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Asia Business Law Journal presents our top Korean law firms for 2022. Anindya Pithaloka and Lim Miran report

2022 saw South Korea’s steady path of economic recovery. Although inflation reached its highest rate since the 1997 Asian economic crisis, the country’s economy remains resilient, supported by robust external finances and a dynamic export sector.

Helping South Korean conglomerates to expand overseas, the country’s leading law firms have also been keeping pace by opening offices abroad, serving as strategic and legal advisers to companies entering international markets. South Korea’s biggest law firm, Kim & Chang, for example, has just opened a second Vietnam office, in Hanoi. Also taking the leap is DLG Law Corporation which at only five years old has established a new office in Vancouver.

Compared to its strong cultural influence across the globe, South Korea’s legal market only started to open up a decade ago as a part of free-trade agreements with the US and EU. Generally, foreign law firms in the country are still only allowed to advise in specialist areas such as IPOs, capital markets, inter-company litigation, antitrust cases or foreign investment-related matters.

This limitation seems likely to ease over time. One milestone was London-headquartered international law firm Ashurst launching the first legal joint venture with South Korean law firm HwaHyun in December 2022, becoming the first global law firm permitted to practise Korean law and hire local lawyers. This development is a significant step towards liberalising the legal market, with exciting diversification prospects worthy of closer attention.

Having considered all these developments, we have selected the best of the best for Asia Business Law Journal’s 2022 Korea Law Firm Awards. We identified four law firms we believe to be standouts, and among them one firm has risen to the top as our choice of Law Firm of the Year. In 30 other categories, including Best Foreign Law Firms, we have four winners of equal standing, listed in alphabetical order. One law firm is also recognised for making its presence felt as the Best Boutique Law Firm.

Law firm awards



Established in 1980 in Seoul by founding partner Kim In Sub, Bae Kim & Lee is one of the oldest and most decorated law firms in the country. The full-service law firm prides itself on having a diverse mix of South Korean and international attorneys, former government officials, and teams of experts and analysts in various practice areas including M&A, foreign investment, fair trade and competition, labour and employment, tax, IP, litigation, dispute resolution and arbitration.

The firm is also at the forefront of South Korean law firms’ rapid regional expansion, being the first to establish offices in Shanghai and the United Arab Emirates. Bae Kim & Lee today employs more than 710 professionals, including local and international lawyers, accountants and patent attorneys, in offices and liaison desks across Asia including Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Yangon, Jakarta and Dubai.

For clients looking to expand overseas, the law firm provides advice on local laws and practices based on their experience and close co-operation with networks in various jurisdictions. Its international reputation is further enhanced as the only South Korean member of World Law Group, an invitation-only international network of 20,000 lawyers from top-tier law firms worldwide.

The firm wrapped up 2022 on a high note by securing several major deals, one highlight being as legal adviser for LG Energy Solution in establishing a joint venture with Hyundai Motor Group to construct an electric vehicle (EV) battery cell production plant in Indonesia. With annual production capacity of 10GWh, the plant wiill target producing enough battery cells for more than 150,000 EVs annually from 2024. Apart from LG Group, the firm lists Kakao Bank, KEB Hana Bank, Hyundai Asset Management and Big Hit Entertainment among its clients.

“I think highly of Bae Kim & Lee’s four key merits in their legal services: professionalism, time accuracy, manner, and swift bilingual communication,” says Jason Wang, a partner at Global Law Office in Beijing.

Kang Jeong-Koo, GRE Partners Asset Management

Having been working with Bae Kim & Lee in various real estate-related cases, Kang Jeong-Koo, president of investment management company GRE Partners Asset Management in Seoul, recommends the firm for its professional and differentiated capabilities, as well as the unshakable trust from clients.

“I have personally experienced that Bae Kim & Lee has the excellent ability to always present the best choice and results tailored to the needs of clients based on a professional understanding of real estate-related laws and rich case experience,” says Kang.

“In addition, it has always played the role of a reliable partner so that I can make the right decision quickly by providing quick processing and insightful information through accurate customer-oriented consultation.”

