South Korea

IFLR1000 Reviews

Financial and corporate
Bae Kim & Lee

Established in 1980, Bae Kim & Lee is a strong Korean independent law firm with over 500 professionals and offices in Seoul, Beijing, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Yangon, and Dubai.

 

Focusses / specialisms  

The firm is best known for its M&A work where it has one of the largest corporate teams in the country, and is very active in restructuring and insolvency, capital markets, finance, and project development.

 

Key clients   

Key clients of the firm include Affinity Equity Partners, CapitaLand Investment Management, Hana Financial Investment, KB Securities, NH Investment & Securities, The Korea Development Bank, The Carlyle Group, Citigroup Global Markets, Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs, and Korean Ministry of Economy and Finance.

 

Research period review: 32nd edition (2021/2022)    

The banking and finance practice of the firm was active advising lenders and borrowers in financing and regulatory mandates relating to acquisition finance, project finance, and real estate finance.

In the capital markets the firm has been very active advising mega-scale IPO deals during the last research cycle. High profile cases include LG Energy Solution, Kakao Bank and Krafton. It is worth mentioning that the firm advised LG Energy Solution’s IPO which is Korea’s biggest-ever IPO. The debt team also stays active in advising on bond note issuances such as sovereign bonds, green bonds, convertible and hybrid securities.

The M&A team has been active in advising platform-business M&A and cross-border M&A transactions as well as joint venture activities.

In the project space, the firm was active in offshore wind and overseas infrastructure sectors where equity investors and project developers were often advised. 

In the restructuring space, the firm continues to advise high profile restructuring and insolvency proceedings and actively cooperate with global international law firms including Latham & Watkins, DLA Piper, and Baker & McKenzie.

There were several staff changes during the last research cycle. Partner Young Ju PARK and advisor Tae Seok ROH joined the firm’s banking and finance practice from the Financial Supervisory Service. In the capital markets and restructuring spaces, the firm hired senior advisor Seung Bae PARK and expert advisor Yeon Chae YANG from Korea Exchange.

The corporate team brought in partner Woong Ryol Baek from Lee & Ko and Senior foreign attorney Albert. SUH from Fresenius Medical Care following the departure of partner Jongkwon Ryoo to Yulchon, senior foreign attorney Yu Song ZHAO, Michael H. Lee and Chuanghua JIN. 

 

Deal highlights: 32nd edition (2021/2022) 

INSPIRE Entertainment Resort in the Incheon Free Economic Zone $880 million project financing

LG Energy Solution $10.7 billion KRX IPO

KakaoBank $2.2 billion KRX IPO

DoubleDown Interactive $120 million NASDAQ IPO

Export-Import Bank of Korea $3 billion green bonds issue

SK Hynix $9 billion acquisition of Intel’s NAND memory and storage business

Samcheok Blue PowerS$4.3 billion coal-fired power plant in South Korea

 

Client Feedback: 32nd edition (2022/2023)     

Bank lending: Lender side

"They always provided legal expertise within limited timelines. Communication skills with agent/borrower’s counterparties is also fantastic."

 

Banking and finance

"Excellent client service, responsiveness and commercial advice. High level of execution and transaction management, including with our co-investors."

 

Capital markets: Debt

"BKL are very responsive to client requests. They are also very good in their technical knowledge of Korean law, while also being commercially sensitive to client needs."

 

Capital markets: Equity

"The team has unrivalled experience in the Korean capital market, and provides pre-emptive solutions by thinking first from the customer’s point of view."

 

M&A

"Based on the two BKL attorneys (Sungjo Yun, Hyunchul An) I have experienced, they have a very high level of experience and knowledge in M&A and PE, and at the same time have an understanding of the public sector."

 

Private equity

"Sound and balanced advice. Attentive team. Prompt response to requests."

  

Heesug Chung

"Outstanding client-facing service, proactiveness and willingness to go above and beyond for client solutions, legal advice and successful transaction closing."

 

Mi Eun ROH

"She is very responsive and client service focused."

 

Young Jin Ha

"Provides the best options for customers to consider, based on their expertise and proficiency in transactions within the Korean capital market."

 

Hyunchul An

"Among the professionals whom I've met including lawyers, accountants, bankers and consultants, I think Mr An has shown the best professionalism.

i) I could contact him immediately at any time, regardless of time and place.

ii) There was feedback on simple questions or comments that could be extensive.

iii) He also looked up related literature or checked with other lawyers to give the best opinions on questions about practice areas other than his specialty."

 

Ho Kyung Chang

"Excellent client service and proactive attitude to all aspects of the transaction, including problem-solving and ensuring all interests were covered."

 

Annie Eunah Lee

"She has very good communication skills and meets customers’ requirements. She always provided qualified opinion in a timely manner."

Greenberg Traurig

Greenberg Traurig Foreign Legal Consultant Office is in Seoul. It is one of the offices of Greenberg Traurig, an international law firm with 43 offices in key commercial centers in the United States, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia.  

 

Focusses / specialisms 

The firm has the capabilities and experience to guide businesses through every stage of international business. Key capabilities include banking and financial services, insurances, blockchain and digital assets. 

