US firm White & Case will be opening their seventh office in Asia, and 39th globally, in South Korea. The opening follows more than 20 years since the establishment of a Korea practice within the firm. The launch in Seoul, South Korea aims at improving and strengthening this practice from a focal point in the country’s capital. The firm will be lead by partner James Lee who has 15 years of experience within the firm’s Korea practice and will relocate to the office in Seoul from its previous base in Los Angeles. Lee’s expertise in cross-boarder litigation will be combined with construction expertise from London partner Mark Goodrich. Hong Kong-based partner Kyungseok Kim will also be joining the team, who only recently joined the corporate team in March 2015, leaving Linklaters.
Hugh Verrier, Chairman at White & Case said, “Asia is a strategically important region for the Firm…We’ve had an active Korea practice for many years, and now the office in Seoul will allow us to provide on-the-ground support for our clients in their complex, cross-border work.” South Korea is a popular new destination for both US and UK firms. Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom and Stephenson Harwood have already made the move within the past 18 months while Latham & Watkins are currently in discussions about the possibility of opening an office there. Other firms are opting for partnerships with South Korean firms such as the alliance between Taylor Wessing and DR & AJU as well as Bird & Bird’s partnership with Hwang Mok Park.