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Jun 27, 2011

The British are Coming: U.K. Law Firms in Korea

One if by Land and Two if by Sea, the British Law Firms are Coming and They are Talking to little Ole Me. Ok, enough of my poor "joke of the week."

The KOR-EU FTA passed and thus British law firms will be able to setup shop in Korea over a five-year three-stage phase-in period.  All of the leading British firms have begun building relationships with an eye to formal partnerships in the future.

KOR-US FTA, however, has stalled because of opposition of some prominent lawmakers in the liberal parties.  The two FTAs are very similar and the opposition has more to do with politics and liberal Nationalism than the contents of the FTA.   American law firms, because of this reality, may be left in the cold. 

We have been approached by many of the British and U.S. firms requesting meetings concerning how to structure a relationship with my team at IPG Legal.

From these meetings, I have found that my team, since it operates in a manner similar to international law firms is much more attractive to the international firms than the top-heavy ubiquitous Korean firms because of these firms' low earnings per attorney and unwillingness to structure into firms with international standards of case management and representation.

I have been informed by clients and these firms that they have noticed that they have noticed no quality shift over the past few years, however, some of these firms noted, to me, that they fear breaking their present relationships out of a fear that they will lose present Korean clients formerly referred by these firms.  I think a happy client will never leave a firm and the Korean clients are also, generally, not happy with their Korean firm, thus, building the opportunity for the Korean law firm to loose your happy Korean client.

We are likely to see some announcements in the near future. 

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SeanHayes@ipglegal.com