More China Law Firms To Open In Korea

This piece of news was reported this week in Korea IT Times


Major Chinese Law Firms Set to Open Korean Offices

China’s large law firms are trying to move into the Korean market. In a situation where American and British law firms are fast encroaching on the market, it is likely to send another shock wave to domestic ones if the Chinese onslaught materializes in earnest. A partner with King & Wood Mallesons, Asia’s No. 1 law firm, said recently in an interview, “We are currently reviewing an idea of opening a representative office in Seoul after conclusion of the China-Korea free trade agreement.”

Even though Chinese law firms are not allowed to open a law office in Korea under current laws, they will be permitted to do so under the trade agreement expected to be in effect from next year. Other major Chinese law firms such as Dacheng and Zhong Lun are also likely to establish offices in partnership with local law firms.

From the viewpoint of Korean law firms, the entry of Chinese law firms in their own turf is perceived as threat. The heads of the Chinese law firms were quick to add, “Instead of competing head-on, we will try to work with Korean law firms under partnership arrangement.”

According to “The American Lawyer,” the U.S. magazine for legal professionals, in September this year, the number of attorneys at these three Chinese law firms of King & Wood Mallesons (2,596, No. 6 in the world), Dacheng (3,681, No. 3), and Zhong Lun (976, No. 45) is estimated at 7,253, which is about a third of all attorneys in Korea.