (i) Asiana Airline in its issuance of new shares to Korean Air for a total deal value of ₩1.8 trillion and (ii) Korea Development Bank (which holds the disposal authority of Asiana Airlines, Inc. as a creditor) in its acquisition of new shares and convertible bonds of Hanjin Kal, the ultimate holding company of Korean Air.

South Korea > Dispute resolution: local firms Tier 1

Lee & Ko’s dispute resolution practice consists of former Supreme Court judges as well as industry experts who provide a full-service offering that covers all major dispute areas, including tax, competition, insolvency and finance. In particular, the group has seen growth within the pharmaceutical and healthcare area, led by Yang Suk Han who oversees all life science-related litigation cases at the firm. Practice head Won Seok Ko leverages his many years of experience as a judge to successfully advocate for clients and is supported by the wider team that includes Seong Won Chang, who handles bet-the-company cases and commercial litigator Jae Heon Park.

Practice head(s):


‘They present reasonable measures to the client by analyzing and predicting the situation. When those experiences build up and lawsuits arise, I fully trust their advice.’

‘They are neither conservative nor aggressive. They advise clients in a reasonable way. Of course their costs are reasonable.’

‘They are all great, but I recommend Jae Heon Park. He is a good dispute settlement lawyer with a career as a judge.’

Key clients

Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.

Hyundai Heavy Industries Co., Ltd.

Korea Shipbuilding & Offshore Engineering Co., Ltd.

Lotte Shopping Co., Ltd.

LG Chem Ltd.

Korean Air Lines Co., Ltd.

Kookmin Bank

Microsoft Corporation

Korea Land & Housing Corporation

SK telecom Co., Ltd.

Korea Development Bank

Samsung Fire & Marine Insurance Co., Ltd.

Changsin Inc.

KleanNara Co., Ltd.

Big Hit Entertainment Co., Ltd.

Intergraph Korea Ltd.

Mugunghwa Trust Co., Ltd.

Work highlights

  • Represented the CEO of SK Chemicals, the largest chemical company in South Korea, in a criminal case concerning a humidifier sterilizing agent.
  • Represented Gamma Nu against the Korea Exchange in a lawsuit seeking invalidation of the delisting. The first case in Korean history to conclude that a delisting decision made by the Korea Exchange based on an audit opinion was unlawful.
  • Represented Pharmicell in a lawsuit seeking revocation of the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (“MFDS”)’s decision to reject an application for a conditional license. The first case in which a rejection of a conditional license was disputed successfully.

South Korea > Insurance: local firms Tier 1

Lee & Ko’s insurance and reinsurance group is comprised of a diverse group of professionals dedicated to the insurance industry, including accountants, consultants, and former officials from the FSC, FSS, KFTC, Ministry of Economy and Finance, and the National Tax Service. The team works collaboratively with other departments, using a multidisciplinary approach to best serve client interests in regulatory, litigious and transactional matters. Its client base is wide-ranging, from domestic and foreign life and non-life insurers, to brokers and insurance industry associations. Jin Hong Kwon leads the group and handles the full spectrum of insurance-related issues. Kwon is supported by Sae Um Kim whose areas of expertise include life insurance, ‘suicide’ insurance and trade insurance.

Practice head(s):

Other key lawyers:

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.

Allied World Assurance Company Ltd.

Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty

Allianz SE, Singapore Branch

Aon Korea Inc.

Aon Singapore Pte. Ltd.


Arch MI Asia Limited

Arthur J. Gallagher & Co.

Assicurazioni Generali S.p.A. (Hong Kong)

AXA Life Insurance Co., Ltd.

Berkley Re

BNP Paribas Cardif General Insurance Co., Ltd.

BNP Paribas Cardif Life 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.

Fusion Specialty Insurance Pty Ltd

General Insurance Association of Korea

General Reinsurance Corporation

Hanjin Busan Newport Co., Ltd.

Hanwha General Insurance Co., Ltd.

Hanwha Life 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 Limited (now known as Marsh)

KB Insurance Co., Ltd.

Korea General Insurance Association

Korea Life Insurance Association

Korea Shipping Association

Korea Trade Insurance Corporation

Korean Reinsurance Company

Kyobo Life Insurance Co., Ltd.

LINA Life Insurance Company of Korea

Meritz Fire & Marine Insurance Co., Ltd.

MetLife Insurance Co., Ltd.

Mirae Asset Life Insurance Co., Ltd.

Munich Reinsurance Company, Korea Branch

Pacific Life Re

POSCO Engineering & Construction Co., Ltd.

RGA Reinsurance Company

Samsung Fire & Marine Insurance Co., Ltd.

Samsung Life Insurance Co., Ltd

Seoul Guarantee Insurance

SK Engineering & Construction Co., Ltd.

Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Insurance Inc.

Swiss Reinsurance Company Ltd.

Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance Co., Ltd.

Zurich Insurance Group

Work highlights

  • Assisted Hanwha Life with respect to its expansion into new areas of business by providing advice on its potential adoption of a new business model so-called “Lifestyle Care Platform (LCP)” from a compliance perspective.
  • Advised Chubb with respect to setting up a Korean subsidiary as a general agency in furtherance of its solicitation and marketing activities in Korea.
  • Provided Kyobo with legal interpretations and guidelines on the Act on Protection of Financial Customer expected to serve as a leading reference point within the Korean insurance market.

