Solicitors governing body: 대한변호사협회 - Korean Bar Association (KBA)
Competition authority: 공정거래위원회 Fair Trade Commission (KFTC)
Financial regulator: Financial Services Commission
IFLR1000 ranking categories for this jurisdiction:
Financial and corporate (published October) - Banking and finance, Capital markets, Competition, M&A, Project Development, Restructuring and insolvency
South Korea’s legal market is independent, strong and stable, and it has a core of large self-confident domestic firms seated at the top. Not dissimilar to Japan, client relationships run deep and attributes such as loyalty play a far more important role within the business community then it may do so in other market contexts.
Historically, the market prohibited foreign lawyers and firms from working in the country, but it has liberalised in the past four years, which has prompted over 20 global firms to open up offices.
The Korean legal market is undergoing a protracted period of liberalisation following bilateral agreements with the EU and US that established a regulatory framework divided into three phases. Phase one allowed international law firms to establish branch offices in Seoul practising foreign law; phase two allowed Seoul offices of foreign firms to enter fee-sharing relationships with Korean law firms to facilitate cross-border work; and phase three – yet to be realised – promises to allow foreign and Korean lawyers to work together in some sort of partnership arrangement.
The first wave of market entrants was made up of three firms opening up in July 2012: Clifford Chance, Ropes & Gray and Sheppard Mullin. All three firms already had important Korea practices in place but did not have a physical presence. Late in 2012 there was a large influx of global firms into Seoul, with nine opening up in a two month period. This second wave saw the entry of some of the biggest foreign offices to date, including Cleary Gottlieb, Paul Hastings, and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett. By the middle of 2013, another seven firms had joined the market in Seoul, but the rate and number started to dwindle thereafter. In 2015 White & Case, Milbank Tweed Hadley and Allen & Overy set up shop.
Interested parties still await the elusive phase three that represents an opportunity for international firms to rapidly expand business in Korea. Regulators will be preparing the necessary legal framework to accommodate UK firms in July 2016 and then US firms in March 2017 as envisaged by the bilateral agreements. If all goes to plan – and with the revision of the Foreign Legal Consultant Act - law firms will be able to enter into joint ventures with Korean law firms and employ both foreign and Korean qualified lawyers.
Drawing parallels to Japan once again, it’ll be a real challenge for global brands to find a place in such a developed market.
Adam Majeed - Asia-Pacific Editor
Bae Kim & Lee is a strong independent Korean firm that excels particularly in restructuring and insolvency and in M&A where it has one of the largest corporate teams in the country.
In the research period the firm has been very active in outbound work. Korea Development Bank is a key client of the firm for its general banking and project finance transactions. The firm has been expanding its aircraft financing capabilities of late and apart from that has been active in shipping, real estate and renewable energy.
In the capital markets the firm has been busy with bond work that includes EMTN/GMTN issues, and green, convertible and kangaroo bonds.
In the research period the firm brought in Jeong Hoon Lee from Shin & Kim, Nam Kyoo Park from DGB Daegu Bank, Je Yoon Shin from the Financial Services Commission, and foreign attorney Joo Ho Lee from Walkers. Senior advisor Keun Soo Kim departed for CICA.
Recent Deal Data highlights
•Hanhwa Global Infrastructure Strategy Fund No. 2 $60 million financing
•Kakao $1 billion global depositary receipts issue
•LG Display $300 Million 3.875% green bond issue
•Nine-one-hannam W600 billion refinancing
•Posco-Vietnam $156 million term loan facility
•Republic of Korea $1 billion sovereign bond issue
•Robotis Kosdaq IPO
•TSX Broadway Hotel $344 million financing
"BKL provides timely responses to clients' queries and high quality legal reviews." – Banking
"BKL has shown significant depth of expertise on cross-border investments from K-trust funds. It has provided much helpful guidance on a wide range of legal and tax issues in an efficient and timely manner." – Capital markets: Debt
"BKL is not a law firm that provides services to clients based solely on legal knowledge. BKL's lawyers think together and prepare countermeasures from the perspective of clients. Most of all, BKL is so fast at making decisions that I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude for its painstaking service." – M&A
"The firm provides super-fast responses with great responsibility. It has a great relationship with a US law firm that enables full coverage of both US and Korean law. As TLB (Term Loan B) is a relatively new market to Korea, the firm does need some more time to build up its knowledge base." – Private equity
"The quality of legal service is very good and the hourly rates are reasonable. Specifically, the firm's immediate response to our needs is the reason why I want to continue working with it." – Project finance
"Choi is very proactive in client advisory requests and has strong knowledge of the industry."