 

Key clients     

Key clients include HSBC, Standard Chartered Bank, The Korea Development Bank, Hanwha Life Insurance and DoubleDown Interactive. 

 

Research period review: 32nd edition (2021/2022) 

The firm was active in capital market deals during the research period. It acted for managers and issuers in cross-board bond and note programme, debenture issue and depository receipts.  

An eye-catching mandate saw the firm advised the first Tier II offering as a sustainability bond by a Korean insurance company. Another significant mandate saw the firm advised the first IPO of ADSs by a Korean company since 2005. 

 

Deal highlights: 32nd edition (2021/2022)  

DoubleDown Interactive $113 million NASDAQ IPO 

Hanwha Life Insurance $750 million 3.379% Tier II Subordinated sustainability securities  

 

JIPYONG

JIPYONG is an independent Korean firm with over 200 professionals. Based in Seoul, the firm has further offices in Yeouido, Suncheon, Busan, Shanghai, Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Jakarta, Phnom Penh, Vientiane, Yangon, and Moscow.

 

Focusses / specialisms  

The firm is known for its work in M&A, equity capital markets, projects, restructuring and insolvency.

 

Key clients   

Key clients of the firm include Korea Development Bank, DB Financial Investment, KB Securities, Kookmin Bank, Hanyang Securities, SK , and Daemyung Energy.

 

Research period review: 32nd edition (2021/2022)    

During the last research cycle, the finance team was active in project finance, acquisition finance, real estate finance, aircraft financing, ship financing, and financial leases of large-scale machinery and equipment. The firm also advised on ABS, ABCP, and ABL transactions and often provides regulatory advice to clients in fintech, blockchain, and cryptocurrency.

In the capital markets, the firm was preoccupied with IPO cases and handled several foreign companies on their listing on the KRX. The firm was also involved in bond swaps, convertible shares issues, ABL, and FRNs often acting for issuers. 

The corporate team was busy with acquisitions, mergers, spin-offs, and asset transfer transactions in oil and gas, financial services, industrial and manufacturing, food and beverage, construction and materials, and consumer goods and services area.

In the projects space, the firm was active in cross-border transactions and participated in outbound investments by Korean private companies and state-owned power generation companies in solar power, offshore and onshore wind. 

 

Deal highlights: 32nd edition (2021/2022)  

SK  W2 trillion real estate financing through REITs for acquisitions of SK Group headquarters and nation-wide SK gas stations 

Incheon Wonchang-dong Logistics Center Development Project W210 billion financing

Seoul Seongnae Shopping Multi-Complex Development ProjectW210.3 billion refinancing with asset-backed securities (ABS)

ILJIN Materials W 300 billion bond swap between the overseas intermediary financial holding company and the Malaysian subsidiary

BioPlus W 441 billion KOSDAK listing

SK Materials W 1.5747 trillion physical division and merger into SK

SK ecoplant acquisition of DDS

Kim & Chang

Kim & Chang is the largest law firm in Korea with 1600 professionals. Founded in 1973, the firm now has further offices in Hong Kong, Vietnam, and Singapore. 

Focusses / specialisms  

Kim & Chang is a household name in the Korean legal market and excels in all transactional matters across M&A, private equity, finance, capital markets, project development and restructuring and insolvency. 

Key clients   

Key clients of the firm include MBK Partners, Samsung C&T, GS Energy, Woori Bank, The Korea Development Bank, Korea Trade Insurance, BNP Paribas, Credit Suisse, SK Hynix, eBay, MBK Partners, and Posco Energy. 

Research period review: 32nd edition (2021/2022)    

During the research cycle, the firm’s finance practice was active advising on financing and refinancing mandates for clients in different jurisdictions such as South Korea, the US, Canada, Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Australia, and the Netherlands. The firm is also involved in acquisition finance and project finance for lenders and borrowers in the energy, oil and gas, Industrials and manufacturing, and aviation sectors. 

In the capital markets the firm was preoccupied with IPO cases advising issuers. One notable deal involved acting as special Korean counsel on Coupang’s listing, which was the largest IPO on the New York Stock Exchange by a foreign company since Alibaba Group’s initial public offering listing in 2014. In the debt capital markets, the firm was busy handling sovereign bond issues, covered bond issues, bond/note buy-backs, RMBS, ABS, convertible and hybrid securities primarily for issuers and underwriters.

The M&A team was particularly active in cross-border private acquisitions and divestments for both the buy and sell sides including SK Hynix’s acquisition of Intel’s NAND SSD business and Korean Airlines’ acquisition of shares of Asiana airlines.

The project team acted in social infrastructure, LNG, solar energy, and offshore wind projects where its clients were in South Korea, Turkey, Australia, Canada, UAE, and the US.

The banking and finance team added three new attorneys including attorney Jung Won CHAE hired from Lee & Ko, foreign attorney Bong-Sang CHO hired from Clifford Chance, and Joshua S. LEE hired from Ashurst in 2021.

The projects team welcomed attorney Dong-Seok (Johan) OH hired from KL Partners, Jin Seong LEE hired from Korea Electric Power, and Dae-Hyuk CHOI hired from Shin & Kim.

