K&L Gates’ Foreign Legal Consultant Office in Seoul, the capital of the Republic of Korea, was established in November 2012 as the firm’s seventh office in Asia. The firm was one of the first foreign law firms to obtain a license to establish an office in Korea upon opening of that country’s long-closed legal market.
Korea’s export-fueled growth of the past decades, coupled with limited domestic expansion opportunities in many leading industry sectors, has brought about an outward-looking orientation of leading Korean industrial and financial institutions – whether in the form of movement of goods and services, capital markets transactions, or investments. Our lawyers in Seoul have positioned themselves to advise and assist these Korea-based businesses in outbound transactions and cross-border matters. Our Seoul office, in close cooperation with the firm’s lawyers in its offices throughout the world, advises our clients with respect to overseas direct investments and M&A transactions, project developments, financing transactions, financial services regulation, and IP counseling and dispute resolution, as well as international arbitration cases. Owing to the Korean government-mandated practice restrictions that apply to all foreign firms, the firm’s Seoul office (like all other foreign law firms’ Seoul offices) currently cannot practice Korean law. Until such time as a full-fledged market opening regime is implemented in Korea, the firm’s Seoul office will continue to assist the Korean domestic legal needs of the firm’s Korea-bound clients pursuant to informal referral-and-supervision arrangements with an array of Korean law firms.