"First of all, his biggest strength is being quick and easy to understand, but never lacking in expertise. Sometimes I need to consult him late, but he always responds in a friendly manner and provides detailed solutions."
"Kim is responsible with great response times. He has the ability to work under budget and provides cost transparency."
Seung Kyo Lee
"Seung Kyo Lee's strength lies in the client relationship. He is responsive to client needs by speedily giving feedback."
Jipyong is an independent Korean firm that is ranked highest for its corporate practice, but also active in finance, equity capital markets and project development.
During the research period the firm’s equity capital markets team was active advising issuers and underwriters in a spate of listings on the Korea Exchange. Its M&A team advised on corporate and investment mandates in the renewable energy, industrials, technology, real estate and food and beverage industries.
Jipyong’s projects team kept busy with a range of solar, offshore and onshore wind transactions, while the finance team was preoccupied with fintech matters, real estate and acquisition financing, aviation finance, and securitisation mandates.
The firm brought in partner Young Sik Kim from Incheon district court, but lost competition partner Ke Jun Son. It also strengthened its corporate team with a number of associate and foreign attorney hires, but lost partner Han Seok Myung to the Ministry of Justice.
Recent Deal Data highlights
•Aju IB Investment Kosdaq IPO
•Dogye 1.9MW solar power plant
•Gasan 30MW wind power generation project
•iCure Pharm Kosdaq IPO
•Kakao Mobility W25.2 billion acquisition of Luxi
•SV Investment Kosdaq IPO
•S-Fuelcell Kosdaq IPO
"Jipyong has enthusiasm and also expertise in the Korean capital markets. – Capital markets: Equity
"The firm offered rich experience of M&A legal due diligence and a deep understanding of the investment." – M&A
Hee Suk Chai
"Hee Suk Chai has a wealth of knowledge and experience in M&A."
Kim & Chang is a household name in the Korean legal market and excels in all transactional matters. With close to 1000 professionals it is hard for its competitors to compete on scale.
The firm often drives the market by acting in landmark mandates and this research period was no different. The firm acted in the largest ever-offshore investment transaction involving Korean investors; the first M&A transaction driven by private parties resulting in change of ownership and control of a financially troubled Korean shipping company; and the largest acquisition of LNG distribution companies by a private equity fund in Korea.
Furthermore, the firm’s huge teams also advised on the largest deal to date involving a Korean pharmaceutical company; one of Korea’s largest purchase of container vessels; the largest project financing transaction to date in Korea; and the first euro-denominated social covered bond issuance by a non-European issuer.
The sheer volume of work that passes through Kim & Chang doesn’t stifle the firm’s capacity for innovation as evidenced by its restructuring and insolvency team’s development of an out-of-court hybrid restructuring product that allows a distressed company to be managed by another company in the same industry as part of a workout plan.
In the research period, the firm’s corporate practice brought in foreign attorney Woojae Kim from Paul Hastings but lost partner Bang Hyun Kim to Bae Kim & Lee. Its competition team also grew with hires from the Seoul High Court, Incheon District Court, Yulchon, Barun Law and the Board of Audit and Inspection of Korea.
Recent Deal Data highlights
•Bain Capital/Apple consortium $18 billion acquisition of Toshiba chip unit
•Gangneung Anin 2080MW coal fired power plant
•General Motors Korea restructuring
•Glenwood Private Equity $510 million acquisition of Haeyang City Gas and Seorabeol City Gas
•Hahn & Company $1.33 billion acquisition of SK Shipping
•Kolmar Korea $1.16 billion acquisition of CJ Healthcare
•Korea Housing Finance Corporation €500 million covered bond issue
•Woori Bank Issuance $300 million CoCo bond issue
"Excellent as it provided full support to us for the deal closing." - Banking
"Generally the best law firm in Korea. It is knowledgeable and professional providing clear cut advice and quick responses." - Capital markets: Structured finance and securitisation
"Kim & Chang is highly experienced in terms of overseas deals. It has international lawyers who sufficiently support our needs." - Capital markets: Structured finance and securitisation
"It is the top law firm in Korea with very experienced lawyers in every industry sector." - Competition
"Kim & Chang is very professional and committed to its work. Its response to my requests was always clear and on time. It was also very good at cooperating with other experts in different companies and fields." – M&A
"The firm's lawyers make matters simple and easy to understand. It works with young IT people in a polite manner." – M&A
"Excellent. No weaknesses." – Project development
"Very accurate responses and advice." – Project finance
"Working with Kim & Chang is always satisfactory. Its expertise and dedication is driving the project to success." – Project finance
"Kim & Chang set up a dedicated outbound projects team a few years ago and has shown significant achievements here. Now the firm is providing top-tier level service like other global firms while differentiating itself from other local competitors." – Project finance
"Kim & Chang has started providing services similar to those of international firms. We had not expected an in-depth understanding of the deals when we worked with Korean firms before, but now at least Kim & Chang is totally different from other Korean firms. Having said that, I can't say that Kim & Chang has experience like other US or British law firms, so I think it would be good for them to gain more exposure."– Project finance
Hyun Ho Eun
"He's easy to understand and explains matters in plain language."
