South Korea

Reviews

IFLR1000 Reviews

Jipyong

Jipyong (formerly know as Jipyong Jisung) is best known for its finance practice and within that acquisition finance. The firm has overseas offices in China, Indonesia, Vietnam and across the Mekong region, most recently opening in Myanmar.

In energy and infrastructure the firm’s work is split between its project finance and resources, energy and environment teams, with the latter acting on project development and regulatory work. One of reference points for energy work is Cheoul Jeong who focuses primarily on M&A.

Highlighting its ability on overseas transactions, specifically in Souhteast Asia the firm acted in 2013 on a shareholders agreement related to a combined cyle gas power plant in Myanmar.

In M&A the team acted for a Korean coal miner on the sale by its Indonesian subsidiary of its share in an affiliate in Borneo to an Indian company.

Kim & Chang

Kim & Chang is one of Korea’s largest firms and has a strong reputation in a wide variety of practice areas. Within energy and infrastructure the firm’s strongest reputation is in the project finance area where it has acted on a variety of energy projects. 

The firm’s main contacts include project finance partner Young Kyun Cho; corporate finance partner Ick Ryol Huh and M&A lawyer Chang-hee Shin. All three have a focus on power with Huh and Shin also picking up work in the oil sector while Cho and Huh also act on transport matters.

A client who worked with the team says: “Kim & Chang has a well-structured network in the field of energy and infrastructure. It’s helpful when developing businesses and completing permission processes.”

In terms of transactional highlights, the firm has a clear focus on energy work. In the corporate space the firm has acted for Macquarie Korea Opportunities Management on two notable acquisitions, one of a 61.5MW wind farm and the other of a 19MW heat recovery steam generation facility.

Project finance highlights included work for Korea Development Bank on the provision of a two tranche financings, totaling W251.6 billion ($241 million), for the Gyeonggi Green Energy Pure Cell Power Project. On the borrower side the team acted for Hanam ES in regard to W616.4 billion funding for a combined heat and power project.

The firm has also picked up disputes mandates including advice to the Daelim Group in relation to arbitration relating to the establishment of a high-density polyethylene plant in India. The team also represented Westinghouse Electric as it sought compensation relating to delays surrounding the supply of a control system for a nuclear power plant.

In the infrastructure space the firm also secured a role advising Shinhan Bank as lender in the financing related to the Seoul Metro Line No. 9 project in the Korean capital.

Finally in terms of project development the team acted for Korea East-West Power in regard to its involvement in the Kalsei-1 power project in Indonesia, this included contract work, the establishment of the project company and the financing. The firm took on similar work for Hyundai Engineering & Construction in regard to its development of a hydroelectric power plant, also in Indonesia.

Shin & Kim

Shin & Kim is one of the market leaders for capital markets, M&A and cormpetition work and within energy and infrastructure it tends to act on acquistions, disposals and project finance. It also has a speciality in the related area of asset finance, acting for example on financings related to freighter and other industrial use shippping. Oil and gas is a sector focus.

M&A partner Michael Chang, projects focused Hyun Ju Helen Pak and regulatory lawyer Young-Ju Kim are the main reference points at Shin & Kim. Chang focuses his practice on mining, power and transport, while Kim and Pak deal mainly with power mandates.

“Helen Pak is an indispensable lawyer,” one client says. “In particular, her expertise in various industries, excellent negotiation skills, experience with private equity sponsors and sharp business acumen.”

The firm has been active in the past 12 months on a variety of overseas projects in the natural resources and power sectors. One of the firm’s largest mandates saw the team act for KOGAS, Lotte Petrochemical and STX as Korean sponsors on the $2.54 billion development of a petrochemical facility in Uzbekistan. The firm also provided Korean law advice to the project company Uz-Kor Gas Chemical. 

In another matter the team acted for US Exim on the restructuring of the financing provided to Minera & Metalurgica del Boleo for the construction of a copper, cobalt and zinc mine in Mexico. The restructuring saw the Korea Resources Corporation (KORES) assume the liabilities incurred by the project company and also enact a refinancing. 