Attorney Hee-Joong KIM joined the restructuring team from Suwon District Court. 

Deal highlights: 32nd edition (2021/2022) 

Centroid PE $1 billion KRW denominated debt financing

Hynix $3 billion financing for the acquisition of Intel’s NAND flash business

Coupang $4.5 billion NYSE IPO

LG Energy Solution W12.75 trillion KRX IPO

Korean AirlLines W1.499 trillion acquisition of 63.9% newly issued shares of Asiana Airlines

eBay W3.559 trillion divestment of 80% equity stake of South Korean business

KKR W2.4 trillion acquisition of 8.1% equity stake of redeemable convertible preference shares in SK E&S 

Client Feedback: 32nd edition (2021/2022) 

Capital markets: Debt

"They provide very detailed analysis." 

Capital markets: Equity

"The firm’s expertise is way above that of any of its competitors. There is no competition – it is simply the industry-defining firm when it comes to corporate finance and capital markets legal practice in Korea." 

M&A

"They provided excellent legal advice and successfully closed the deal. "

"The firm has deep transaction experience in the corporate/M&A market. We are comfortable trusting their extensive expertise and quality of service."

"The firm provided highly focused service in preparing and finalising the draft transaction documents. It also successfully led the negotiations with the investor. It played an important role in co-ordinating and managing local counsels." 

Private equity

"This law firm is the best in Korea, with years of experience working with private equity investors. Their advice has always helped us in our decision-making processes."

"Strong on due diligence, drafting share purchase agreements and shareholders’ agreements, and on structuring and tax."

"Strong on contract drafting, legal due diligence and deal structuring." 

Project development

"Good at understanding clients’ needs."

"The attorneys at the firm are very inquisitive and enthusiastic about the offshore wind farm industry. They enjoy working hard and being continually challenged, and demonstrate sound judgement even in ambiguous situations. They are willing to roll up their sleeves and build with us."

Restructuring

"Very passionate with the best knowledge and practice in the field." 

Chiyong Rim

"Knowledge about rehabilitation procedures." 

Hyeon Deog Cho

"His work has satisfied us in many ways. He has extensive knowledge, high expertise and a wide range of capabilities."

John Sangho Park

"With his expertise in the energy sector and M&A, he advised on our transaction quickly and efficiently, in co-ordination with a local counsel." 

Joon Ho Lee

"Good on service quality, client relationships and feedback."

"Good skills and communication. Timely feedback." 

Kyung Yoon Lee

"He led the deal for whole period of the project and successfully closed it. True M&A expert." 

Myoung Jae CHUNG

"Many Korean bankers and in-house legal counsels think that he is the only go-to and/or reliable external Korean counsel when it comes to more sophisticated/complex legal matters." 

Min-Young Oh

"He has in-depth legal and industrial knowledge of the energy sector, and consistently provides us with the most valuable legal advice and solutions for our projects." 

Shin-Kwon LIM

"One of the best M&A lawyers in Korea. With long experience in the Korean M&A market, he has always given us valuable advice in a decisive manner. Further, while many other lawyers choose to be conservative, he does not hesitate to offer industry-leading solutions." 

Sangmyoung Shin

"Strong legal, energy and project finance experience, demonstrating a high level of analytical aptitude. Excellent organisational skills. Follows through and meets deadlines. Strong written and oral communication skills." 

Teo Kim

"Good knowledge and experience in M&A." 

Tae Min Yun

"Very diligent. Prompt response."

LAB Partners

LAB Partners is a boutique firm established in 2018. The firm's office is based in Seoul.

 

Focusses / specialisms  

The firm is experienced in corporate M&A, capital markets, private equity, structured finance and securitisation.

 

Key clients   

Key clients include Navis Fidelis, Derkwoo Electronics, Milestone Magenta Private Equity Fund, and SG Core.

 

Research period review: 32nd edition (2021/2022)     

The corporate and M&A team was very active in private acquisitions and financial investments including shares buyout, purchase of convertible bonds, and acquisition of redeemable convertible preference shares.

The corporate team welcomed two new partners, Alex Lee hired from Bae Kim & Lee, and Hyunwoo Kim hired from Shin &Kim.  The firm also added three new associates, Dongmin Kim, Seongsoo Lee, and Jin Kim. 

 

Deal highlights: 32nd edition (2021/2022) 

Navis Fidelis W13 billion acquisition of Hanzo

Coway W43 billion acquisition of iOBED

SVIC 55th New Tech Business Investment Fund W64.9 billion purchase of convertible bonds and new shares issued by DUK SAN NEOLUX

 

Client Feedback: 32nd edition (2021/2022)    

Asset finance

"Well versed in Korean ABS transactions. Always patient in addressing queries. Exceeds expectations, despite complexities and tight timelines involved in deals."

 

Capital markets: Structured finance and securitization

"Very good knowledge of the legal environment. Very efficient execution."

 

M&A

"LAB Partners is prompt with their responses regarding our enquiries. They have always been very reliable."

 

Private equity

"They provide top-tier quality legal services in investment and M&A sector for both buyer and seller sides at an affordable local firm price range. "

  

Jeesun Park

"Always patient in addressing queries. Familiar with Korean ABS transaction documentation."