David Lee, Naver

David Lee, chief privacy officer, data protection and privacy, security at South Korean internet conglomerate Naver in Seoul, agrees. “Bae Kim & Lee provides extraordinary insight into market conditions and reliable legal advice for customers in their policy decisions,” says Lee. “In addition to outstanding expertise regarding domestic legal issues, it has almost all the legal services needed to expand our business globally.

Kim & Chang was founded by Harvard graduate Kim Young Moo and former judge Chang Soo Kil in 1973, with a vision to create a South Korean law firm that followed American standards of legal service. The firm was also the first recruiter of foreign attorneys in the country, and is now the largest with more than 1,800 professionals.

Kim & Chang is a leader in providing a full range of equity and debt financing-related advice and services including project finance, acquisition finance, ship finance, real estate finance and debt market investments.

Aside from opening its second office in Vietnam, the past 12 months have been fruitful for the law firm, handling several major deals. Its IP team successfully defended LG Chem’s next-generation technologies and patents relating to soluble organic light-emitting diodes against two foreign competitors, filing for invalidation actions through a three-year legal battle.

The law firm also acted for Hanwha Energy in a complex cross-border restructuring of investment in solar farms in Australia, which also involved the transfer of assets from Hanwha Energy Singapore, securing AUD150 million (USD104 million) to expand the business in Australia.

Victor Shen, Henkel (China) Investment

“Over the years, Kim & Chang has demonstrated its premiership in full-scope legal services by a practical working approach, and client-oriented and high professionalism,” says Victor Shen, chief legal officer for North Asia at Henkel (China) Investment in Shanghai.

Adam Li, a partner at Chinese law firm JunHe in Shanghai, agrees. “I have been working with Kim & Chang closely in the past two years in almost every important deal with China, and they act professionally,” says Li.

Established in 1977, Lee & Ko is one of South Korea’s premier full-service law firms, employing about 780 professionals including domestic and foreign lawyers, accountants and patent attorneys. The law firm currently maintains eight legal practice groups: corporate, finance, dispute resolution, IP rights, tax, fair trade, labour, and criminal defence.

Headquartered in Seoul, the law firm provides services to clients in China, Japan, Southeast Asia, India, the Middle East, Russia, North and South America, and Europe, while maintaining representative offices in Beijing and Ho Chi Minh City.

In 2022, Lee & Ko experienced a managerial change when managing partner Kim Sang Gon was appointed new executive managing director, overseeing further expansion. The law firm also opened a new office in Pangyo, dubbed the “Silicon Valley of South Korea” for the abundance of IT companies headquartered in the city.

Recently, Lee & Ko’s litigation team won a case representing three out of four of South Korea’s largest virtual asset exchanges (Dunamu, Korbit and Coinone) against Wemix, a global blockchain gaming platform, seeking termination of Wemix coins.

Other major transactions included: providing legal advice related to bond issuance to the Korea Development Bank in its issuance of about USD2 billion in global bonds; Lotte Property & Development’s issuance of USD300 million in bonds; and Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power’s issuance of USD700 million in bonds. The law firm also represented LG Energy Solution in a joint venture with Honda Motor to build a USD4.4 billion lithium-ion battery plant for EVs in the US.

Shin & Kim was established in 1981 as Lim Shin & Kim, with attorney Shin Young Moo as managing partner. In 1983, it adopted the name Shin & Kim. The law firm prides itself on providing tailored legal solutions that address core issues rather than achieving short-term gains, taking into consideration the client’s corporate culture and commercial objectives.

With more than 700 professionals comprising domestic and foreign lawyers, accountants, patent attorneys and tax accountants, Shin & Kim provides legal services across all industry sectors, but focusing on eight practice areas: corporate, finance, litigation and arbitration, antitrust and competition, international trade and customs, tax, criminal defence, and IP.

As a leader in cross-border M&A transactions, landmark M&A transactions in the past 12 months have included: Chubb’s acquisition of LINA Life Insurance, Cigna Korea and LINA Financial Service in a deal valued at USD5.75 billion; the reorganisation of Kakao Group, with a value of USD709 million; and Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC’s USD1.175 billion investment in Starbucks Coffee Korea.