In the power sector another foreign project saw the firm act for Samsung C&T as sponsor and contractor for the $2.3 billion Rabigh II IPP (independent power project) in Saudi Arabia. Similar work was undertaken for POSCO Energy as the borrower of $193.9 million in financing for a 200MW power plant in Cilegon, Indonesia in order to supply power to an integrated steel mill. 

Finally in the corporate space the firm acted for the ORIX Corporation on the $300 million acquisition of 43.1% of the shares in STX Energy in South Korea.

Yoon & Yang

Having only been established in 2003 (through a merger of two domestic firms) Yoon & Yang is one of the youngest firms in the market. The firm focuses on social and other infrastructure and real estate matters, but has also developed its natural resources practice in recent years.

The firm’s main contacts in the energy and infrastructure space are Wonil Kim, Soong Ki Yi and Kwang-Wook Lee. All three have quite broad practices including linked areas such as IP, TMT and trade law.

In the last 12 months the firm has acted on a variety of matters across a number of different practice areas, with most projects located in Korea itself. Though a lot of the firm’s work is confidential one public corporate matter saw the team act for STX Energy on its sale of shares (amounting to a 43.1% stake) in ORIX Corporation.

In the financing area highlights included work for the Export-Import Bank of Korea (EXIM) on amendments to a loan provided to Sherrit International for the development of the Ambatovy nickel-mining project in Madagascar. Crossing over into funds the firm also acted for Korea Investment & Securities on the establishment of the Devonian Natural Resources Private Equity Fund and work related to a co-investment agreement between the fund and Daewoo International.

A final highlight saw the team advise Busan New Port Co on whether it would meet the requirements to apply for financial support from the Korean government. 

Yulchon

Within energy and infrastructure Yulchon focuses on project development work in the oil and gas, mining and power sectors. The team has also picked up outbound acquistion and finance work in these sectors for its Korean client base. The firm has overseas offices in China, Myanmar and Vietnam.

The key partner contacts at Yulchon are Byong Wook Kim and Young Su Shin. Kim focuses on M&A and project finance in the mining sector while Shin deals in project finance matters often related to the power industry.

Yulchon’s work in the past year has mainly been in the energy space working on both project finance matters and development issues, notably feasibility studies.

In one example the team acted for Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, Korea South East Power Co (KOSEP) and SKE&C Co in relation to a $190 million financing of a natural gas thermal power plant in Turkey.

Elsewhere the firm undertook feasibility studies for KOTRA in relation to a solar project in Brazil and a biomass plant in Russia; and for Korea’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport and the Korea Expressway Corporation in relation to a PPP (public-private partnership) expressway linking Lauan, Gombak and Bentong.

APEX
Jong Baek Park and Young-Cheol Jeong are the two managing partners at Apex and both handle financial matters.

On the finance side the team has expanded with the hires of David Kim from Lee International and Bryan Hopkins from Ju & Hopkins. Last year the team assisted Krakatau as the borrower of a senior facilities agreement and acted for the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ and Export-Import Bank of Korea as the lenders in a facility agreement with Banco Itaú.

On the corporate side the firm acted for Posco Chemtech on a joint venture agreement between itself, Krakatau Industrial Estate Cilegon and Dong Suh Chemical for the development of a coal tar distillation plant.
Bae Kim & Lee

Bae Kim & Lee has one of the most prominent M&A practices in South Korea. During the past decade this practice has been at the forefront of the firm's growth, which now has 30 professionals dedicated to corporate and finance matters. Its M&A practice falls under the corporate banner and closely works with the energy practice on outbound M&A transactions.

It has been involved in many domestic and cross border transactions for a variety of clients ranging from local medium-sized firms to multinationals based in the US, Japan and Europe. Much of the work of late has been outbound acquisitions with Europe being particularly appetizing as South Korean companies look to take advantage of the financial crisis in Europe. Here, Joonki Yi and Han Kang advised GS Engineering and Construction Corporation on its 80% stake in OHL Medio Ambiente Inima, a Spanish water treatment company. Both also advised Hanwha Chemical in purchasing bankrupt Q-Cells of Germany and its manufacturing facility in Malaysia.