South Korea > Intellectual property: local firms Tier 1

Lee & Ko’s team of partners, associates and patent attorneys work together at an ‘exceptional level of efficiency’. The team advises a wide range of clients in patent and technology-related matters; in the patent space, the group represents multinational companies from various sectors including pharmaceutical, chemical and mechanical. The group is particularly strong in trademark litigation and has set precedents in the Supreme Court. Un Ho Kim leads the team and is an expert in all areas of IP, with specific knowledge in patent infringement and invalidation cases. The team is ‘nothing short of exceptional’ and includes a number of key practitioners; Young Mo Kwon focuses on patent technology and licensing; Choong Jin Oh is well known for setting legal precedents that are applied to high-technology industries such as mobile game; Keum Nang Park is a licensed pharmacist and leverages this expertise in her practice; and Hui Jin Yang is a life science expert. Jae Hoon Kim is also recommended.

Practice head(s):


‘Our experience with Lee & Ko has been nothing short of exceptional. In particular, we have been impressed with their round-the-clock responsiveness, sharp legal minds and strategic thinking.’

‘Lee & Ko’s team of partners, associates, and patent attorneys worked together as one body in a remarkably smooth, effective, and cost-saving way. This is an exceptional level of efficiency and seamless coordination. ‘

‘Lee & Ko has shown the utmost excellence among the global firms we have worked with when it comes to their efficient performance and high quality work.’

‘We highly appreciate and value the work of Jae Hoon Kim, the head partner who oversaw the entire litigation, and Hayoun Chan, the working-level partner in charge. John Kim is also a noted name. They focused on both the details and the big picture, whilst keeping in mind the commercial imperatives. Jae Hoon is a legendary figure in the Korean IP world – he makes himself available all the time and provides insightful inputs. John has the advantage of being fluent in English, which makes him an asset to the team. He is also well versed with US litigation and practice, and is able to explain Korean practice and concepts in terms that are familiar to common law lawyers.’

‘Hui Jin Yang – best patent litigator/counsel in Korea regarding pharmaceuticals, biotechnology and life sciences.’

‘Choong Jin Oh – highly experienced former judge of the Korean Patent Court and exceedingly knowledgeable of Korean patent law practice.’

Key clients

Ericsson-LG Co, Ltd.

Novartis International AG

JNC Corporation and JNC Petrochemical Corporation

Big Hit Entertainment Co., Ltd.

LG Chem Ltd.

Daewoong Pharmaceuticals Co., Ltd.

Bristol Myers Squibb

Bayer AG

Williams-Sonoma, Inc.

Actial Farmaceutica Srl

Giorgio Armani S.p.A.

YG Entertainment Inc.

LG Household & Health Care Ltd.

Coupang Corp.

Kakao Corp.

OCI, Inc.

Naver Corp.

Manda Fermentation Co., Ltd.

Samsung SDI Co., Ltd.

Hanwha Solutions Corp.

Marriott International, Inc.

PI Advanced Materials Co., Ltd.

Marriott International, Inc.

Celgene Corp.

LG Electronics Inc.

Simplot Plant Sciences

Kakao Page Corp.

KPX Chemical Co., Ltd.

Astellas Pharma Inc.

Work highlights

  • Represented Ericsson-LG Co., Ltd., a leading electronics company, in defending a patent infringement action filed by a university.
  • Represented and advised Big Hit Entertainment Co., Ltd., a Korean major entertainment company, in procuring the first-ever decision to recognize the right of entertainment companies against free-riding of artists’ fame and entertainment company’s effort and investment.
  • Assisted JNC Corporation and JNC Petrochemical Corporation, a leading chemical manufacturer, in upholding the validity of its patent that uprooted the long-standing standard for inventiveness.

South Korea > International arbitration Tier 1

Lee & Ko’s core areas of expertise include M&A disputes, general commercial disputes, sports arbitration and life sciences. It has also continued to grow its capabilities in the construction sector, with David Kim and Sanghoon Han co-chairing the international construction dispute resolution group. Its wide-ranging expertise has seen the firm become ‘one of the best arbitration practices’, according to clients and is co-led by the ‘excellent’ Robert Wachter, a leading oral advocate. Sean Sungwoo Lim jointly leads the practice and is a member of several leading arbitration associations, maintaining a prominent reputation for his work in this area. Sunyoung Kim is also recommended for her expertise in energy and construction arbitration cases.


‘Very efficient legal team with a diverse background. Truly impressed by their holistic approach, considering all details of the case but concentrating and emphasizing the key issues. ’

‘Sean Lim – strategic mastermind

‘Robert Wachter – exceptionally sharp, articulate and persuasive counsel.’

‘David Kim was and is outstanding – he tried and succeeded to fully understand the complex technical case behind the legal battle and that was the basis for a successful arbitration. He is listening, quick to come up with the right strategy but at the same time keeping in mind the odds and thus always balancing out and guiding the client in the right direction ’

‘The best Korean law local lawyers’

‘Lee & Ko has become one of the best arbitration practices at any Korean law firm since the breakup of the team at Bae Kim & Lee. It is ably led by Robert Wachter and their rise to the top is directly tied to his arrival. ’

Key clients

Republic of Korea

Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Corporation

Dr. Chang Jae Shin (Chairman of Kyobo Life Insurance)

Hyundai Rotem Co., Ltd

GS Engineering & Construction Corporation

Korea East-West Power Co., Ltd.