Min Chul Kim
"He is a very enthusiastic lawyer who I had never worked with before. His passion can enable many complicated deals to be closed successfully without any complaints or noise."
"He's very knowledgeable and kind."
Young Ho Kim
Young Min Kim
"In every case, Young Min has not hesitated. His legal knowledge and experience help him advise without delay. He is always supportive on commercial matters as well as in legal advisory engagements."
"He was very passionate, dedicated and careful. He's very sophisticated too."
"Through his extensive experience in various jurisdictions and industries, he always provides reliable advice. He works devotedly and provides creative and prompt advice. As far as I understand, he is the only Korean-qualified lawyer who can properly advise on international project finance projects in the market."
"Sangmyoung Shin is leading the firm's outbound project finance team despite being a young partner at the firm. He is always reliable even when he advises on commercial matters since he clearly understands the market. He handles the major issues in deals and always does an excellent job coordinating firms, banks and other advisors. I think he is definitely one of the rising stars in this field."
"He has built up Kim & Chang's global project finance team and is actually leading the team. We have largely benefited from his extensive project finance experience. I think he is only among a few Korea-qualified lawyers in this market who can handle global project finance work well enough. As he is qualified both in Korea and New York, we can rely on him to advise on various deal specific issues including Korean-law related matters that we can't expect from international firms."
Tae Hyuk Ko
"He is very knowledgeable and delivers sound advice to his clients."
"Excellent advice and great industry knowledge."
"He's highly practical, and has in-depth industry knowledge."
Lee & Ko are a permanent fixture in Korea’s legal market with a strong presence and practice across the financial and corporate transactional space.
In the research period the firm has been involved in a lot of outbound projects, acquisition financing, private equity and bond work. For example, it acted in the largest project financing in Korea involving over 33 banks and insurance companies in Korea; one of the biggest domestic IPP projects in Korea; and the largest acquisition involving a Korean pharmaceutical company.
It also acted in a Turkish PPP that is part of the 2023 vision; the corporate restructuring of largest shipbuilding company in the world; and the largest acquisition in the first quarter of 2019.
The firm has been on a recruitment drive over the research period hiring partners Hyomin Cho from the Financial Supervisory Service of Korea and Ke Jun Sohn from Jipyong. M&A partners Chee Kwan Kim from Kim & Chang, Hyung Soo Lee and Joachim Nowak from HMP Law, Byung Hwa Lee from 3M Korea and Sun Yill Chung from LG Life Sciences also joined, while Ji Woong Lim from Daejeon District Court and Kyu Hyung Jang from the Seoul Bankruptcy Court shored up its insolvency practice. The firm also lost capital markets partner Geen Kim to Yulchon.
Recent Deal Data highlights
•Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering corporate restructuring
•Export-Import Bank of Korea $1.5 billion bond issue
•Gangneung Anin 2080MW coal fired power plant
•Gwangmyeong-Seoul Expressway PPP
•Korea Industrial Gas Holdings acquisition of Linde Korea
•Malkara-Çanakkale motorway PPP
•SK Telecom and MIRA $2.63 billion acquisition of ADT Caps
•Samsung Asset Management/InfraPartners Management Korea €239 million acquisition of 39.24% in Dunkirk LNG terminal
“The firm has depth of knowledge and a practical approach on behalf of clients." – Banking
"Lee & Ko has extensive acquisition financing experience." - Banking
"The most experienced law firm in aircraft ABS advisory. It is hard to consider alternatives." - Capital markets: Structured finance and securitisation
"Very sensible advisers who worked collaboratively and guided our client very effectively. Pragmatic and quick to grasp commercial and legal issues." – Competition
"Lee & Ko provided the preassessment on potential damages and a strategic approach to a better argument. We utilised Lee & Ko's report for negotiation and had a successful outcome." – Financial services regulatory
"It's a dedicated and client-oriented team that works around the clock trying to understand and address clients' interests and provide solutions as much as possible." – M&A
"The firm understood the industry and target company. It effectively finds solutions and has good communication to senior management." – M&A
"The Lee & Ko team did an excellent job, led by partner Jang-Hyuk Yeo. I was highly impressed with his level of commitment, ownership, responsiveness, proactiveness, patience, and obviously the quality of legal advice." – M&A
"Ki Wook Kang and Hojoon Moon are among the best lawyers I've encountered in my M&A career. They are of real professional quality in terms of articulate interpretation of articles and don't need to stop and think over client positions when facing points of dispute." – M&A
"Over the years, Lee & Ko has been a good legal partner to us. I believe it understands the value and goals of clients and its commitment to excellence is one of its many strengths and what makes it top of the market." – Project finance
"Lee & Ko's business service is the best among Korean law firms. It seems to me that this projects and energy team has the most experience and expertise among Korean law firms and is carrying out dedicated work for customers." – Project finance
Jeong Yoon Choi
"She's responsible and a very good communicator."