The capital markets practice has come to the forefront in recent years with notable capital raising work for some of South Korea's banks. It frequently advises Korea Development Bank and Hana Bank on note offerings as well as advising on Yankee bonds, Samurai bonds and Swiss franc bonds. One of the practice's most active areas of work is securitisation, where Eui Jong Chung advised GE Capital on the rescheduling of ABS bonds purchased from Korean financial institutions valued at €200 million. South Korean global bond offerings were very strong with Daegu Bank's $300 million and Hana Bank's $500 million issue on the Singapore exchange and Korea Development Bank's Rmb1 billion ($163 million) dim-sum bond on the Hong Kong exchange all well received. Chung and Annie Eunah Lee handled all three transactions.

The banking practice represents commercial banks, insurance companies, investment banks, private equity funds and government agencies in a range of transactions from acquisition finance, leveraged finance to syndicated loans. It has been strengthened by the appointment of Jung Gyu Jhun and Tae Sik Roh as counsel from Korea Exchange Bank and Financial Supervisory Service respectively. The firm acted for Korea Trade Insurance Corporation in two notable transactions. The first was the $1.5 billion financing of the Mong Duong II coal fired power station in Vietnam, the first involvement by a Korean ECA in Vietnam and the second was on the world's largest internationally financed Ichthys LNG (liquefied natural gas) project in Australia which had a total cost of $34 billion. The lead partner in both transactions was Young Joon Cho.

Antitrust litigation is a core part of the antitrust practice at Bae Kim & Lee with experienced litigators regularly representing clients in proceedings before the KFTC. It has notable achievements in cartel cases in the TFT-LCD, air cargo and auto parts industry. Keum Seok Oh leads the practice and is very much involved in cases before the KFTC, he successfully represented Samsung Heavy Industry in a bid-rigging case in the 4 Rivers construction project.

Barun Law
Barun Law is a native Korean firm, which also possesses a team of foreign lawyers. Joo Hyoung Jang, Ki Tai Park and Kyung Ho Jeong are the firm’s key Korean partners in finance and corporate while Tom Pinansky, Nick Dunn, Hijoung Oh and Jae Seong Choi are the team’s primary foreign lawyers.

Key transaction examples on the financing side include advice to Fifth Third Bank on a loan to Samick Musical Instruments, while in corporate the team acted for MasterControl on its acquisition of business assets of Cepian Technologies and the Korean Green Promotion Agency on a proposed forestry joint venture in new Zealand.

The firm’s competition team consists of Yong Suk Jang and Jae Ho Choi. The firm has assisted a number of clients in various industries on antitrust issues.
Jipyong

Acquisition finance is one of the main strengths of the banking and finance practice at Jipyong (formerly Jipyong Jisung). Led by Yully Kang, the acquisition finance team has extensive experience in advising clients in connection with domestic and cross border acquisition financings. They work closely with members of the M&A and tax teams in developing tax-efficient financings and transactions. It is one of a few South Korean law firms to open offices in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar.

Kang was instrumental in structuring a $60 million asset-backed loan facility provided by Woori Investment & Securities, Woori Bank, Shinhan Bank and Kookmin Bank to Qingdao Lidong Chemicals of China. The asset-backed loan was secured from the accounts receivables of the borrower and backed by a special purpose company established in Korea by the lenders. Such structures are rare in Korea and involved the firm's Shanghai office. Kang also advised Shinhan Bank as lender in Morgan Stanley's leveraged buyout of Monalisa Co and six of its affiliated companies.