 

Young-Hee Jo

"Good responsiveness and problem-solving."

 

Youngju Kim

"Very considerate and always on time. Has always delivered more than expected."

"He is full of professional experience in his areas and able to communicate efficiently. He is one of the best legal advisers in the investment sectors in Korea."

Lee & Ko

Established in 1977, Lee & Ko is a full-service Korean law firm with 550 professionals practicing in 40 practice areas. The firm has offices in Seoul, Beijing, Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi.

 

Focusses / specialisms  

The firm is strong across all transactional practice areas including banking and finance, M&A, private equity, capital markets, project development and finance and restructuring and insolvency.

 

Key clients   

Key clients of the firm include Korea Development Bank, Korea Post, ING Bank, Standard Chartered Bank, BNP Paribas, Kookmin Bank, Woori Bank, Korea Investment & Securities, Samsung Group, SK Group, MBK Partners, Google, KKR, Macquarie Group.

 

Research period review: 32nd edition (2021/2022)     

During the research cycle the finance practice was active in advising a mixed-role of clients in financing and refinancing mandates including reserve-based lending, acquisition finance, project finance, asset finance, and leveraged finance across sectors such as energy, oil and gas, infrastructure, and aviation.

In capital markets, the firm was actively involved in IPO cases, block trades, ESG bonds issuances, and REIT transactions. Notable deals include Kakao Games IPO setting a record IPO subscription rate and deposits from investors, and SK IE Technology raising approximately $20 billion in an IPO transaction.

In the corporate and M&A spaces, the firm was preoccupied with private acquisitions and joint venture activities across automotive, retail, energy, environment, financial services, healthcare and pharmaceuticals, heavy and chemical industry, logistics, and transportation sectors.

In the project area, the team covered work in infrastructure, PPPs, solar power, onshore and offshore wind, fuel cell power plant, data centres, logistics, and biomass energy projects mainly for Korean clients in outbound transactions such as advising the financier for an A$11 billion greenfield infrastructure PPP transaction in Australia.

In restructuring and insolvency, the firm kept busy with financial restructuring and insolvency proceedings in sectors such as aviation, consumer goods and services, construction and materials.

Last year, the firm strengthened its capital markets team by adding two partners, Jung-Myung (Chloe) Lee and Hyeong Min Yoo, and two foreign attorneys, Hankyul Lee and Jimin Lee.

The M&A team also welcomed partner Guang Lu, associates Christie H. PARK and Yejun Lee.

Project development partner Lindsey Sohn has left the firm and moved to SK Eco Plant.

 

Deal highlights: 32nd edition (2021/2022)     

KKR W2.4 trillion financing of the acquisition of redeemable convertible preferred shares of SK E&S

Busan Geoje PPP Project

Tongyeong Eco Power LNG Combined Cycle Power Plant and LNG Terminal Project

KEB Hana Bank $3 billion US Yankee Certificate of Deposit Programme

LG CHEM U$1 billion green bond issue

SK IE Technology W2.4 trillion KRX IPO

Kakao Bank W1 trillion block deal

Ithaca Holdings $1.05 billion merger with Big Hit Entertainment

E-Mart $1.175 billion acquisition of 50% of equity interest in Starbucks Coffee Korea

 

Client Feedback: 32nd edition (2021/2022)     

M&A

"They are very thorough in their analysis and militant in negotiating, but they also find a middle ground for constructive compromise."

"Practical advice and client-friendly attitude. Seasoned negotiation skills."

"Quick and effective answers. Proactive attitude for problem-solving. Reasonable cost."

"The firm demonstrated its thorough approach to the legal tasks and challenges that clients were facing."

"The firm tries to provide practical solutions to difficult problems. Their lawyers regard their customers’ cases as their own business and actively strive to resolve issues."

"We have worked with the firm on M&A deals for many years. They have continued to prove their ability to be quick to handle any deal of any size in our industry."

 

Private equity

"Client-centric."

  

Daehoon Koo

"Professional, problem solving, outside the box thinking, listening to clients."

 

Hyunjoo Oh

"She is an all-around player for capital market transactions."

"She is very conscientious and smart. She responds on a real-time basis and she has wide range of knowledge."

"Good knowledge, timely response. Issue-solving capabilities."

 

Hee Woong Lee

"Client-friendly attitude."

 

Ho Joon Moon

"Excellent legal knowledge and skills. Proactive attitude for problem-solving"

 

Jae Heon Park

"Provides practical solutions based on excellent legal knowledge/experience. Sincere attitude."

 

Kyungchun Kim

"I would highly recommend this partner of M&A and corporate group at the firm. I have worked with him for a long time on various M&A deals. He is highly accurate and quick to respond on all aspects of deals. He is also very reliable and provides good-quality legal advice. He is an outstanding M&A lawyer with well-rounded skills and knowledge. He has continued to be the first attorney we seek out for M&A."

 

Peter Yang

"Client-centric and very experienced."

 

Sungmin Kim

"Great communicator and problem-solver."

