National
Three foreign law firms file to establish branches
Published : May 7, 2012 - 19:58
Updated : May 7, 2012 - 19:58
Three foreign law firms have passed primary inspection to establish overseas branches here, and are now waiting for the official approval from the government.

The Ministry of Justice on Monday said it has received formal applications to gain licenses as advisers on foreign law from Ropes & Gray, Shepperd Mullin and Clifford Chance.

The final authorization is expected to be made by the end of the month. But taking into account other administrative affairs, the branch operations take off until July or August, critics said.

Clifford Chance said it will appoint Brian Cassidy, who currently works for the firm’s Beijing Office, as the branch chief, while Ropes & Gray and Shepperd Mullin are reportedly considering American bar license holders, William Kim and Seth Kim for the same position at their firms, respectively. The three made an oath to abide by Korean law and make sincere business operations.

The three firms have passed the primary screening procedure, which received a total of 13 applications, mostly from American and British firms seeking business opportunities here after the Korea-U.S. and Korea-EU free trade agreements became effectuated. The three firms have high reputations, capital and extensive networks.

U.S. firms will begin with advising Korean firms about international affairs till 2014, and then will jointly handle cases and share profits by March 2017. From then, foreign firms will be allowed to establish joint ventures and hire Korean lawyers.

By Bae Ji-sook (baejisook@heraldcorp.com)
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