The M&A practice possess' experience in domestic and international transactions, including mergers, stock acquisitions, spin-offs and backdoor listings. Operating in the small to medium end of the market, it is regularly sought after by local companies to establish joint ventures with foreign companies in emerging markets. Partner, Min Shin advised the largest shareholder of Dongwha Duty Free in its part sale of shares to Shilla Hotel and simultaneously establishing a strategic partnership between the two companies

The firm represents clients in all types of securities transactions and regulatory issues as well as on the operation of specific types of investment vehicles such as private equity funds, hedge funds and venture funds. Private equity fund work has been very active lately in the capital markets and M&A space, where the team consisting of Haeng-Gyu Lee, Eun-Young Lee and Chong Choe represented the National Pension Service of Korea in several transactions regarding investment into overseas private equity funds as part of its investment portfolio expansion. The firm represented Fast Future Brands from Australia with its IPO on the Korean exchange.

The antitrust practice represents both the KFTC and corporate clients in many aspects of antitrust and competition, from advising on response to corrective measures imposed by the Fair Trade Commission to reporting violations of fair trade law. The team represented the KFTC in upholding the record fine of W273 billion (($244 million) imposed on Qualcomm for abuse of market dominance.

Kim & Chang

Kim & Chang is South Korea's premier law firm that is virtually unrivalled in terms of size and reputation. It has outstanding practices across the whole corporate, banking and finance sectors with an impressive client list of domestic and multinational corporations. The firm is very well balanced with a good combination of domestically qualified, overseas trained and foreign qualified lawyers, which reaches throughout Asia Pacific, Europe and the US.

The M&A practice is consistently involved in the major transactions and such is its size and expertise that its ranks as the number one firm in South Korea based on deal count according to several independent market surveys. This well resourced practice has a pool of professionals engaging in transactions from a wide range of industries, including the very sophisticated private equity firms. This was demonstrated when the firm advised a consortium of private equity funds in the acquisition of the 24% stake in Kyobo Life Insurance for W1.2 trillion ($1 billion). It was one of the most high-profile private equity club deals in the Korean M&A market. In 2012, two additional partners were added to this large practice.

Kim & Chang's capital markets practice has helped raise capital for companies in almost every industry sector, advising issuers, underwriters and arrangers on equity, bond, hybrid and derivatives listings and offers. Its Korean lawyers and foreign legal counsels are well versed in Korean and global listings, both private and public. Innovation was the key to the $500 million Doosan Infracore hybrid bond offer in which Myoung Jae Chung and Hyun Chul Lee took lead roles. These perpetual hybrid bonds are structured to give investors a put option upon a certain defined event, in which the option was secured by a syndicate of lenders. In the few IPOs that listed in 2012, Kim & Chang advised CJ Hello Vision in its $267 million listing which began trading on the Korean exchange in early December 2012.

Unlike any other South Korean law firm, the banking and finance practice at Kim & Chang has specialist sub-finance practices that include acquisition finance, aircraft finance, shipping finance, structured finance and project finance. One of the practice's main strengths is its seamless integration with other major practice groups such as tax and M&A, where they work together to deliver the most economical and tax-efficient transactions. Project finance work remains very active with the team assisting in several large scale projects. The first was advising SK Energy on its finance facility to fund the Hanam Energy Project and the second saw it represent Korea Finance Corporation as co-arranger in the Ansan gas-fired power project.

Kim & Chang has been advising on antitrust and competition for a number of clients around the world. It is one of largest practices of any law firm and one of the earliest firms to offer such services in South Korea. The practice consists of antitrust lawyers, litigators and advisors some of whom previously worked at the KFTC. It has a high success rate in obtaining merger filing approvals from the KFTC and is a favourite amongst clients forrepresenting them in cartel investigations cases. It successfully represented Microsoft Corp and Microsoft Korea against a private action for damages brought by Digito.com. The decision in the initial trial court was upheld by the Seoul High Court and the Supreme Court.

With the globalization of business' many restructuring and insolvency cases have become global in nature involving complex cross border issues. Kim & Chang regularly features in cross border insolvency and restructuring cases representing debtors, creditors and other parties. To date, it has been involved in over 500 cases.

Lee & Ko

Lee & Ko ranks second behind Kim & Chang in terms of size and its evolution into one of South Korea's leading law firms coincides with the country's rapid economic development over the past three decades. The firm is recognised for its excellence in all of its major practice areas and has a global client base of domestic conglomerates and multinational corporations in many industries. Its reach covers China, Japan, Europe and the US, which is partly attributable to its foreign registered lawyers.