The Republic of Korea represented by the Defense Acquisition Program Administration

Hanwha Corporation

Hyundai Heavy Industries Co., Ltd.

Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co., Ltd

Work highlights

  • Represents the government of the ROK in the $770m ISDS dispute brought by Elliott Associates, L.P
  • Represents Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Corporation in an ICC arbitration against a Korean affiliate of a large conglomerate in a dispute involving a potential ground-breaking medical treatment.
  • Represents a Korean insurance chaebol in a $2bn dispute with other shareholders.

South Korea > Labour and employment: local firms Tier 1

Lee & Ko’s one-stop service handles the full gamut of labour and employment law issues. It has a strong and diverse client base, representing some of the largest clients in Korea, including Hyundai Motors, Ralph Lauren and Samsung Electronics in addition to clients in the entertainment and games industries which was newly created due to increased clientele. Practice leadership is split three ways between Sang Hoon Lee, Chang Soo Jin and Hyun Seok Song; Lee has ‘deep understanding of industry practice’ with over 25 years of experience; Jin has a strong litigation practice, handling management-union disputes, collective bargaining, wrongful terminations, among others; Song has extensive experience in advising on labour union negotiations and disputes. Other key practitioners include Jae Hoon Choi and William Kim. Yong Moon Kim left the firm in April 2021 to join Dentons Lee.

Other key lawyers:


‘A team of experts provides detailed and professional opinions on labor and employment issues, and eliminates the risk of violating the law by notifying important laws in advance.’

‘The lawyer understands the customer’s questions and provides sufficient feedback in a short time.’

‘William Kim is very strong. I havent dealt directly with others in the team but feel like I am in safe hands with William. William collaborates well with international counsel. Much more commercial than other Korean counsel.’

‘The labor team is well aware of the company’s needs and impresses with its creative legal services. In addition,The team also provides legal services through rational judgment and active work. The lawyers are very friendly and client-oriented.’

‘Most law firms’ legal services focus on interpretation based on literature, but Lee&ko’s legal services go beyond interpretation of literature and strive to develop new legal principles. In particular, lawyers Hyun-seok Song and Ki-hyun Kim provide very impressive legal services. I think of it as a service that I can feel like a family rather than a client.’

‘Strong technical skills and excellent market and industry experience’

‘Sang Hoon Lee – responsive and has deep understanding of industry practice. William Kim – responsive and clear’

Key clients

KraussMaffei Group

Samsung Electronics

Citibank Korea

LG Display


Envirotainer AB

Epiroc AB

eBay Korea

Edelman Korea

Matheson Gas Product Korea (MGPK)

Colliers International

Hyundai Motors


Marine Stewardship Council

Ralph Lauren

Cargill Corporation

Work highlights

  • Advised Samsung Electronics in a large legal case in Korea where Samsung Electronics’ 32 top-level executives (including the CEO) were accused and indicted for alleged orchestrated efforts to suppress unionization and engage in other forms of unfair labour practice.
  • Represented Hyundai Motors in a wrongful termination before the Korean Supreme Court in a case involving wrongful termination of an employee for poor performance.
  • Assisted Eprioc AB (Korea office) to conduct three simultaneous internal investigations into alleged acts of misconduct by various members including the representative director.

South Korea > Projects and energy: local firms Tier 1

The team at Lee & Ko regularly acts on major domestic and foreign energy and infrastructure projects involving a Korean sponsor or lender, and has experience advising on offshore wind farms, solar farms, project financing and PPP projects. Practice leadership is split three ways between Dong Eun Kim , Tom Shin and Hun Ko. Kim represents major project stakeholders and is an expert in all inbound and outbound transactions relating to energy and real estate development; Shin is knowledgeable about renewable energy finance; Ko focuses on project finance, with a particular emphasis on PPI projects such as railways and power plants. Hyunsu Kim  is also recommended for banks and financial investors.

Practice head(s):

Other key lawyers:

Key clients

Seoul Beltway Co., Ltd

Daesung Group Partners Co., Ltd.

Korea National Oil Corporation

Daelim Industrial Co., ltd

Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power

Hyundai Rotem

Bloom Energy

Dealim Energy

Samsung Life Insurance



IGIS Asset Management Co., Ltd

Meritz Securities Co., Ltd

NH-Amundi Asset Management

NH Investment Securities

Mirae Asset Global Investments Co., Ltd

Mirae Asset Daewoo

KB Securities Co., Ltd.

Industrial Bank of Korea

Korea Development Bank

KDB Infrastructure Asset Management Co., Ltd

Shinhan Bank

Shinhan Asset Management (previously “Shinhan BNP Paribas”)

Hanwha Asset Management Co., Ltd

Samchully Asset Management Company

Macquarie Capital Korea Limited

Kookmin Bank

Samsung Securities

Hyundai Energy Private Equity Co., Ltd

Stonebridge Capital

FG Partners

Hangang Asset Management Co., Ltd.

EQ Partners

Hana Financial Investment

Samsung Asset Management Co., Ltd

KB Asset Management Company


Equis Pte.