"Gui Hwan is very cautious and conservative. Thus his advice is always trustworthy. Nevertheless, he meets deadlines."
"I was working with Mr Jeong's economic specialised team. The team provided us the most appropriate method to analyse our case, delivered on time, and provided a consistent monitoring service after the report until the finalisation of the issue."
Ki Wook Kang
"Excellent throughout. He satisfied me all the time, and it is hard to find his weakness."
Sang Gon Kim
"He understood our industry well, the M&A deal itself, and what the client wants. Kim also communicates well with senior management."
"He's a top expert that is well-known in the industry and always tries to find the right solution. Kim is also a very committed and customer-friendly lawyer."
"Hun Ko offered us exceptional project finance legal services with expertise, comprehensively leading us forward towards a successful outcome."
Myoung Chul Kwak
"Mr Kwak always provides ideas and practical suggestions so that clients can make better decisions."
Chul Ho Kwon
"He's very supportive, speedy and clear."
"Good knowledge on business and possesses a wonderful network with industry stakeholders."
Kee Won Shin
"Very capable lawyer with excellent English. For a corporate lawyer he has an excellent grasp of litigation issues and advises in a very commercial way. He doesn't lose sight of the main goal for his client."
"I think that he works passionately and has outstanding problem solving skills."
Seum Law is a Korean technology focused boutique law firm. It is known for its commitment to the development of the startup ecosystem in Korea, and often works for start-up companies, technology companies and venture capital funds.
The firm often acts on the seller’s side in mid-sized M&A deals. In 2018, the firm helped a number of startup companies make exits, such as LeisureQ and Knowre.
During the research period, the firm bolstered its practice with the hires of partners Joonbum Cheon and Hyemi Kang from WeMakePrice and Ireum Law.
Recent Deal Data highlights
•Naver Corporation W1.8 billion acquisition of Audien
•Naver Corporation W5.1 billion joint venture with Daewoong Pharmaceutical
Shin & Kim has a strong finance practice but excels in the capital markets, especially in securitisation and bond matters and in handling IPOs where it is still a market leader despite tough conditions.
As expected the firm has had a great research period in the capital markets, advising the first Japanese company to be listed on the Korean stock exchange in six years; advising on the first euro-denominated social covered bond issuance by a non-European issuer; and the first high yield bonds transaction in 10 years.
The firm also acted in the first overseas issuance by a Korean bank holding company of the perpetual capital securities that are recognised as additional tier I capital under Basel III; the first green bond issuance transaction by a private manufacturing company in Korea; and the world’s largest fuel cell power plant utilising by-product hydrogen from a manufacturing facility.
In the research period the firm’s capital markets practice lost Jeong Hoon Lee, but its corporate team was boosted by the arrivals of Hyo Young Kang, Yangsu Ahn and Yong-Hwan Kim from Ropes & Gray, KDB Life Insurance and NongHyup Financial Group respectively.
Recent Deal Data highlights
• Aekyung Industrial Korea Exchange IPO
• JTC Korea Exchange IPO
• Hanwha Total 50MW Daesan fuel cell power plant
• Kolmar Korea $1.16 billion acquisition of CJ Healthcare
• Korean Airlines $300 million 5.875% high-yield bond issue
• Korea Housing Finance Corporation €500 million social covered bond issue
• LG Display $300 million 3.875% green bond issue
• Shinhan Financial Group $500 million 5.875% tier I subordinated bond issue
"Shin & Kim has extensive experience in the ABS area, and has been able to advise us with updated market practice and intelligence." – Capital markets: structured finance and securitisation
"Shin & Kim is very good and responsive." – M&A
Jae Young Chang
"Mr Chang is an excellent corporate lawyer with extensive M&A experience. He provides commercial solutions and great legal advice."