The banking and finance group is renowned for it extensive experience and in-depth knowledge in providing legal advice to domestic and foreign financial institutions and corporations on general banking matters, acquisition and asset financing, structured finance and securitisation and project finance. Major clients include Korean banks and foreign banks doing business in Korea. This practice has been taking part in the growing trend of domestic banks and ECAs financing of energy and resources related projects, Hun Ko and other lawyers advised Kookmin Bank and Samsung Life Insurance as co-lead arrangers in the successful close of the W1.25 trillion ($1.1 billion) debt financing for the Dongducheon LNG (liquefied natural gas) combined cycle power plant project. Lee & Ko also provided Korean legal advice to Korean Air in a US Ex-Im Bank guarantee-backed financing for purchase of three new Boeing aircrafts in 2013.

Lee & Ko is steadily building up its existing solid reputation in the capital markets with lateral hires and partner promotions. Edward Kim from Kim & Chang and Sung You Choi from Shin & Kim join the newly promoted Jang Hyuk Yeo as partners. 2012 and early 2013 was especially good for the team in the bond market with representations in a mixture of samurai, convertible, Hong Kong, Yankee and Swiss franc bond offerings. KT Corporation's samurai bond offering in three tranches is one example. Elsewhere, there were numerous note offerings by Korea Exchange Bank, Korea East West Power, Korea Southern Power and Korea Expressway Corporation, in which Je Won Lee handled most transactions.

Serving as Korean counsel in major Korean deals and as lead counsel in cross border M&A transactions Lee & Ko is one of the leaders by deal count and deal value in Korea. Kyu Wha Lee is a senior partner and head of the corporate and M&A group who has over 20 years experience in representing Korean and multinational companies in corporate and M&A matters. He advised a group of eight sellers, including private equity funds, corporations and individuals in the sale of Himart Co shares to Lotte Shopping Co for W1.2 trillion.

Lee & Ko handles an array of cases involving international cartels, merger filings and abuse of dominance position which involves competition practices in the US, EU, China, Japan and Canada. The antitrust and competition practice has been significantly bolstered by the arrival of eight antitrust specialists, two of whom are advisors from the KFTC, and from rivals Shin & Kim and Hwang Mok Park. The team is currently engaged in numerous international cartel investigations, one of which is the activities of manufacturers of optical disk drives from Korean, Taiwan and Japan, currently under investigation in the US and EU. Lee & Ko, led by Yong Seok Ahn, is acting as the global counsel.

The economic downturn and decline in real estate prices has caused financial stress on Korean construction companies, some of which have gone bankrupt. In this regard, the firm represented Samwhan Corporation in rehabilitation proceedings to prevent serial bankruptcies by formulating a plan for Samwhan to issue bonds to Hyundai Securities secured by a plot of land. This land was later sold with the principal amount repaid to Hyundai Securities.

Shin & Kim

Despite the larger size of its main rivals, Shin & Kim has a solid reputation in the Korean legal market with in-depth expertise in banking and finance, M&A, litigation and arbitration. The firm has a diverse range of clients from domestic and multinational corporations to government agencies. Amongst its 300 Korean and foreign registered lawyers, other professionals include accountants, tax consultants and patent attorneys.

The Export-Import Bank of Korea (KEXIM) has shown considerable faith in the banking and finance team during the past 12 months instructing the team led by Hyun Jun Helen Pak, in connection with the $1.1 billion Bonny Gas Transport LNG (liquefied natural gas) ship financing of six new LNG vessels. Shin & Kim's role was advising KEXIM on its $360 million stand alone facility and refund guarantees for the vessels built by Hyundai Heavy Industries. This transaction had many inter-creditor issues due to the existing debt incurred by Bonny Gas Transport. Clients single out Pak's project financing ability with one saying, "Helen is an excellent lawyer with a notable ability to bridge the differences between Korean law and the requirements and the needs on international transactions".