Shin & Kim clients include large South Korean conglomerates and premier financial institutions such as Samsung Group, SK, CJ, Lotte, Hanwha, Shinhan and Woori, as well as foreign companies like Google and Amazon, as well as promising local startups. The law firm also represents major power generation companies including Korea Hydro & Nuclear, Korea Midland Power, Korea Southern Power, K-Water, Korea Investment Corporation and Korea Western Power.

Park Yoonkyung, Samsung Biologics

Shin & Kim has obtained an ISO 27001 Information Security Management System certification from Norway DNV, a world-class certification body, acknowledging the law firm’s information security management.

Shin & Kim is a law firm that finds solutions optimised for client needs,” says Park Yoonkyung, senior legal counsel at a biotechnology company Samsung Biologics in Seoul. “It is a law firm that strives to find the necessary path for clients when they need it most, and gives them a feeling of growing and achieving together.”

A legal manager of a Korea-based airport operation company, who wants to remain anonymous, agrees. “Shin & Kim has the ability to provide comprehensive and efficient solutions to legal issues in various fields encountered in the process of airport operation, such as taxation, transportation, communication, real estate, and regulation.”


In quite a short time since its formation in 2020, Peter & Kim has become a leading boutique international arbitration firm, bringing together dedicated practitioners from civil and common law practices in Switzerland, South Korea, Australia and Singapore. Founded by senior partner Kevin Kim Kap You in Seoul and partner Wolfgang Peter in Geneva, the law firm employs a multinational ensemble of 13 partners, three senior counsel, two of counsel, three counsel, 16 associates, and seven foreign attorneys.

The law firm advises parties in contractual disputes, as well as disputes arising from foreign direct investments under bilateral and multilateral investment treaties, and public international law. Peter & Kim has represented clients before all the major international and regional arbitral institutions, as well as specialised arbitrations before the London Maritime Arbitrators Association, Court of Arbitration for Sport (Tribunal Arbitral du Sport) and the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID).

In particular, the firm is experienced in handling M&A contract disputes, international construction and engineering projects, distribution and agency agreements, franchising and licensing contracts, joint venture agreements, commodities transactions and long-term supply contracts.

The law firm acted as counsel in an investment treaty arbitration filed in 2018 by Swiss-based elevator maker Schindler against the South Korean government in connection to its investment in Hyundai Elevator. In 2022, it also acted as counsel in an ICSID arbitration under South Korea and Belgium-Luxembourg bilateral investment treaties, involving a claim against the South Korean government for more than USD5 billion.

American law firm Greenberg Traurig entered South Korea in 2013 to operate under the Foreign Legal Consultant Act. Managing shareholder Kim Chang Joo has helmed the Seoul office ever since, delivering integrated services in IP and related litigation work, as well as M&A and foreign direct investment transactions.

The law firm’s core team comprises five shareholders and two associates. As a foreign legal consultant office, Greenberg Traurig provides legal advice regarding US law, treaties with the US, and universally recognised customary international law. The firm’s Korean-speaking attorneys are also adept with local business and regulatory systems, supported by strong relationships with established domestic law firms and other professional services firms.

Among 2022 highlights, the firm advised car parts company Hyundai Mobis in product liability suits in Georgia and Louisiana courts in the US concerning alleged defects in airbag products. They also acted as legal adviser for Korea Investment Corporation’s strategic partnership with US-headquartered Golub Capital, in a move to bolster its alternative investment portfolio.

Kobre & Kim is a global disputes and investigations law firm established in New York in 2003 by two former Manhattan federal prosecutors, Steven Kobre and Michael Kim. The law firm is particularly well equipped to advise South Korean and other regional clients on matters involving interaction with US regulatory authorities, bolstered by a total of 426 professionals operating out of offices in the US, Hong Kong, South Korea, China, the British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Cyprus, the UAE, UK and Israel.

Among notable victories, back in 2014 when advising South Korean clients, the firm’s Washington team won dismissal for the Korea Advanced Institute of Technology from a civil action in the US District Court for the District of New Jersey, involving a partnership dispute over development of mobile ship-docking technologies. Another was the firm’s Hong Kong team securing favourable results for a South Korean company in a Singapore International Arbitration Centre claim against a US company in a substantial JV dispute.