Stonepeak Infrastructure Partners

Eugene Private Equity

PineStreet Asset Management Co., Ltd

Work highlights

  • Advised NH Investment Securities Co., Ltd., (NHIS) on the purchase of 49% financial interest in ADNOC pipelines for $10.1bn.
  • Advised Total Group (Total Offshore Wind Korea SAS) on an acquisition in connection with 2.3GW floating offshore wind farm project in the amount of $160m.
  • Assisting HDC Holdings Co., Ltd. on the restructuring of Seoul-Chuncheon Expressway to reduce toll fees.

South Korea > Real estate: local firms Tier 1

The real estate team at Lee & Ko is split into five specialised sub-practice areas that handle the full range of real estate matters, including both domestic and overseas investments and developments, redevelopments, real estate trust work and litigation. Junghwan Lee is one of the three co-heads and has seen his practice expand into various worldwide markets, helping Korean investors tap into overseas opportunities. Practicing in both the private and public sector, co-head Jin Wook Yang focuses on real estate developments while Dong Seok Woo  has extensive experience in real estate financing, acting for banks, pension funds and Korean conglomerates. Jee In Kim is also recommended for her expertise in collective investment vehicles. For construction work, Chan Ik Chang has experience advising major engineering and construction companies.

Other key lawyers:

Key clients

IGIS Asset Management Co., Ltd.

LB Asset Management Inc.

Tiger Alternative Investors Co., Ltd.

Samsung SRA Asset Management Co., Ltd.

Vestas Investment Management Co., Ltd.

AIP Asset Co., Ltd.

Mirae Asset Daewoo Co., Ltd.

GAW Capital Partners

Ascendas Asset Management Co., Ltd.

D&D Investment Co., Ltd.

ALPHA Asset Management M.F.M.C

Shinhan REITs Management Co., Ltd.

DWS Asset Management (Korea) Co. Ltd.

Shinhan Alternative Investment Management, Inc.

Hana Alternative Management Co., Ltd.

Mastern Investment Management Co., Ltd.

Paradise Co., Ltd.

ELand Retail Ltd.

KTB Asset Management Co., Ltd.

BNK Asset Management Co., Ltd.

Korea Investment Management Co., Ltd.

Kyungbang Co., Ltd.

Daishin Asset Management Co., Ltd.

Hyundai Investments Co., Ltd.

Work highlights

  • Advised Korea Water Resources Corporation in relation to its bidding in Busan Eco-Delta Smart City construction project.
  • Advised a commissioned real estate investment trust on its acquisition of Grand Josun Jeju, a luxury hotel in Jeju Island, Korea.
  • Advised the acquisition of three logistics centres to be constructed in Virginia, Missouri and Minnesota, United States and to be leased by Amazon.com, Inc.

South Korea > Regulatory: compliance and investigations: local firms Tier 1

Providing integrated regulatory legal services for various sectors, the team at Lee & Ko handles issues faced by the automotive, banking and finance, pharmaceutical and TMT industries, among others. The group is particularly strong in the pharmaceutical and healthcare space, representing several major players, in particular handling the most representative product liability case in South Korea for SK Chemicals. The team is able to conduct thorough internal investigations as well as counselling clients on both Korean and foreign laws for regulatory issues by utilising its experts in foreign jurisdictions; practice co-head Kyunghoon Lee is the key contact for cross-border matters. Chang Hee Suh jointly leads the team that includes Tae Yop Lee who leverages his years of experience as a prosecutor to advise clients on criminal liability, customs and trade-related breaches.

Other key lawyers:

Key clients

SK Chemicals Co., Ltd. (“SK Chemicals”)

Mirae Asset Daewoo Co., Ltd., Mirae Asset Life Insurance Co., Ltd., Mirae Asset Consulting Co., Ltd., Mirae Asset Capital Co., Ltd., Mirae Asset Venture Investment Co., Ltd., Mirae Asset Fund Services Co., Ltd., Brand Moove Co., Ltd., Mirae Asset Financial Services Co., Ltd., Multi Asset Global Investments Co., Ltd., Real Estate 114 Co., Ltd., Mirae B. I. Co., Ltd., Chairman Hyun-Joo Park

Hanwha Life Insurance Co., Ltd. (“Hanwha Life”)

JUUL Korea, JUUL Singapore

Kia Motors

Gangwon Technopark


Work highlights

  • Represented SK Chemicals against the KFTC in a case seeking cancellation of a corrective order and the imposition of a fine, and managed to defend successfully.
  • Represented Mirae Asset Financial Group in the KFTC’s investigation of an alleged unfair transaction intended to provide an unfair advantage to a related person.
  • Advised KakaoBank, Korea’s no.1 internet-only bank, on compliance issues related to KakaoBank’s account opening services via KakaoTalk, under the Electronic Financial Transactions Act and the Electronic Financial Supervisory Regulation.

South Korea > Shipping: local firms Tier 1

Lee & Ko has a comprehensive full-service shipping practice that handles aviation, shipbuilding and logistics. The team advises shipping companies, financial institutions and investors on the acquisition and financing of new and second-hand ships as well as container boxes, amongst other things; Yun Jeong Seo heads up the ship finance team. It has also been actively advising Korea Overseas Corporation (KOBC) and lenders on KOBC guaranteed-back financing. Head of shipping and logistics Jin-Young Jung specialises in marine insurance and international commercial disputes and is supported by Yang Ho Hoon, whose practice focuses on trade disputes and handles cases involving chemical cargo contamination. Aviation expert Young-Joo Cho joined the team in July 2020 and has strengthened the team’s offering in this area.