The firm's restructuring and insolvency practice has a track record dating back to the late 90s, and has since advised on some of the major bankruptcies in Korea. Practice head, Yong Seok Park is a leading lawyer in this field having previously served as a member of the Insolvency Law Reform Committee of the Ministry of Justice for more than a decade. It acted for SSCP in relation to its filing of voluntary rehabilitation and Woori Investment & Securities a creditor of Woongjin Holdings under rehabilitation.

Shin & Kim's capital markets practice put in a solid performance despite generally unfavourable market conditions in Korea and internationally. It is noted for its strength in securitisation, specifically asset-backed securitisation and also includes derivatives-linked securities and mortgage-based securities. Young-Hee Jo assisted in three notable securitisation programs, two of which were backed by credit card receivables. One was the $400 million Shinhan Card program and the other was the Samsung Card Challenger 20 program valued at $200 million. On the bond market side, it advised the facility providers in the highly complex $500 million Doosan Infracore hybrid bond issuance.

As one of the leaders in terms of deal count and deal value, Shin & Kim's M&A practice has taken considerable steps to remain amongst the elite of M&A practices by adding to the number of foreign experts, with the aim of promoting its cross border capabilities. The team acted for Korea Exchange Bank in a comprehensive stock swap with Hana Financial Group in a deal worth W1.9 billion, approximately 40% of Korea Exchange Bank's market value. This transaction involved two of the largest financial institutions in Korea, both of which were listed on the KSX.

Led by Young Chul Yim, the former General Counsel of the KFTC, Shin & Kim's antitrust and competition practice has over 30 lawyers dedicated to antitrust matters, merger filings, cartel investigations, abuse of market dominance and antitrust litigation. The team is heavily involved in many ongoing cartel investigation cases before the Seoul High Court with representations of clients involved in the price fixing of TFT-LCD panels, steel makers and hotels. Its most notable case in 2012 was successfully representing Google in its merger clearance with Motorola Mobility Holdings. The KFTC was concerned that major Korean smartphone makers that depend on the Android operation system may lose access to it or be at a disadvantage compared to Motorola, post the merger.

Yoon & Yang

Since its establishment in 2003 through the merger between Yoon & Partners, and Roh & Yang, Yoon & Yang has been one of the fastest growing law firms in South Korea. It now has over 300 professionals and 18 practice groups, housing both domestic and foreign lawyers.

During the past 12 months, more than 50 professionals have been added as the firm looks to significantly reinforce its antitrust and competition, tax, financial regulation and corporate governance practices.

Within the banking practice, Export-Import Bank of Korea and Industrial Bank of Korea became notable new clients, whilst retaining the services of Shinhan Bank, Woori Bank and Korea Development Bank in connection with syndicated loans. Kwon Hoe Kim, Young Woo Park and Zunu Lee, are active partners who regularly participate in banking transactions involving project finance, cross border finance and acquisition finance transactions. This was demonstrated when Lee represented the Devonian private equity fund established by Korea Investment and Securities Co in an agreement with Daewoo International Corporation for natural resource development. Despite the loss of two partners, Young Su Shin and Young Jae Shin, the firm's banking and finance practice remains unaffected with continued involvement in overseas projects.

Partner Sang-Goo Han specialises in corporate restructuring and is handling the majority of cases where clients are placed under rehabilitation plans or procedures. He and Jung-Suck Ryu completed bankruptcy filings for several firms after the court's decision to discontinue the rehabilitation procedures.

Yoon & Yang provides specialised legal advisory services to domestic enterprises making public offerings or securities listings on the domestic and foreign securities markets. It operates an IPO team within the firm's finance, securities and insurance practice group comprised of domestic and foreign lawyers, which has helped Korean companies list on overseas markets. The team assisted the Export-Import Bank of Korea on its Thai baht denominated bonds listing in Thailand and another separate listing of dim sum bonds in Hong Kong. Kim represented the Industrial Bank of Korea in a large $8 billion update to its Global MTN program.