With its global team, Kobre & Kim has been seamlessly assisting clients in various cross-border disputes in major international arbitration seats. The firm’s criminal and regulatory practice often involves simultaneous investigations by law enforcement authorities in several countries. Taking pride in its conflict-free profile, the firm can aggressively pursue claims against virtually any institution in high-stakes litigation.

Paul Hastings has been representing South Korean companies since the 1970s, and finally opened its Seoul office in 2012. The law firm has been involved in some of the most complicated litigation and landmark M&A transactions in the region, including the sale of Walmart Korea to South Korean department store franchise Shinsegae in 2006, and Samsung’s USD8 billion acquisition of American audio electronics company Harman in 2016.

Recently in July, Paul Hastings assisted South Korea’s healthcare company SD Biosensor and South Korean private equity fund SJL Partners in their definitive merger agreement to acquire the Nasdaq-listed US diagnostic manufacturer Meridian Bioscience in a USD1.53 billion transaction. In January 2022, Paul Hastings advised battery maker LG Energy Solution on its USD10.8 billion global offering and listing on the Korea Exchange.

Led by corporate partner and chair Kim Dong Chul, the Seoul office advises South Korean companies doing business overseas and international clients doing business in the country, providing strategic local support and seamless access to the law firm’s global resources. The office has more than 25 Korean-speaking attorneys focusing on M&A, capital markets, technology transactions, leveraged finance, IP and commercial litigation, IP licensing, and white-collar crime.

White & Case opened its Seoul office in 2015, but has been advising South Korean clients for more than four decades. Executive partner Kang Sungjin heads the office, assisting conglomerates, financial institutions and state-owned enterprises in large-scale international projects and investments.

In the past 12 months, the law firm has advised Swedish fibre optic company Hexatronic on the acquisition of South Korean telecoms microduct supplier KNET, and also acted as a legal adviser to South Korea’s largest defence company, Hanwha Defense, and Korea Aerospace in two multi-billion US dollar deals with the Ministry of National Defence of Poland.

Boutique law firm Choi & Kim was established in 1997 to focus on maritime and insurance law, before expanding their practice to litigation and aviation matters, including representation of air carriers in defence of claims resulting from major air accidents, and various disputes arising from air transportation. Among their clients are Hyundai Marine & Fire Insurance and Zurich Insurance.

The law firm is also experienced in litigation concerning interpretation of Warsaw Convention rules relating to international carriage by air, terms of air waybills, and cargo misdelivery.

Mostly renowned as a leading law firm for shipping and corporate matters, Moon & Song is also acknowledged for its expertise in aviation. The law firm offers legal services for multi-jurisdictional claims for cargo misdelivery or damage, aviation liability, insurance and reinsurance, and recovery claims based on the Warsaw Convention. It also advises airlines and their insurers regarding passenger transportation. Shipping lawyer Moon Kwang Myeong has been managing partner since establishing the firm in 2006, with the support of partners Song Hun and Lee Sang Hwa.

Yoon & Yangwas formally established in 2003 through a merger of two prominent law firms, Yoon & Partners (founded in 1989) and Roh & Yang (founded in 1993). The law firm has offices in Seoul, Tashkent, Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi and Jakarta.

As one of South Korea’s premier full-service law firms providing comprehensive legal solutions to clients around the world in all areas of legal practice, Yoon & Yang has big global brands among its roster of clients including Cathay Pacific, Korean Air, Microsoft and Samsung.

The law firm offers advice on disputes related to aircraft funds, including those among freight forwarders, air carriers and insurers arising due to damaged air freight or multinational logistics. Most recently, its aviation team of eight was bolstered by veteran aviation lawyer Helen Sohn as senior foreign attorney.

Its litigation and arbitration practice offers comprehensive legal services associated with aviation, corporate law and administrative litigation, among others.

Established in 1997, Yulchon is a full-service law firm with more than 600 professionals. The firm’s competition and antitrust group comprises local attorneys, foreign legal consultants and former government officials, providing advice on domestic and cross-border matters including abuse of market dominance and cartel issues, and global merger reviews.