Practice head(s):


‘Knowledgeable. Very helpful consideration of Korean law issues.’

‘They not only pay attention to details on the contract itself but also try very hard to understand the client’s status in each case.’

‘I usually consult with Jin Young Jung. He is very calm and kindly explains the changes to the contract. Most of our agreement is more than 100 pages and is constantly chased by time. However, Mr. Jung always manages the time and handed us the thorough contract.’

‘They are very strong in all fields in particular maritime and trade. They have excellent knowledge of the law and are able to apply that commercially also which is appreciated. Also great attention to detail and some very pre-eminent clients in Korea.’

‘Jin Young Jung is very highly regarded and very experienced. We also enjoy working with Sang Hyup Lee who is likewise excellent.’

‘Lee & Ko impressed me a lot for their efficiency and accurate advice on the shipping practicing area. ’

‘Their shipping team is good at dealing with urgent procedural applications including ship arrests etc and they are very experienced and reliance shipping counsels in South Korea. ’

Key clients

HYDOR AS, a Norwegian P&I club

Japan P & I Club

HMM Corporation Limited (formerly known as Hyundai Merchant Marine Co, Ltd.)

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

Busan Port Terminal Co., Ltd

Taeyoung Shipping Co., Ltd.

Heung-A Shipping Co., Ltd

DSEC Co. ,Ltd.

Meritz Fire & Marine Insurance Co., Ltd.

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

Samsung SDS Co., Ltd.

Pantos Logistics Co., Ltd.

CJ Korex Co., Ltd.

Hyundai Glovis Co., Ltd.

H-Line Ship Co., Ltd.

Hyundai Heavy Industries Co., Ltd

Korean Air Lines Co., Ltd.

China Eastern Airline

Turkish Airlines


E1 Corporation

Korea Middle Power Corporation

Hyundai Oil Bank Co.,Ltd

SK E&S Co., Ltd.

SK Networks Co., Ltd.


Work highlights

  • Advised a consortium of five Korean shipping companies in relation to an international bidding hosted by Qatar Petroleum for purpose of awarding time charter party contract for hundreds of LNG Carriers, advised the Client on the deal structure including financing, reviewed and commented on the templates of time charter-party, shipbuilding contract and other ancillary agreements and established SPVs in convenience flag countries, etc.
  • Represented Heung-A Shipping Co. , Ltd. in a KCAB arbitration initiated by a Norwegian ship-owner in relation to a dispute arising out of bareboat charter-parties.
  • Advised the Standard Chartered Bank (Hong Kong) Limited on its finance acquisition costs of eight 15,986 TEU containerships for Hyundai Merchant Marine in the respective ownership of eight Liberian SPVs established by HMM.

South Korea > Tax: local firms Tier 1

Providing both tax advisory and litigation services, the team at Lee & Ko is known for its expertise in corporate tax consulting, audits and appeals. It also has a strong cross-border practice, providing outbound tax planning advice for Korean investors and companies investing into overseas markets; Jay Shim leads the international tax planning practice and is an expert in cross-border transactions and off-shore fund formation. The group is strong in litigation, reflected by practice head Ok Hyun Ma’s years of experience as a judge prior to joining the firm in addition to Byeong Jun Son’s expertise in domestic tax litigation and Sung Hyun Ru’s career at the National Tax Service.

Practice head(s):


‘During the engagement, team did proactive communications of the pleading schedule and relevant documentations for pleading, so that we could have a sense of stability and well understood how the company gives support on the findings. They are fantastic! ’

‘All members show sincerity and integrity, so we can have full trust in them and can be confident on what we are doing. Highly talented and logical members are the best value we’ve found.’

‘Members are so meticulous that they precisely point out the core and critical matters, which makes us keep concentration on them and respond one by one without any missing. They are so good. Highly appreciate all their services.’

‘Tax lawyer provide advistory service with a very competant team.’

‘The capability (knowledge and experience) of each individual in Lee&Ko I worked with, whether the individual is lawyer or CPA, is excellent.’

‘Whenever our company encounter tax or tax legal issues, Lee&Ko provide very thorough and practical advisory service based on their experiences and knowledge. Each individual in Lee&Ko I worked with is very sincere in providing advisory service.’

Key clients

PAG Real Estate Fund

HPEF Capital Partners


Business Sweden

Fortress Investments

Tela Inc.

Intergraph Korea

Mastercard Incorporated

Changshin Group

Intellectual Ventures

Shinhan Asset Management, Mirae Asset Daewoo, Mirae Asset Life Insurance, and KDB Infrastructure Asset Management

Hotel Lotte Co., Ltd (“Hotel Lotte”), Eugene Asset Management, and Samsung Securities

Work highlights

  • Represented Intergraph Korea against the NTS’ assessment of withholding tax based on its view that the payment for software imported from its foreign parent company constitutes royalties for know-how and technologies embedded in the software.
  • Represented Mastercard and secured victories on appeal at the Seoul Administrative Court and Seoul High Court, overturning all of the previous decisions made against Mastercard, and is now litigating at the level of the Supreme Court.
  • Represented and advised PAG, one of Asia’s leading investment firms, on a number of transactions in 2020, the most significant of which related to one of the largest and most high-profile real estate transactions in Korea in 2020.