 

Sang-Hyeok Im

"In the entertainment sector, he deals with the all issues and delivers effective opinions, solving the problems in many cases."

 

You Chull JUNG

"Sophisticated knowledge and strategy."

 

Yong Joon Yoon

"He has an excellent attitude towards finding the best outcomes for his clients. I don’t doubt that I would lose a negotiation with him. Winning is his middle name."

"Problem-solving attitude."

"A great lawyer when it comes to negotiations. He catches critical points and loopholes in suggestions from the other side."

Shin & Kim

Shin & Kim was founded in 1981. The Seoul based firm also has offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Ho Chi Minh, Hanoi and Jakarta.

 

Focusses / specialisms  

The firm has strengths in banking and finance and capital markets. The firm remains active in M&A and project development.

 

Key clients   

Key clients of the firm include Korea Development Bank, NongHyup Bank, Export-Import Bank of Korea, Kookmin Bank, Hana Financial Investments, SK Bioscience, Kakao Bank, Morgan Stanley, KB Securities, and SK Ecoplant.

 

Research period review: 32nd edition (2021/2022)     

During the research period, the finance team was very active advising on financing and refinancing mandates relating to acquisition finance, and project finance across different sectors including energy, natural resources, renewables, aviation, and manufacturing.

In the capital markets, the team handled several high-profile IPO transactions including SK Bioscience and Kakao Bank. Other deals include REITs, stock exchange, sustainability securities, samurai bonds, covered bonds, ABS, zero coupon notes, and green notes.  

The corporate and M&A team kept busy with domestic and cross-border acquisitions, mergers, spin-offs, re-organisations, financial investments, and divestments.

In the project space, the firm was active in outbound investment activities and covered sectors in offshore wind, renewable energy, metal, Infrastructure, solar power, and carbon-neutral synthetic fuel.

The restructuring team advised on the rehabilitation and acquisition of SsangYong Motor Corporation, which was Korea’s fourth largest automaker with many employees across the country.

The firm bolstered its capital markets capacity by adding partner Eun Kyung Moon and partner Kyung Ok Song both hired from Financial Supervisory Service followed by the departure of partner Sang Man Kim.

The banking team also added three expert advisors Siwoun Jin, Kwon Cho, and Seop Lim from Financial Supervisory Service, and Korea Investment Trust Management.

The firm strengthened the corporate team by adding senior foreign attorney (partner) Michelle W. Sul from Kim & Chang. The team also promoted partner Dong Jun Park and senior foreign attorney (partner) Mekkeli Han. Apart from new partners, senior advisor Heui Kyoung Ryu joined the firm from The Korea Development Bank. 

The restructuring team hired partner Chul Min Choi, the previous presiding Judge from Suwon District Court.

 

Deal highlights: 32nd edition (2021/2022)     

SK Hynix’s $3 billion acquisition financing of Intel's SSD business and Dalian NAND Flash Manufacturing Facility assets in China

Centroid’s W1.2 billion financing for the acquisition of TaylorMade

SK Bioscience W1.5 trillion KRX IPO and listing on the KOSPI Market

Kakao Bank W2.5 trillion KRX IPO and listing on the KOSPI Market

Chubb $5.75 billion acquisition of LINA Life Insurance of Korea, Cigna Korea and LINA Financial Service

Northeast Asian LNG Hub Terminal Project

SK Ecoplant $1 billion acquisition of TES Envirocorp

W740 billion rehabilitation and acquisition of SsangYong Motor Corporation

 

Client Feedback: 32nd edition (2021/2022)     

Banking and finance

"Practical advice."

"The firm is always very attentive to the case and responsive to our requests. They help us greatly in closing the transactions in a given time."

 

Capital markets: Debt

"They are extremely responsive and knowledgeable in Korean law. They are always eager to help and well regarded in capital markets in Korea. We recommend them to clients all the time."

"The firm acted as the issuer’s Korean counsel, providing guidance on Korean law and regulatory issues, which was invaluable. Owing to the changing regulatory landscape for Korean life insurance companies, with respect to capital adequacy requirements, we faced novel Korean law issues in our transaction. The firm was responsive and articulated analysis that was easily understood by us and other members of the working group. In particular, the partner on the transaction was very active and hands-on throughout the process.   I have found that their level and quality of service have been consistent from deal to deal, which I find to be increasingly rare among Korean law firms, particularly firms with larger teams."

 

Capital markets: Equity

"In terms of REITs’ equity raising/ ECM deals, the firm is the go-to lawyer you want to consult."

 

M&A

"They make complex law easy to understand. Smart and practical. Aim to get the best solution for their clients."

 

Project finance

"Well versed in the energy sector. Professional service is second to none."

"Responsive and client-oriented in all areas. Strong expertise in project financing."

 

Jong-UkLee

"He is a mature and seasoned lawyer with lots of professional experience."

 

Kevin Choi

"He is very accessible and very knowledgeable in the financing/capital market areas. He provides practical advice and solutions."

 

Michael Chang

"Great communicator. Able to advise on a wide range of Korean aspects to cross national transactions."

 

Sang-Hyun Lee

"Expertise in the energy sector. Second to none in client service."

