South Korea opens doors to US law firms

December 1, 2011 South Korea has opened its doors to foreign law firms, with British firms permitted to open there since July, and a free trade agreement concluded last week that also allows US firms to launch in the country.

The first firm to take advantage of the free trade agreement is Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, which has announced plans to open a Seoul office. And other firms are set to follow. Paul Hastings is considering relocating some lawyers from Hong Kong to Seoul, while Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, McDermott Will & Emery, and Ropes & Gray also are expected to open offices in South Korea.

Cleary partner Yong Lee says the firm expects to open its office in Seoul in early 2012. The office will initially be staffed by Lee and lawyer Jay Hoon Choi, with plans to expand to around a dozen lawuers over the next two years.

comments powered by Disqus