Ropes & Gray announced today that on July 20 the Korean Bar Association approved and registered Ropes & Gray as the first Foreign Legal Consultant Office in Korean history. At the same time, Ropes & Gray’s Seoul office officially opened its doors.
“This is a historic day for Ropes & Gray,” said the firm’s chairman, Brad Malt. “We are honored to be the first international law firm in Korea, and we look forward to fulfilling our long-term goal of providing the highest level of service to our Korean clients.”
The Korean Bar Association’s approval on July 20 marks the final step in the registration process for the firm since it was announced that U.S. firms would be permitted to open offices in Korea following passage of the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement. Korea’s Ministry of Justice approved the firm’s application on July 16.
Ropes & Gray’s Seoul office will be led by partner William Yongkyun Kim, who on June 18 became the first Foreign Legal Consultant approved by the Korean Bar Association.
“This is another important milestone for Ropes & Gray’s relationship with Korea,” said Mr. Kim. “For many years it has been our objective to open an office in Seoul so that we can better serve our clients in Korea and establish deeper ties with businesses across the region through an on-the-ground presence. We worked closely with the Korean Bar Association and the Ministry of Justice in order to fulfill that goal as quickly as possible and are grateful for their support.”
Mr. Kim is joined in Korea by Ropes & Gray intellectual property partner David Chun. Mr. Chun received preliminary approval of his application to be a Foreign Legal Consultant from the Ministry of Justice on July 16. Mr. Kim and Mr. Chun have worked with Korean clients for many years and the firm has established more than two decades of service to Korean clients such as LG, Hitachi-LG Data Storage (HLDS), Samsung, Daewoo, Hyundai Motors and NCsoft.
Ropes & Gray is an international law firm with offices in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Tokyo, London, New York, Washington, D.C., Boston, Chicago, San Francisco and Silicon Valley. The firm has been recognized for its leading practices in many areas, including private equity, M&A, life sciences, health care, investment funds, tax, intellectual property, litigation and white collar criminal defense.
In Seoul, Ropes & Gray will focus on practices of particular importance to Korean companies: intellectual property, complex business litigation and arbitration, U.S. government regulatory issues and corporate transactions. The firm will only practice U.S. law, as dictated by Korea’s regulations governing international law firms.
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