"Very responsible and responsive. Strong experience and expertise in renewables."

 

Sang Yeon Eom

"Very diligent. Always focused on clients’ requests. Very responsive."

 

Yong Jin Park

"He is very responsive and eager to help provide solutions to any Korean law related problems that come up. Clients really value his quick responses."

"Very hands-on and responsive. He is thoughtful and articulate with his analysis."

"Sincere and kind, he is a lawyer who can easily accept even the somewhat unreasonable demands of customers. Although the firm had little presence in the Korean capital market in the past, this lawyer can clearly be seen as a rising star and is expected to become a mainstay of the team in the future."

Yoon & Yang

Yoon & Yang is an independent Korean firm with offices in Seoul, Ho Chi Minh City, Tashkent, Hanoi and Jakarta. The firm is also a member firm of TerraLex and Interlex Group.

 

Focusses / specialisms  

The firm is strongest in the equity and debt capital markets, M&A and restructuring and insolvency, and is active in finance and private equity.

 

Key clients   

Key clients of the firm include Shinhan Bank, Woori Bank, KEB Hana Bank, KEXIM, IBK, Mirae Asset Daewoo, NH Investment Securities, and Meritz Securities, Samsung Securities, SK Group, Hanwha Group, and Korea Deposit Insurance Corporation.

 

Research period review: 32nd edition (2021/2022)     

During the research cycle, the finance firm was very active in project and real estate financing and regulatory matters. The firm also handled various loan-related regulatory mandates. 

In the capital markets, the firm kept busy with IPOs, block trades, and private placements of shares mainly for issuers. The team also handled the issuance of sovereign bonds and covered bonds, and convertible and hybrid securities.

In the M&A area, the firm kept busy with private acquisitions, demergers, joint ventures, and financial investments. One noteworthy deal involved the firm’s advice to Korea’s largest furniture company Hanssem on the sale of its shares and management rights to IMM Private Equity.

In restructuring and insolvency, the firm acted in restructuring, receivership, and prepayment arrangements where it often acted for creditors, and administrators.

The corporate and finance team has strengthened its capacity by adding partner Chongsu Seo and Chang Hun Han. Apart from new partners, the team also added senior foreign attorneys David Hyeongjoon Choi and David Lee, and of counsel Du Yeong Jeong and Jongil Choi. 

In M&A and private equity, the firm added partner Se-bin Song, and senior foreign attorneys David Lee and Hyeongjoon (David) Choi.

Changkwon Kim, presiding Judge of the Seoul Bankruptcy Court joined the firm’s restructuring team.

 

Deal highlights: 32nd edition (2021/2022)   

The Export-Import Bank of Korea $27.5 billion Global Medium Term Note update

Hyundai Engineering W926.4 billion KRX IPO

IMM Private Equity W1.45 trillion acquisitions of shares of Hanssem

UAMCO PEF/SPC W657 billion acquisition of STX Offshore & Shipbuilding 

 

Client Feedback: 32nd edition (2021/2022)     

Capital markets: Equity

"Comprehensive advisory on Korean IPOs. Good advice on legal diligence and also interaction with KRX and FSS."

"Expertise in advisory in capital markets from a regulation perspective."

"The firm provides the clients and KRX with the professional advice from a legal perspective for (domestic and cross-border) IPO projects. The senior partner is very professional. He always provides the best advice based on his deep knowledge and experience. He is very dedicated when working for clients and KRX. His advice is always helpful and timely."

"Clients appreciated counsels with sector expertise."

 

Investment funds

"This firm is our first choice when we seek outside advice on complicated project finance of the company’s private equity investment. They understand business matters and can see issues from the client’s perspective."

 

M&A

"As an M&A expert in Korea, I believe it is important to work with experts who have various backgrounds when I handle M&A deals. With accountants, tax attorneys and foreign attorneys, as well as Korean attorneys, this firm’s one-stop-shop advice is second to none in the Korean M&A market. In addition, the firm’s M&A attorneys have good negotiation skills and high levels of industry knowledge, allowing me to close M&A deals successfully. It is impressive that they always come up with fast and effective responses to complicated legal issues. I will continue to retain the firm in future."

 

Private equity

"They sincerely enjoy their work and are meticulous in finding any legal issues. "

 

Project development

"They are dedicated and flexible in general, and provide pragmatic solutions to a wide variety of legal issues we face during development.  We particularly appreciate the fact they try to give us a clear answer to legal queries, instead of the long-winded, vague analysis often provided by other major law firms."

  

Dae Sagong

"He is extremely dedicated to client service and quickly grasps the background of our requests and the outcome we aim to achieve. We consider him our relationship partner, as we can always rely on him to ensure everyone at the firm delivers on time and properly."

 

Jae Ryun Cho

"Almost perfect in VC industry legal due diligence and advisory."

"Standout partner. He is very popular within the asset management industry for his expertise in project finance."

 

Kayoung Kim

"A diligent lawyer who makes satisfying our company’s legal needs her top priority. Her responses are very efficient and quick."

 

Sung Woon Kang

"Very experienced and professional. He is always dedicated to the clients and his services are very timely. His feedback is very fast. He always provides the client with the best solution, based on his deep knowledge and experience."

