Lawyers Not Doing So Well In Korea

The global downturn has also affected the legal market quite severely in Korea..

The English edition of Chosun reveals the effects the recession is having on the Korean legal industry .. although it’s worth noting that some duplicity and stupidity also seems to be playing its part… as you’ll see from the following extract of the article Chosun published..

Law firms in Korea are said to be inundated with resumes, with applications up five to six-fold compared to last year.

With the exception of a few large law firms, the situation is no different in Korea. Recently, a rumor spread within the legal community that the wife of a lawyer was working as a maid in order to pay for her child’s private crammers. Some lawyers have reportedly run away after being censured by the Labor Ministry for failing to pay staff and becoming credit delinquents. One young female lawyer, who had been in the legal business for three years, earned only W2 million (US$1=W1,238) a month as a hired attorney. Her boss claimed he could not afford to pay her and suggested she work double time for another lawyer. She quit and, after taking a two-month break, found a job at a small company. With the opening of Korea’s legal market, foreign law firms are rushing in, while accountants, patent attorneys and even judicial scriveners are demanding their share of cases, driving the industry into an era of unfettered competition.

Last year, a well-known female lawyer who had been a guest speaker on a legal quiz TV program was sued by her clients for having offered a shoddy service after she didn’t show up in court, even though she was paid. Two years ago, a prosecutor-turned-lawyer was indicted after being implicated in a plot to kidnap a golf club owner.

And we’d like to add.  Informally we’ve heard quite a few dodgy practices going on at Korean law firms. On more than one occasion we’ve learnt of firms swapping sides half way through a matter and representing the other side. As far as we can work out, it happens something like this … start representing a foreign entity in a matter between foreign entity and local entity. Half way through .. decide to change sides and represent the local entity. Enough said