South Korea > Antitrust and competition: local firms Tier 2

Lee & Ko represents a diverse range of domestic and foreign clients across multiple industry sectors, including semi-conductor and high tech, automotive parts, construction, healthcare and shipping. The team advises on the full gamut of antitrust and competition law issues, with recent growth in its investigations practice concerning unfair trade and abuse of superior trading positions. Hwan Jeong has over 20 years of experience in competition law matters and leads the team that includes managing partner Yong Seok Ahn, who represents multinational clients; Suruyun Kim, an expert in complicated merger review cases; and associate Jung Won Kwon who provides strong support to the team. Antitrust litigation is another strength of the practice, with Pyoung Keun Song leading in this area. The arrival of Hyun Young Ju from the Supreme Court of Korea and former presiding judge at Daejeon High Court, In Seok Lee further strengthens the group’s antitrust and competition offering.

Practice head(s):


‘They have a lot of case experience in the Antitrust field.’

‘They always work hard and have good client relationships.’

Key clients

Mirae Asset Group

LG Electronics (“LGE”)

Mitsubishi Electric Co., Ltd. (“Mitsubishi Electric”)

SK Telecom Co., Ltd. (“SKT”)

Korea Development Bank (“KDB”)

CJ Logistics Co., Ltd. (“CJ Logistics”)

SK Energy Co. Ltd. (“SK Energy”)

Celltrion Co., Ltd. (“Celltrion”)

DL E&C Co., Ltd. (“DL E&C”), Daewoo ENC Co., Ltd. (“Daewoo ENC”), and SK E&C Co., Ltd. (“SK E&C”)

Hyundai Heavy Industries Co., Ltd. (“HHI”) and its affiliate, Hyundai Construction Equipment Co., Ltd. (“HCE”)

Work highlights

  • Defended Mirae Asset Financial Group in criminal charges alleging that it had tried to bring unfair profits to Hyun-Joo Park, the group’s chairman.
  • Defended LG Electronics  (LGE) in an injunction application alleging that the advertising claims made by LGE relating to its cordless vacuum cleaner were misleading and in violation of Korea’s advertising laws.
  • Represented Mitsubishi Electric in a KFTC investigation alleging price-fixing and bid-rigging of private tender processes for the ignition coils in Japan.

South Korea > Capital markets: local firms Tier 2

Lee & Ko has a strong reputation in debt capital markets work which is reflected in its representation of both the Korean government, as issuer, and lead underwriters in foreign exchange equalisation bond deals for a number of years. The firm is also heavily involved in the issue of ESG bonds, such as green and social bonds. In the equity capital markets area, the team excels in REIT related work as well as handling several major IPOs for key clients such as SK IE Technology Co. Wonkyu Han leads the team which consists of Hyunjoo Oh, a leading securities expert including derivatives, foreign exchange regulations and capital market disputes; Won Sik Choo who advises on equity issuances and listings and de-listings.

Practice head(s):

Other key lawyers:

Key clients

Central American Bank for Economic Integration

Deutsche Borse AG

ICBC Standard Bank Plc


BlackRock, Inc.

Agricultural Bank of China

National Pension Service

Export-Import Bank of Korea

Korea Development Bank

Korea Post

ING Bank

Standard Chartered Bank

BNP Paribas

Deutsche Bank

Citigroup Global Markets Inc.

The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited

J.P. Morgan Securities LLC

Korea Investment Corporation

Societe Generale

Korea Investment & Securities Co., Ltd.

Samsung Securities Co., Ltd.

Mirae Asset Daewoo Co., Ltd.

Meritz Securities Co., Ltd.

Hana Bank

Shinhan Bank

NH Investment & Securities

Work highlights

  • Advised the Republic of Korea in connection with the issue of €700m Zero Coupon Notes due 2025 (the first issuance of Euro bonds by a non-European country at a negative interest rate) and $625m 1.000% Notes due 2030 offered pursuant to the registration statement under Schedule B (No. 333-231096) amidst the continuing global economic uncertainty caused by the spread of COVID-19.
  • Advised SK IE Technology, a manufacturer of battery separators, in relation to its initial public offering (IPO) and its listing on Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) raising 2.2 trillion Korean won reportedly Korea’s biggest listing in four years.
  • Advised D&D Platform REITS managed by D&D Investment Co., Ltd., a subsidiary of SK D&D Co., Ltd., in connection with its raising of pre-IPO investment amounting to ₩137bn.

South Korea > TMT: local firms Tier 2

The leading TMT practice at Lee & Ko is retained in an advisory capacity to several government bodies, including the Ministry of Science and ICT, the Korea Communications Commission and the KFTC. Not only is the team well-equipped at advising clients on legal issues, but it is also actively involved in the establishment of legislation and regulatory guidelines in industries such as data economy, AI and big data. Soon-Yub Samuel Kwon, Kwang Bae Park and Jongsoo (Jay) Yoon  jointly lead the team; Kwon has a wide-ranging practice while Park plays an integral role in data privacy, fintech and cybersecurity issues. The team has a strong litigious arm, successfully representing clients in lawsuits involving interconnection fees, data breaches and liability stemming from the operation of cryptocurrency exchanges; Yoon specialises in civil litigation and criminal defence. Hyun Jun Kim is also recommended.