 

Woo Sup Lim

"Extensive experience in capital markets."

"Extremely reachable and equipped with strong legal background and expertise."

Yulchon

Established in 1997, Yulchon is an independent Korean firm with offices in Seoul, Moscow, Shanghai, Yangon, Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi and Jakarta.

 

Focusses / specialisms  

The firm is best known for its M&A work and concomitant expertise in financial distress, hostile M&A and shareholder activism. Its capital markets practice has been gaining traction of late as has its finance, private equity and projects teams.

 

Key clients   

Key clients of the firm include Korea Trade Bank, Korea Development Bank, Hana Bank and Hana Investments, Woori Bank, Hanwha Investments, SK Investments, Goldman Sach, MBK, Nomura Securities, HSBC, Hillhouse Capital Management.

 

Research period review: 32nd edition (2021/2022)     

During the last research cycle, the finance firm was very active in project finance, acquisition finance, mezzanine finance, asset finance, ship finance, and providing corporate loan-related mandates. 

In the capital markets, the firm acted in the issue of IPOs, exchangeable bonds, ABS, private placed bonds, Japanese Yen bonds, and green bonds. Notable deals include acting as underwriters’ Korean legal counsel for SK IE Technology’s W2.245 trillion IPO. 

The corporate team kept busy with acquisition transactions where the team acted for the seller of Woowa Brothers, Hillhouse Capital, Altos Ventures, GS PIA, and other shareholders in selling their collective 87.3% stake.

In the project space, the team covered transactions in gas, hydrogen, nuclear power, biomass, solar power, and wind power sectors.

The restructuring team acted in insolvency proceedings and financial restructuring in aviation, shipping, education, insurance, healthcare, and telecommunications. It is worth mentioning that the firm continually represents clients in matters relating to Hanjin Shipping’s bankruptcy proceedings since 2018.

In the banking practice, the firm brought in four new partners, Joon Ho KWON, Jong Wook YOON, Jong Kwon RYOO, and Weon Jin KIM along with two foreign attorney Jay Son YANG and Chee Kwan KIM.

 

Deal highlights: 32nd edition (2021/2022)     

Dangjin-Songsan Waste Treatment Plant Construction Project W195 billion financing

Renaissance PS No. 1 W305 billion purchase of non-registered coupon private exchangeable bonds

Lotte Rental W850 billion KRX IPO

SK IE Technology W2.245 trillion KRX IPO

Kia’s $700 million global green bond issue

Delivery Hero $4 billion acquisition of 87.3% stake in Woowa Brothers

Kori Nuclear Power Plant Unit 2

Myongji School foundation W1.365 trillion rehabilitation proceedings

 

Client Feedback: 32nd edition (2021/2022)     

Investment funds

"Based on deep understanding of negotiated loan conditions, professionally managed legal issues and documentation work."

 

M&A

"Very efficient and great understanding of our business."

"Capable, responsive, friendly, professional."

"Yulchon provides the most cost-efficient legal support among Korean law firms"

"Very efficient and capable professionals."

  

Ho Jin Lee

"Good listening and active attitude for issue solving."

 

Hyung Ki Lee

"Provides creative solutions and always tries to keep up with his understanding of our business needs."

"Hyung Ki Lee is very knowledgeable and provides efficient legal support."

"He is great in considering our business and practical needs when advising us. He has a profound understanding of private equity transactions."

Ashurst

The multinational law firm Ashurst has a physical presence in 17 countries around the world. It is active in South Korea through its Hong Kong office.

 

Focusses / specialisms

The firm stands out for its capital markets work, in particular its structured finance and securitisation advice, where it assists clients in innovative bond and note programs.

The corporate and M&A group at the firm advises on the establishment of joint ventures and incorporation in South Korea. In addition, the firm assists clients as buyers and sellers in cross-border transactions.

 

Key clients

Notable clients for the firm include Samsung Bioepis, Hyundai Motor Group, Export Import Bank of Korea and HSBC Hong Kong.

Clifford Chance

Clifford Chance is a London-based magic circle law firm with over 3300 lawyers and 34 offices across 23 countries. The firm was one of the first international law firms to establish an office in Seoul in 2012.  

Focusses / specialisms

The firm advises Korean clients in overseas concerns and international companies investing in Korea. It is best known for its UK and US law advice in the debt capital markets work and was historically strong in M&A, particularly in outbound real estate.   

Key clients

Key clients of the firm include Citigroup Global Markets Asia, Societe Generale Asia, JPMorgan Securities, UBS and Shinhan Alternative Investment Management.  

Research period review: 30th edition (2019/2020)

During the research period the firm kept busy advising on Korean green and formosa bonds alongside programme updates and acquisitions in the logistics sector.  

The firm was hit with the departure of its Korea managing partner Hyun Kim to YKVN’s Singapore office.  