The law firm has represented South Korean antitrust authorities in overseas matters, as well as assisting international companies such as Delta Air Lines, Microsoft and Qualcomm. Recently, Yulchon assisted PCL, a South Korean medical company, to obtain marketing approval from the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety for a covid-19 self-test kit that utilises saliva testing, the first of its kind to be approved for use by the public.

DR & AJU was founded in 2009 from the merger of two law firms, Daeryook and AJU. The full-service law firm provides expertise in a wide range of practice areas, and includes a data privacy and cybersecurity group staffed with former judges of the patent court, IP lawyers and technology experts.

The law firm also provides legal advice on South Korea’s Personal Information Protection Act and Information and Communications Network Act, including cases of personal information leakage and violations of these acts.

Energy and resources is a highly specialised area requiring professional knowledge combined with industrial and regional expertise. Through years of accumulating industrial expertise through research, experience and knowledge, Jipyong advises South Korean energy companies looking to expand their international business, including Korea Mineral Resources Corporation, Korea Western Power and Hyundai Energy & Resources.

Since its founding in 2000, Jipyong continues to grow with offices in China, Southeast Asia and Russia. A former chief judge of Gwangju District Court, Yoon Sung Won, was appointed managing partner last year as the firm relocated its Seoul office to a more strategic location in the heart of the city.

  • DLG Law Corporation
  • LIN

2022 was a busy year for DLG Law Corporation, establishing a new office in Vancouver to become the first South Korean law firm with a presence in Canada, and advising startups and technology-based businesses looking to broaden their international reach.

Heading the new office is Jay Shin, a partner with more than 25 years of experience representing South Korean and international corporations in M&A, project financing, banking, real estate, energy and resource transactions.

Among several notable achievements in the past year, the law firm utilised its understanding and experience in non-fungible token (NFT) products to provide exclusive contracts granting digital marketplace rights to issue and sell NFT artworks. The firm also reviewed financial regulations and legal risks related to the NFT-based secured loan service partnership business.

Established in 1993 as Hwang Mok Park PC, HMP Law is headed by managing partners Mok Kun Su, Roh Jae Kwan, and Park Kyun Je. With a focus on cross-border transactions, general corporate affairs, M&A and healthcare, the law firm has in recent years extended its service offerings to include IP protection and litigation, tax accounting and franchising.

Their technology and communications team advises on current or potential legal issues arising from numerous breakthrough technologies that are rapidly evolving. The firm was official legal partner of the Korea e-Sports Association for the national e-sports team during the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games. The team has also represented foreign and South Korea-based clients including WPP/Ogilvy, DHL, Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca, Korea Airports Corporation and Hyundai PowerTech.

LIN was founded in 2017 with only 16 lawyers and has grown to more than 110 including local and foreign patent attorneys, and accountants. Financial services lawyer Lim Jin Seok heads the firm as managing partner, after more than 20 years as a senior partner at Kim & Chang.

Recently, the law firm helped South Korea’s Ministry of Science and Information and Communications Technologies set up a big data platform for small and medium-sized enterprises, as well as advising on compliance issues with the Korea Data Agency.

The firm also advises media, sports and entertainment industries on finance, borrowing, investment and corporate issues, rights acquisitions, staging and exploiting live sports and other events, IP protection and enforcement, regulatory and administrative issues, antitrust and competition law, and resolution of disputes.

Overseas partnerships have also been established with Poland’s KBZ Law Firm and Biz Legal Group in Vietnam.

“LIN understands the root of true change, with in-depth knowledge and an innovative business mindset in new industries such as information and communications technology, artificial intelligence, mobility, and fintech,” says Alex Ryu, a joint-CEO of a ride-hailing platform Kakao Mobility in Seoul.

“The firm provides accurate and specific advice on complex and multilayered issues, always keeping the promises despite the tight deadlines as well as the quality that exceeds expectations.”

Alex RyuLeo Sun, an associate at an international law firm Dunlap Bennett & Ludwig in Richmond, agrees.

