The Korean legal services has just opened. The first UK law firm received its approvals to open an office in July 2012. The opening of the market will be staged over the next six years in line with the EU-Korea FTA.
Korea’s has one of the world’s oldest legal systems, which can trace its origins back over 5,000 years. The system as it exists today began in the late 19th century, and subsequently evolved under the influence of Japanese colonisers, and US in the immediate post-war period. A modern Korean legal profession is a relatively new phenomenon. While numbers of lawyers are rising rapidly; at the beginning of 2000 there were only 3,800 private practitioners and there are now over 6,600, the underdeveloped legal sector is still seen as a drag on the Korean economy.
After three years of close cooperation Law Society President, Robert Bournes and his KBA counterpart Chang-Woo Ha deepened ties by renewing their Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) at this year’s International Marketplace Conference on 6 October and explored new avenues for professional collaboration.
On 13 October 2015 the president of the Law Society will host the British Ambassador to the Republic of Korea at a breakfast briefing on current opportunities for members.
The Korean government is looking at amendments related to joint ventures between foreign law firms and Korean law firms.
The Law Society is currently consulting with members who have an interest in South Korea, to formally respond to the Ministry of Justice in South Korea about the proposed changes to the Foreign Legal Consultants Act. This response will be published on the Law Society website and will detail any restrictions it may bring to members looking to operate there.
The latest in our ‘Doing legal business’ series looks at South Korea. The report provides an overview of the legal profession, the legal services market and the regulations for foreign lawyers and law firms.