"Mr Lee is a highly experienced and knowledgeable lawyer in the areas of structured credit and private debt financings."
"Mr Jong Uk Lee is a highly experienced structured credit lawyer. He is our go-to lawyer for our asset backed private debt investments."
Yoon & Yang is ranked highest in capital markets, M&A and restructuring and insolvency; however, the firm also has a solid projects and competition practices.
In the past year the firm has been involved in many outbound projects and renewable energy mandates. It has also been active in real estate finance, IPOs and securitisations, and M&A work in the technology, healthcare and food and beverage space.
The firm bolstered its projects practice over the research period with the hires of Kyoungho Kim from Kepco and Yonsoo Kim from HKA. And while it lost competition partner Kenneth Kim its finance practice was boosted with the additions of Geun Sun Son from Woori Bank and Seung Tae Lim from the Financial Services Commission.
Recent Deal Data highlights
•ACE Private Equity $354 million acquisition of Daeho Technology
•Daemyung Energy 100MW Koseong wind farm
•Enzychem Lifesciences Corporation Kosdaq IPO
•Eone Diagnomics Genome Center Kosdaq IPO
•Hwaseung Corporation insolvency
•KHNP 48MW Indonesia hydropower project
•Uni-President Enterprises $231 million acquisition of Woongjin Foods
•Wing Yip Food Kosdaq IPO
"Yoon & Yang has not just provided legal advice on matters we have requested, but went out of its way to understand the entire deal structure and come up with potential issues that were not identified by us." – Banking
"Despite a tight schedule, Yoon & Yang thoroughly reviewed the project allowing us, as a lead arranger, to provide quick feedback to the syndication lenders. In addition, Yoon & Yang is trustworthy in that it actively engaged in reviewing the agreements to ensure every relevant legal issue was addressed." - Banking
"It has outstanding general knowledge of relevant business and projects, and an outstanding ability to provide solutions to issues based on diverse experience, with the ability to proactively communicate with and respond to clients." – Capital markets: Debt
"The firm has substantive experience representing companies trying to do an initial public offering (IPO) in Korea. It has a great relationship with the Korean stock exchange and has the expertise to navigate through the regulations and practices of such an exchange, which has been extremely helpful throughout the IPO process especially as a foreign company." – Capital markets: Equity
"I have no problem saying that the performance and attitude of Yoon & Yang is simply exemplary. The firm pays absolute attention to the needs of a client; it understands the needs perfectly without missing even a trivial point; it interprets the needs in legal terms and perspectives; it provides solutions on any issue as well as opinions in order to develop the deal in favour of the client; and it carefully injects implicit ideas in contracts and agreements. Simply put, I truly think that if I were to describe the firm's performance in one word, it should be perfection." – Capital markets: Structured finance and securitisation
"Yoon & Yang provides specialised legal services. The law firm especially has expertise on structured finance and related legal issues." Capital markets: Structured finance and securitisation
"When I need rapid consultation, Yoon & Yang delivers responses to my inquiries on time. Furthermore, when I have to handle complicated problems, it provides in-depth opinions presenting a variety of views. Most of all, Yoon & Yang's suggestions for various issues have never resulted in failure. Also, contracts written by Yoon & Yang do not include ambiguous sentences. So, I and my fellow employees regard Yoon & Yang as a great business partner in the finance industry." – Capital markets: Structured finance and securitisation
"It is a well known firm with a solid reputation in Korea. It is able to match our timelines very well." – Capital markets: Structured finance and securitisation
"Yoon & Yang is excellent and in particular, pays great attention to customer service. I can count on its knowledge of Korean law and it understands global issues, so it works well with multinational companies." – Competition
"Yoon & Yang is highly professional and ethical in its performance based on great expertise. The firm has shown top-notch client services. The team has great commercial awareness with profound understanding of the pharmaceutical industry." – Competition
"Yoon & Yang provides services through its extensive experience and expertise in antitrust. It has over 40 professionals dedicated to antitrust issues, including former Korean fair trade commission officials. For each specific issue within the antitrust area, Yoon & Yang utilises experts that are most qualified to resolve such issues, thereby providing reliable solutions." - Competition
"My overall impression of Yoon & Yang is that it is very professional. I recognise that it has a high level of legal knowledge, rich experience, professional ethics, and perfect teamwork. The firm often exceed our expectations and doesn't just perform tasks like other plain legal firms. It always offers insights and points out important considerations from a client's perspective." – M&A