“Every time I worked with LIN, I was impressed by the way in which the firm competently explained how relevant Korean laws would apply to the issue at hand in each case,” says Sun. “Also, their timely responses to my inquiries and demeanour when offering guidance related to the areas of their expertise, including arbitration and IP practices, reflect the firm’s outstanding professionalism.”

A director of the legal department at South Korea’s export credit agency, who wants to remain anonymous, says LIN stands out in many fields for the vast experiences and know-how accumulated by its lawyers.

“Lawyers at LIN have been working for a long time in major judicial institutions, preemptively recruiting personnel with experience and know-how and establishing a dedicated team to respond to financial-related legal demands in a timely manner,” says the director. “LIN is well-received in a wide range of business areas in providing high-quality legal advice to respond to the demand for business digitalisation in the financial sector.”

Through its business, finance and technology practice, OhKims Law supports clients with solutions for technology and finance-related issues, helping them stay updated on the latest regulatory changes and challenges of new technologies, including cryptocurrencies and blockchain.

Paul Oh, one of the founders and managing partners, has worked with many fintech and technology companies, including advising blockchain companies on initial coin offerings, and arbitration related to hacking of a blockchain exchange. Another founder and managing partner, Thomas Kim Yeong Bom, was a licensed dentist and is experienced in advising biomedical, healthcare, pharmaceutical and life science companies, as well as various government entities.


Founded in 1998, Barun Law has become one of the fastest-growing law firms in South Korea, distinguished by its dispute resolution and litigation team, with almost all of its partners being former judges or prosecutors.

Most recently among these, the law firm welcomed Koh Jin Won, a former senior prosecutor of the antitrust and competition investigation division of the Seoul Central District Prosecutors Office, as a partner.

K1 Chamber is probably the youngest law firm among this year’s entries, established in 2021 with the merger of law firms Rhi & Partners and Soo Jeong Jae, and helmed by managing partners Park Soo Man, Kang Il Won and Rhi Jihn.

Kang, a former constitutional court justice and high court judge, leads administrative and public law litigation, handling pre-disposition submissions, statements of opinions, and applications for provisional injunctions.

  • SHIN & KIM

Koreana Patent Firm started as Joon Koo Lee & Partners in 1970, founded by the late Lee Joon Koo, a patent attorney and former commissioner of patents with the Korean Intellectual Property Office, and president of the Korea Patent Attorneys Association.

Renamed Koreana Patent Firm in 1990, it has grown into one of South Korea’s largest patent firms with more than 200 employees including seven managing partners and more than 60 of the best-qualified patent attorneys and engineers, many with doctoral degrees in their respective technical fields.

Since its inception in 1985, YP Lee Mock & Partners has become one of the most prominent IP law firms in South Korea, with about 410 professionals including more than 205 patent attorneys and attorneys at law, and five senior partners.

Led by founder and managing partner Lee Young Pil, the law firm is renowned for its handling of IP disputes, including the high-profile Samsung Electronics v Apple, settled in 2018 after a seven-year legal battle.

  • NAM & NAM

AJU Kim Chang & Lee was founded in 1965 by the late Park CH, a former commissioner of the Korean Intellectual Property Office, and has grown into one of South Korea’s leading IP law firms.

In 2009, the firm established a partnership with general law practice Kim Chang & Lee and was renamed AJU Kim Chang and Lee, providing comprehensive legal services. Providing tailored advice on application and prosecution of patents, the law firm also has a working group focused on the prevention of copyright infringement and piracy.

Dentons Lee was formed in 2020, combining global law firm Dentons and South Korean patent specialist law firm Lee International IP & Law Group, which was established in 1961. The combination gives Lee International exposure to foreign companies requiring legal services with greater accessibility for Dentons to assist South Korean clients in expanding their businesses globally.

The law firm continued expanding in 2022 with Park Ki Soon, former president of the Samsung Economic Research Institute in Beijing, joining as an adviser to the China practice group based in Seoul. He brings experience in advising South Korean companies on entering the Chinese market, as well as government-related issues.

