Korean legal services market set to open to foreign lawyers
The Korean-EU Free Trade Agreement has opened the way for European law firms the enter the Korean market from July. The agreement will see the Korean legal market opening its legal service market in a number of phases over the next five years.
The first stage, beginning 1 July 2011, will allow foreign law firms to advice on foreign law; the second stage, beginning July 2013, will allow foreign law firms to form partnerships with domestic law firms. The third and final stage, from July 2016, will permit foreign firms to merge with Korean firms, and will allow foreign law firms to handle domestic legal cases.
Clifford Chance, Allen & Overy, DLA Piper, Linklaters and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer are all set to open offices in Seoul when the new regulations come into effect.
There is some concern, ahead of the changes, about increased competition in the domestic legal market, and the loss of legal talent to international firms.
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