"While handling M&A deals, it is significant to be advised by experts with various backgrounds. Comprised of accountants, tax attorneys and foreign attorneys as well as Korean attorneys, we believe Yoon & Yang's one stop advice is second to none in the Korean M&A market. In addition, the M&A team are very good negotiators and have a high level of industry knowledge so that we could close the M&A deals successfully. It always comes up with fast and effective responses to complicated legal issues. Therefore, we are extremely satisfied with its service and we will continue to retain Yoon & Yang in the future." – M&A
"The firm provides high quality work. It provides advice that is realistic and easily applicable to practice when compared to other law firms, who are more keen on alarming clients or providing advice which is not really applicable to real life." – M&A
"Yoon & Yang offers the breadth, as well as depth, of expertise to assist expertly on the full range of legal concerns." – Project development
"The firm is efficient and flexible with the right expertise." – Project development
"I worked with Yoon & Yang several times on project finance and was always satisfied with its financial legal advice and services. Furthermore, Yoon & Yang's ability to examine legal risk is the best among law firms." – Project finance
"Yoon & Yang is a trustworthy partner. We are very satisfied with Yoon & Yang's legal service. Its lawyers have abundant experience working as a team providing reasonable solutions in regard to many legal risks that may arise in the process of dealing with cases. Even though Yoon & Yang's fees are comparatively high, this is not a big concern because its legal service is much better than other law firms." – Project finance
"It understood the unique circumstances of the shipbuilding industry and explained legal issues clearly. The firm analysed the strengths and weaknesses of the company and established an effective litigation plan." – Restructuring and insolvency
"The firm made our argument logically by referring to precedents and precedents of each country, and we were satisfied with its work due to its understanding the characteristics of the shipbuilding industry." – Restructuring and insolvency
"I believe that Yoon & Yang's attorneys are highly experienced in restructuring and insolvency. It is also impressive to see senior and junior attorneys working closely together as a team." – Restructuring and insolvency
"Yoon & Yang is a trustworthy partner which has high levels of expertise in the restructuring and insolvency space. Yoon & Yang's attorneys are responsive and client-oriented." – Restructuring and insolvency
"Yoon & Yang's attorneys have good litigation skills and in-depth knowledge in the industry. It always comes up with fast and reasonable solutions in representing our company during litigation." – Restructuring and insolvency
"Sang-Goo Han always works diligently and provides accurate and reasonable legal advice in a timely manner. I strongly belive that he has profound knowledge of matters related to insolvency."
"Sang-Goo Han has good communication skills and responds quickly. He is always active in providing specific solutions to various legal issues."
Young Ho Kang
"The nature of the investment business often requires a speedy legal negotiation process. Young Ho Kang always provides solutions before the requested time. Furthermore, Young Ho Kang provides appropriate measures that the parties can agree to during the negotiation processes, in which each party strives to gain legal advantages, thereby inducing efficient legal agreement."
Chul Ho Kim
"He has handled many high profile cases and has provided legal advice to prominent multinational companies. He also has specialised knowledge and experience."
"Chulho Kim is very practical, to the point and provides high value for extremely reasonable prices. He does not try to please the clients or provide lavish entertainment to retain business but focuses on providing high quality service for his clients."
"Mr Kim provides highly valuable advice on antitrust legal matters based on great understanding of the industry. The advice is highly balanced but makes perfect business sense. His legal knowledge and expertise in the competition area is so renowned so as to be invited by the Korean bar exam association."
"Mr Kim effectively provides accurate legal services that our company needs based on his ample experience and knowledge in antitrust. He understands our needs and is always ready to provide the necessary legal services for us in a timely and efficient manner."
"I would recommend Sangman Kim to my colleagues for his expert knowledge and experience in the workout and restructuring areas. He is certainly a trusted counsel who is able to suggest the best solutions effectively during a litigation."
Sung Jin Kim
"My team has worked together with him for over 10 years. He is very professional and trustworthy. He has a high level of legal knowledge, rich experience, and leadership skills. He always gives us the optimal solutions. He answers at any time anywhere when we need his advice. He often exceeds our expectations."
"Leader of Yoon & Yang's M&A team, Sung-Jin Kim has extensive knowledge of legal issues arising from M&A transactions. His responses are very efficient and quick. His strengths lie on his creative approach to the matters. He not only provides legal solutions but also helps us successfully close the deals by delivering hands-on advice and feasible alternatives. His advice is effective and comprehensive as he understands the current trend of the market and the current business climate the client is facing. He always tries to understand the real concerns of the clients and suggests practical solutions for the issues presented. He will have the solution in whatever situation."