Well-equipped to assist clients in IP litigaton and copyrights registration, the law firm is also experienced in defending clients accused of IP rights infringement, supported by a wide knowledge of legal issues including brand management, trademarks, copyright, patents, unfair competition, designs, trade secret protection and domain names.

Nam & Nam celebrated its 70th anniversary in 2022, making it the oldest IP law firm in South Korea. The firm provides patent, trademark, design and copyright services, supported by professionals with expertise in electronics, telecoms, aerospace, automotive, chemistry, biotech and pharmaceuticals.

Park Sang Ki and Ben Yuu serve as managing partners, with Park covering the legal and litigation practice and Yuu specialising in patent and design. Supported by more than 190 professionals including experts from the US, UK, Germany, Japan and China, the law firm has handled about 7,500 patent applications in the past three years.

You Me Patent & Law Firm was founded in 1981 by IP lawyer Kim Won Ho with just a handful of professionals. More than four decades later, it has grown to more than 300 legal professionals, including international lawyers, becoming one of the largest international IP firms in the country. It is named after the philosophy of cultivating a personal relationship between client (“you”) and lawyer (“me”).

In the past 12 months, the firm has handled more than 4,900 patent applications and more than 2,100 trademark applications filed in South Korea, one of the highest filing rates with the Korean Intellectual Property Office.

LAB Partners was established in 2018 to provide a one-stop service in all major practice areas including corporate, finance and fintech, private equity and venture capital, labour and employment, internal investigations and compliance, tax, and litigation.

The law firm’s private equity and venture capital team includes lawyers from the US, UK, Hong Kong and Japan, with expertise in private equity funds and venture capital, and providing integrated legal services on the establishment and registration of onshore and offshore funds, investments and portfolio management in various industries, and post-merger integration advice to ensure against legal risk.

Kwon & Co was established in 2001 by maritime lawyer Kwon Tae Il, with the support of senior associate Jeong Suyeon and associates Evangeline J Bang and Kim Juhyun. The law firm is acclaimed for specialising in cargo claims, and collisions and groundings of vessel cases, as well as the full range of maritime law issues.

Kwon & Co is well-equipped to handle damages claims as well as criminal and maritime tribunal cases. Kwon is particularly well known for his experience in charter party disputes and rehabilitation proceedings, while senior associate Jeong deals with vessel arrest cases.

Since founding in 1992, Sechang & Co has been offering first-class legal services to international and local clients, helping them navigate the intricacies of domestic and foreign law, cross-border transactions, and the South Korean regulatory framework.

Founder and senior partner Kim Hyun leads a team of 13 attorneys and legal professionals renowned for specialist expertise in transportation and maritime law. Sechang is trusted by multinational clients and government institutions, exclusively representing major global container lessors.

The law firm is also legal adviser to the Korea Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Incheon Port Authority, the Korean Society of Ship Inspection and Technology, and Korea Marine Police.

Leo Sun LIN

  • LEE & KO

Cho & Partners was established in 2002 by Cho Tae Yeon and Seo Ik Hyun, both formerly senior members of Lee International IP & Law Group, and is one of the country’s most prominent specialist trademark law firms. Cho has served on the executive committee for South Korea’s Domain Name Dispute Resolution Committee, a government body that administers domain name disputes, while Seo serves as a panellist for the World Intellectual Property Organisation for generic top-level domain disputes.

Active in both domestic and international prosecutions for trademarks and patents, as well as related disputes and administrative proceedings, the law firm has a strong client base of multinational companies, representing some of the most recognised names in software and computer technology, retail, fashion and luxury goods, and energy.

The judging process

The winners of Asia Business Law Journal’s Korea Law Firm Awards were selected based on votes, references and qualitative information received from in-house counsel and other legal professionals in South Korea and around the world.

A voting form was posted on our website, and thousands of in-house counsel, lawyers at international law firms and other South Korea-focused professionals were invited to vote. At the same time, South Korean law firms were asked to make submissions in support of their candidacy for awards. These submissions, combined with research by Asia Business Law Journal’s editorial team, played a supporting role in the judging process.

All South Korean law firms were automatically eligible for inclusion in the awards process. As always, there were no entry fees or any other requirements for entry.

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