In M&A, although the firm may not rank highly in terms of deal count, it has been involved in many large and notable transactions, such as its representation in E.Land's acquisition of Carrefour's Korean stores. During 2012, it advised Daewoo International in the sale of its 24% stake in Kyobo Life Insurance to a consortium led by Affinity Equity Partners, a Hong Kong-based private equity fund, for $1.1 billion.

Antitrust and competition is one of the main strengths of Yoon & Yang and the main practice area of Hoil Yoon, one of the firm's managing partners. Yoon was the founder of Yoon & Partners before it subsequently merged with Roh & Partners to create what is today's Yoon & Yang. Yoon is chairman and key partner of the competition practice who has extensive experience in M&A, cartels, dominance abuse, unfair trade practices and antitrust litigation. The team is representing a host of Korean and foreign companies, including industry leaders in appeals against the KFTC's correction order and imposition of surcharge running into billions of won for alleged range of abuses from market dominance, unfair trade practices, price fixing to bid rigging. Senior foreign counsel, Paul Rhee has been singled out for praise by one client who describes him as "very knowledgeable in this practice area for which his services have been retained".

Yulchon

Yulchon really came of age when it represented Samsung Electronics in a patent/design infringement litigation and unfair competition case with Apple recently.

The well-regarded antitrust practice is a stand-alone practice, which is not part of any other practice groups and consists of former judges and high-ranking KFTC officials who devote most of their time to antitrust matters. Co-founder and managing partner Sai Ree Yun is a widely recognised name in this field, whose legal expertise expands to include corporate law and taxation. He is one of the early pioneers in antitrust law and takes much credit for the firm's current standing. The arrival of Cecil Saehoon Chung in 2012 has significantly increased the practice's international antitrust capability, he is a former US Federal Trade Commission lawyer who now heads Yulchon's international antitrust team. The team is currently involved in several KTFC cartel investigations and unfair trade practices. A notable success during the past 12 months was Lotte Shopping's merger approval from the KFTC to acquire Hi Mart.

At the helm of the M&A practice are some very experienced partners, including Yun and Hee Chul Kang who is also a co-founder. Before establishing Yulchon, Kang worked at Kim & Chang for 12 years. His substantial experience includes representation of GE, Goldman Sachs and Standard Chartered Bank in Korea in various cross border transactions, as well as major Korean conglomerates such as Samsung and Hyundai Motor Company and SK Telecom. Besides Yun and Kang, partner Hee Woong Yoon is deeply involved in major M&A transactions and is one of Korea's leading M&A lawyers. He was the lead partner in the KFTC approved Lotte Shopping acquisition of Hi Mart, which will see Lotte Shopping acquire 65.25% stake in Hi Mart for W1.25 trillion ($1.1 billion). One notable cross border transaction saw Young Su Shin successfully assist Daewoo Engineering & Construction Co on the sale of its stake in Daewoo Hotel in Hanoi.

Yulchon's banking and finance practice offers quality legal services in project finance, structured finance and acquisition finance, with the latter constituting a major component of the banking and finance practice. Furthermore, the team of lawyers has developed specialist skills in devising alternative financing structures to facilitate M&A transactions. Christopher Cho handled two shipping finance transactions in what is widely seen as a re-emergence of the shipping industry. He advised Korea Development Bank, Korea Finance Corporation and DVB Bank as lenders to SK Shipping for three VLCCs, and also advised Global Marine Finance on the ship finance for three vessels.

In a relatively short period of time Yulchon has developed an experienced team of professionals to run the bankruptcy and corporate restructuring team. As such, the team is actively involved in all aspects from filing petitions of bankruptcy and rehabilitation proceedings to preparing and obtaining reorganisation plans. The team is advising POSCO E&C in seeking damages as a rehabilitation claim within Halla E&C's rehabilitation proceedings.

Yulchon's securities and capital markets group has been active in advising Korean clients on the increasing appetite of samurai bonds in Japan. It advised KEXIM on its ¥100 billion ($1 bilion) and Hyundai Capital Services' ¥120 billion samurai bond issuance and on other offerings in Hong Kong and Australia.