Dong Seon Kim
"Mr Kim always delivers works that exceeds my expectations prior to deadlines. Specifically, doing a job perfectly makes him impeccable but he even meets deadlines for time-sensitive projects. There have been a few occasions where I was surprised by the level of understanding and consideration Mr Kim had. He understands the industry and the projects as I do. He thinks about current as well as, even, prospective legal issues and tries to find resolutions."
"I have worked with Mr Kim for many years. He has abundant knowledge and experience for structured finance. Based on that, he is good at suggesting clear solutions to my inquiries. In some cases where complicated issues are entangled, he gives broad opinions at first meeting and, after researching precedents and legal provisions, he provides optimal solutions that contain insight. Also, his advice is very careful not to miss details. He has never missed deadlines. Overall, I think Mr Kim is a very reliable legal advisor for my business."
"He has outstanding general knowledge of the relevant business and project, and an outstanding ability to provide solutions to issues based on diverse experience."
"I have worked with numerous law firms and lawyers but there was no lawyer who could provide legal advice as accurately, efficiently, and thoroughly as Dong Seon Kim. He is without doubt the best lawyer."
"Dong Seon Kim is the best lawyer I have ever known. First, based on abundant knowledge and experience on laws and industry, he provides advice on all aspects of legal risks we might encounter and the best solutions. In particular, he provides solutions by examining not only legal problems arising from establishing a deal structure but issues deriving from those problems. Second, he is the best negotiator who makes logical arguments about legal problems in negotiation with the opposition. Third, he is a trustworthy legal partner for his punctuality."
"He knows what we want and provides legal advice in a timely manner. I was also satisfied with his quick feedback and in-depth legal service."
"Dong Seon Kim has a caring personality as well as legal ability."
"Mr Kim has profound knowledge and extensive experience in the domestic real estate project finance market. He provides legal solutions that are favorable to us by leading smooth communication between the lender and borrower."
Dong Sun Kim
"He's very professional, fully experienced, and good at communicating with clients."
"Dongsun Kim has been of great help for my team to make the right decisions as he not only identifies potential legal risks but also solutions and preventive measures. Furthermore, as our financial deals evolve rapidly, it is critical that my company receives legal advice in a timely manner. Dongsun Kim has always been very prompt in providing his legal opinions and hence has never caused any delay in the deal process."
"Mr Kim is a heavy worker and gets exactly to the point. Also, he never misses a deadline."
"He's very good, has good language skills, and the right expertise in the area of competiton law. He's responsive and flexiblie in terms of budget."
"Paul and his team have been very helpful with our initial public offering on the Korean stock exchange. Yoon & Yang's capital market practice had a deep bench of practitioners with substantive experience and expertise to help us navigate through the Korean public listing rules and practice especially for a foreign company."
"This attorney effectively examined the laws and regulations of each country that could be beneficial to our company, reviewed cases, and made our arguments effectively."
"He has an excellent ability to analyse the strengths and weaknesses of the company and to persuade the court to make the claims of the company."
Sean Sinsung Yun
"Sean really understands regulators, and is able to maintain good working relationships with them to allow for positive communication."
Yulchon is best known for its M&A work and concomitant expertise in financial distress, hostile M&A and shareholder activism. Its capital markets practice has been gaining traction of late.
In the research period the firm has been active in the projects space advising on a high-end new city development projects in Vietnam, and in transport, renewable and conventional energy mandates. Its finance practice has kept busy with a host of aviation, real estate, shipping and acquisition finance deals.
It is in the capital markets where the firm has been bringing in the landmark deals. It acted on: the first transaction where an Indonesian company issued US dollar denominated bonds in Hong Kong; the first deal where a Korean credit card company issued hybrid bonds in the Korean bond market; and on a deal where that was the first time a Korean financial institution issued subordinated kangaroo bonds.
In the research period the firm bolstered its corporate practice with the hires of partners Seok Keun Lee, Seungbum Lee, Hwan Joon Heo, and Jong Youl Choi from Shinhan Bank, Kim & Chang, and the Financial Supervisory Service. Furthermore, the firm brought in capital markets partner Geen Kim from Lee & Ko, restructuring and insolvency partner Joo Heon Lee from the Seoul Bankruptcy Court, and competition partner Jeong Keun Yun from the Daejeon High Court. In the same period the firm also lost competition partner In Seon Choi to Kim & Chang and insolvency expert Jung Ik Cho.