‘Tae Joo Kim, as the leading partner of the team, has provided service with great expertise in the TMT sector, and delivered advice with quality.’

Strong collaboration and high level of professionalism.’

Key clients


Hyundai Motor Company and Kia Motors Corporation

eBay Korea Co., Ltd.


LG Electronics

LG Chemical

SK Telecom


Audi Volkswagen Korea

Google LLC

Shinhan Financial Group

Korea Credit Bureau

Work highlights

  • Advising on a comprehensive project to assess legal feasibility and compliance of data sharing platform for leading auto manufacturers in Korea.
  • Advising on a compliance project for Coupang’s e-commerce platform and new OTT service.
  • Advising on the licensing of Woori Bank’s MyData business.
  • Premier full-service law firm in Korea
  • Founded in 1977, and comprising more than 780 professionals, organized into 8 practice groups with 40 specialty teams
  • One-stop service for all legal needs, based on efficient collaboration among highly specialized team
  • Emphasis on responsiveness and practical solutions
  • 8 major practice groups: (i) corporate and M&A, (ii) banking, finance and securities, (iii) litigation (both civil and criminal) and international arbitration (iv) tax and customs, (v) antitrust and competition, (vi) labour and employment, (vii) intellectual property and (viii) white-collar crime
  • 40 specialised teams: Within the firm’s eight major practice groups there are approximately 40 highly specialised teams of legal professionals including the following: anti-corruption and FCPA; antitrust and competition; aviation; banking; bankruptcy, insolvency and corporate restructuring; capital markets and securities; class actions and consumer claims; construction; consumer goods and 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 and manufacturing; infrastructure; insurance; intellectual property; internal investigations; international practice (Chinese, European, Japanese practice); international trade; investment funds; labour and employment; maritime and shipping; overseas investment; private equity and venture capital; privatisation; product liability; real estate; regulatory compliance; tax and customs (tax consulting, audits, dispute resolution, transfer pricing); technology, media and telecommunications; and white-collar crime.