Deal highlights: 30th edition (2019/2020)

-Hanwha Group $300 million green bond issue

-K-Water $100 million formosa bond issue

-Pacific Asset Management  and Savills Investment Management €140 million acquisition of two Amazon logistic properties in Dortmund 

Latham & Watkins

Established in California in 1934, Latham & Watkins is an international firm with 2700 lawyers across 29 offices in the United States, Europe, the Middle East and Asia. The firm’s three-partner-strong office in Seoul was established in 2016 and leverages off its Asia network of offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Singapore and Tokyo. 

Focusses / specialisms

The firm’s Korea practice is best known for M&A and projects and infrastructure transactions, but can also handle venture capital, financing, restructuring, intellectual property, disputes and capital markets matters for its Korean clients. 

Key clients

Key clients of the firm include Hyundai Motor Company, Anadarko Petroleum Corporation, Daelim Energy, Kexim and K-Sure.  

Research period review: 30th edition (2019/2020)

During the research period the firm handled acquisitions, joint ventures, refinancing and project development mandates in the automotive, power, energy and oil and gas industries.  

Deal highlights: 30th edition (2019/2020)

-Hyundai €156 million acquisition of 41.9% stake in Sixt Leasing

-Hyundai Motor Company / Aptiv  joint venture

-Mong Duong 2 1240MW thermal power project

-Mozambique LNG project

O'Melveny & Myers

O'Melveny & Myers is a global law firm with 18 offices and more than 750 lawyers across Asia, North America, and Europe. The firm was founded in 1885 and established its foreign legal consultant office in Seoul in nearly ten years.

 

Focusses / specialisms 

The firm’s Seoul office and Korea practice is especially known for advising clients in M&A and private equity transactions. It’s corporate focus also include joint ventures, growth investments, leveraged acquisitions, private equity buyouts, going-private transactions, carve-outs and spin-offs.

 

Key clients 

Notable clients include Samsung, Hanwha SolarOne, DL Chemical, CJ ENM, SK E&S, Dongwon Group and GS Energy.

 

Client Feedback: 32nd edition (2021/2022) 

M&A

“Top notch end-to-end legal advisory service for M&A, with a strong industry team dedicated to due diligence / risk assessment, a seasoned M&A team for negotiations and documentation, and overall great experience with O'Melveny's thoughtful communication and stakeholder management.”

Ropes & Gray

Ropes & Gray

Established in 1865, Boston-based Ropes & Gray is an international law firm with over 1400 lawyers and 11 offices across the United States, Asia and Europe. The firm became the first foreign legal consultant office in Korean history when it opened in July 2012.

 

Focusses / specialisms 

The Seoul team is best known for its intellectual property and disputes work, but on the transactional front, it launched its M&A practice in 2013 and is known to act for private equity firms.

 

Key clients 

Key clients of the firm include Bain Capital, Bain Capital Credit, E-mart, Hugel, Korea Investment Corporation, KKR, Korea Resources Corporation, LG International, Mirae Asset Capital and TPG Capital.

 

Seum Law

Seum Law is a boutique law firm based in Seoul. It has a technology focus and is a member of the law firm alliance, TAGLaw. In addition, it is a Korean member of Privacy Rules, a data privacy organization, as well as the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance.

 

Focusses / specialisms 

The firm is known for its commitment to the development of the start-up ecosystem in Korea. It often works for start-up companies, technology companies and venture capital funds handling mid-sized M&A deals for the seller. The firm also advises buyers in local and cross-border transactions.

 

Key clients 

Key clients of the firm include Naver, LINE, Kakao, 500Startups, Techstars, HASHED, Hyundai Motors, Daewoong Pharmaceutical, DIOR, Phantom AI, Metaprop and NPX Private Equity.

 

Client Feedback: 32nd edition (2021/2022) 

M&A

“Seum Law had very deep understanding on tech startups and their environment in South Korea. They are very solution-oriented and skillful in many complex legal issues.”

Shearman & Sterling

Shearman & Sterling is a New York-based international law firm with 850 lawyers across 24 offices. The firm’s Seoul office was established in 2019 and leverages off its global and Asia network to carry out transactions in Greater China, Southeast Asia, Japan, India, Mongolia and South Korea.

 

Focusses / specialisms 

The firm’s Seoul office focuses on advising Korean clients on a full range of project-related work across the across a wide range of sectors, including oil and gas, petrochemicals, transportation, thermal, nuclear, renewable and power infrastructure.

It also coordinates with its network to handle Korea-related arbitration, competition and funds matters.

 

Key clients 

Key clients of the firm include The Export–Import Bank of Korea, Korea Trade Insurance Corporation, Korea Development Bank and Korea Overseas Infrastructure & Urban Development.

Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom

Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom

Formed in 1948, Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom is a New York-based international law firm with 1700 lawyers across 22 offices. The firm established its office in Seoul in 2014.

 

Focusses / specialisms

The Seoul office is focussed on advising Korean and international companies on M&A, private equity and capital markets transactions, as well as energy and infrastructure deals and international disputes matters.

The firm covers a wide range of industries, including semiconductor, technology, automotive and financial services.

 

Key clients 

Key clients of the firm include SK hynix, Korea Zinc, SK Group, Samsung Electronics, Hanwha Group, CJ CheilJedang, GS Group, Hyosung Corporation, LG Hausys and SM Entertainment.