Recent Deal Data highlights
•CGN Daesan 109MW biomass power plant
•Hyundai Card $267 million hybrid bond issue
•Lotte Thu Thiem eco-smart city
•Global Mediacom $40 million bond issue
•L’Oréal Group acquisition of Nanda
•Lotte Property $200 million bond issue
•Taean Enterprise city
•Shinhan Bank A$400 million SDI kangaroo bond issue
"Yulchon is always very fast and accurate. It provides what the client needs and in a timely fashion. Also, it reviews any new issues prior to the client's request." – Banking
"The firm offers prompt responses and accurate work." - Banking
"Our company mainly raises capital from abroad and so it is imperative that our legal counsel has experience working with investors. Yulchon has been very reliable throughout multiple capital raises for our company. It provides fair and coherent legal advice when negotiating terms and has ample experience with equity financing deals." – Capital markets: Equity
"The firm is very strong in competition matters with sophisticated and strategic partners." – Competition
"Yulchon is proactive and has deep knowledge of antitrust strategic thinking. It understands the business and the needs of multinational companies." – Competition
"I would willingly grant my top assessment to Yulchon's team under Mr Sung Bom Park and Mr Jeong Keun Yun, because its team has excellent teamwork and well-organised professional expertise." - Competition
"It is American-client friendly with several partners and associates having been trained in the US." – M&A
"Yulchon is passionate, professional and offers a devoted service catering to clients' needs." – M&A
"I am highly impressed with Yulchon as it has a top-class M&A team that fully meets the needs of a global company doing business in Korea. The team is nicely supplemented by other top-class practices, including antitrust, labour and tax. I can expect Yulchon to provide me with a high quality one-stop service that can satisfy both me and my colleagues." – M&A
"We have found Yulchon to be very knowledgeable and an expert in the field, but with a real pragmatism and understanding of clients' needs that goes beyond legal formalism. We have been very happy with its help and advice." – M&A
"Yulchon consistently exceeds my expectations." – Project development
"It has a very good grasp of legal expertise along with sensitive knowledge of Myanmar local practice. The firm also has a good relationship with government officials and a special capability of figuring out solutions when we faced an impasse during negotiations." – Project development
"It has strength in negotiating agreements with the government and enjoys a wide global network." – Project finance
Christopher Joon Tae Cho
"He has handled more cases than others in aviation finance. Who can compete with him in the number of cases? Thus, his answer is very prompt and quite right. In other fields, we can find other competing lawyers."
"He's excellent. Always one of the best lawyers to work with. Very client oriented and provides the best advice to clients."
"Christopher has great knowledge and offers prompt feedback. He understands our needs very well."
Cecil Saehoon Chung
"Cecil spent time in the US and therefore connects quite easily with US clients."
"Cecil is very friendly and approachable. He is an excellent technical lawyer with in-depth knowledge of regulations and market practices."
"He's very responsive and has a deep understanding of how multinational companies work and what they require."
"Cecil's expertise and depth of knowledge shows, but his pragmatic advice and client service really sets his practice apart from those of his peers."
"He is practical, works hard, and has good communication skills."
"My overall assessment is that I am highly satisfied with his work during our project development and negotiation. He has an extremely good grasp of subject matter in the legal field and also provided prompt consultation so many times. He is fully focused on coming up with solutions during negotiations with our clients."
"Lawyer Kim is very professional and he is one of the hardest working lawyers I have ever met. Because of his diligent work ethic, I am confident that he will ensure that he is looking into every single detail of a project and that he will not let anything simply slip by. Although he might not always have the answers right away, he tends to provide his thoughts and advice within a reasonable time frame."
"Nina is a trusted advisor and partner to our legal services department. She is a very strong lawyer representing the interests of our company."
Joon Hyung Kim
"He has great communication skills that were on full display when we made a deal with the Kingdom of Morooco. He also has great insight to deal with the overall project."
Kyoung Yeon Kim
"Kim displays dedication, knowledge and understanding of our business. She's a pleasure to deal with and on hand when needed."
"He offers very thorough reviews on documents and structures and has excellent knowledge."
Sung Bom Park
"Unlike many other lawyers, he has a very well-balanced understanding of real business as well as legal professional knowledge."
Jae Hyun Park
"Park has deep M&A experience, an expansive network, and creative troubleshooting ideas."
Tehyok Daniel Yi
"I highly recommend Daniel Yi. He is one of the best M&A lawyers in Korea who has been in the legal industry for about 20 years. He fully understands, and meets, the needs and requirements of a global company doing business in Korea, and his legal advice is always timely, practical and thorough. I am highly satisfied with him advising on complex transactions for us, whether the transaction targets Korea or elsewhere, based on my experience of working with him in multiple cross-border transactions in Korea, China and Japan. He is very smart and is highly committed to the client and I like his hands-on approach. He is my first choice when we need to seek our outside counsel's assistance in dealing with complex transactions or difficult legal issues."