Recognition and Awards

  • “Intellectual Property Firm of the Year” – Asialaw (2021)
  • “Impact Deal/Case of the Year” – Asialaw (2021)
  • “Asialaw Client Service Excellence 2021” – Asialaw (2021)
  • “Firm of the Year – South Korea” – Euromoney (2021)
  • “Intellectual Property Firm of the Year Award” – The Asian Lawyer (2021)
  • “Employer of Choice in Korea Market” – Thomson Reuters (2021)
  • “Jurisdiction Awards: South Korea” – Euromoney (2020)
  • “Tax Firm of the Year” – Euromoney (2020)
  • “Matters of the Year – Impact Cases of the Year” – Euromoney (2020)
  • “Securities Deal of the Year: Debt” – The Asian Lawyer (2020)
  • “Banking and Financial Services Law Firm of the Year” – Thomson Reuters (2020)
  • “Insurance Law Firm of the Year” – Thomson Reuters (2020)
  • “Labour and Employment Law Firm of the Year” – Thomson Reuters (2020)
  • “Litigation Law Firm of the Year” – Thomson Reuters (2020)
  • “Debt Market Deal of the Year” – Thomson Reuters (2020)
  • “Asialaw Client Service Excellence 2020” – Asialaw (2020)
  • “Impact Deal of the Year” – Asialaw (2020)
  • “Aviation and Shipping Firm of the Year” – Asialaw (2020)
  • “Patent Contentious Firm of the Year” – MIP (2020)
  • “Copyright Firm of the Year” – MIP (2020)
  • “Elite Law Firm” – Global Competition Review (2020)
  • “Best Firm in South Korea” – Euromoney (2019)
  • “Korea Deal Firm of the Year” – Thomson Reuters (2019)
  • “Labour and Employment Law Firm of the Year” – Thomson Reuters (2019)
  • “Projects, Energy and Infrastructure Law Firm of the Year” – Thomson Reuters (2019)
  • “Regulatory and Compliance Law Firm of the Year” – Thomson Reuters (2019)
  • “TMT Deal of the Year” – Thomson Reuters (2019)
  • “M&A Deal of the Year” – Thomson Reuters (2019)
  • “Korea TMT Firm of the Year” – The Asian Lawyer (2019)
  • “Dispute Resolution Firm of the Year” – Asialaw (2019)
  • “Korea Patent Firm of the Year” – Asia IP Awards (2019)
  • “Korea Trademark Contentious Firm of the Year Award 2019” – MIP (2019)
  • “Korea Finance Firm of the Year” – The Asian Lawyer (2018)
  • Tier 1 in all or a majority of practice areas by Asia Pacific Legal 500, IFLR 1000, Asialaw Profiles and Chambers Asia
Antitrust and Competition Jae Hoon Kimjaehoon.kim@leeko.com
Antitrust and Competition Hwan Jeonghwan.jeong@leeko.com
Banking and Finance Jae Hoon Kimjaehoon.kim@leeko.com
Banking and Finance Woo Young Jungwooyoung.jung@leeko.com
Capital Markets Jae Hoon Kimjaehoon.kim@leeko.com
Capital Markets Wonkyu Hanwonkyu.han@leeko.com
Corporate and M&A Jae Hoon Kimjaehoon.kim@leeko.com
Corporate and M&A Hyun Tae Kimhyuntae.kim@leeko.com
Corporate and M&A Sang Gon Kimsanggon.kim@leeko.com
Corporate and M&A Hyeong Gun Leehyeonggun.lee@leeko.com
Dispute Resolution Jae Hoon Kimjaehoon.kim@leeko.com
Dispute Resolution Won Seok Kowonseok.ko@leeko.com
Insurance Jae Hoon Kimjaehoon.kim@leeko.com
Insurance Jin Hong Kwonjinhong.kwon@leeko.com
Intellectual Property Jae Hoon Kimjaehoon.kim@leeko.com
Intellectual Property Un Ho Kimunho.kim@leeko.com
International Arbitration Jae Hoon Kimjaehoon.kim@leeko.com
International Arbitration Sean (Sungwoo) Limsean.lim@leeko.com
International Arbitration Robert Wachterrobert.wachter@leeko.com
Labour and Employment Jae Hoon Kimjaehoon.kim@leeko.com
Labour and Employment Sang-Hoon Leesanghoon.lee@leeko.com
Labour and Employment Chang-Soo Jinchangsoo.jin@leeko.com
Projects and Energy Jae Hoon Kimjaehoon.kim@leeko.com
Projects and Energy Dong Eun Kimdongeun.kim@leeko.com
Projects and Energy Tom Shintom.shin@leeko.com
Projects and Energy Hun Kohun.ko@leeko.com
Real Estate Jae Hoon Kimjaehoon.kim@leeko.com
Real Estate Junghwan Leejunghwan.lee@leeko.com
Real Estate Jin Wook Yangjinwook.yang@leeko.com
Real Estate Dong Seok Woodongseok.woo@leeko.com
Regulatory: Compliance and Investigations Jae Hoon Kimjaehoon.kim@leeko.com
Regulatory: Compliance and Investigations Kyunghoon Leekyunghoon.lee@leeko.com
Regulatory: Compliance and Investigations Chang Hee Suhchanghee.suh@leeko.com
Shipping Jae Hoon Kimjaehoon.kim@leeko.com
Shipping Jin-Young Jungjinyoung.jung@leeko.com
Shipping Yun Jeong Seoyunjeong.seo@leeko.com
Tax Jae Hoon Kimjaehoon.kim@leeko.com
Tax Jay Shimjay.shim@leeko.com
TMT Jae Hoon Kimjaehoon.kim@leeko.com
TMT Soon Yub (Samuel) Kwonsamuel.kwon@leeko.com
TMT Kwang Bae Parkkwangbae.park@leeko.com
TMT Jongsoo (Jay) Yoonjay.yoon@leeko.com
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Kaehyung Yang photoMr Kaehyung YangSenior Foreign Attorney
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Kyeong-seop Yoon photoMr Kyeong-seop YoonPartner
Yeo Kyoon Yoon photoMr Yeo Kyoon YoonPartner
Yang Ho Yoon photoMr Yang Ho YoonPartner
Meeyoung Yoon photoMs Meeyoung YoonPartner
Yongjoon Yoon photoMr Yongjoon YoonPartner.
Jongsoo (Jay) Yoon photoMr Jongsoo (Jay) YoonPartner
Sung Hui Yoon photoMr Sung Hui YoonPartner
Yang Ho Yoon photo Yang Ho YoonPartner
Dong Hyun Yoon photoMr Dong Hyun YoonPartner
Jae Man Yu photoMr Jae Man YuPartner
Yeonsoo Yun photoMr Yeonsoo YunPartner
Taek Su Yun photoMr Taek Su YunPartner
Number of fee-earners : 780+

#1 Top Tier Law Firm in ALB M&A Rankings 2022

ALB selected Lee & Ko as a top tier(Tier 1) law firm in ‘ALB M&A Rankings 2022’.

Lee & Ko Selected as “Asia IP Firm of the Year”

On 05.06.2021 Legal Times reports, “The Asian Lawyer, a sister online media outlet of the American Lawyer, has selected Lee & Ko as Intellectual Property Firm of the Year in all of Asia, based on 2021 Asia Legal Awards, an online survey conducted on May 5.

Lee & Ko awarded the Litigation and Arbitration Award and the Advisory Award at the ‘4th Korea Legal Awards’

Lee & Ko received the Litigation and Arbitration Award (Nullification of Korea Exchange’s Delisting) and the Advisory Award (Advising Korean Air’s acquisition of Asiana Air) at the ‘4th Korea Legal Awards 2021’.

‘Chambers Asia-Pacific 2022’ ranks Lee & Ko in the top band in 11 practice areas

Lee & Ko received Band 1 rankings by 'Chambers Asia-Pacific 2022’ in 12 practice areas.

Lee & Ko Ranks First in Legal Advisory Service, M&A Legal Advisory Ranking for the First Half of 2021

On July 1, 2021, Lee & Ko was ranked No. 1 in the M&A legal advisory ranking for the first half of 2021 as hosted by Invest Chosun.

Lee & Ko Ranked in 15 Practice areas in The Legal 500’s 2022 Asia Pacific guide.

On 12th January 2022, leading Korean law firm Lee & Ko was recognised in 15 practice areas by The Legal 500, ranking tier one in 12 areas.

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.