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Mr Sung-Hwan Choi is a dual-qualified lawyer in New York and the District of Columbia (USA) and recently qualified as a solicitor of England & Wales in April 2014, through the Qualified Lawyers Transfer Scheme (QLTS).
He has worked for Kim & Chang, the largest and pre-eminent law firm in South Korea, as a foreign legal consultant for 15 years. In January 2015 he joins Campbell Johnston Clark, a pre-eminent international shipping law firm in Singapore, to practise English law with a primary focus on the South Korean market.
I initially qualified as an attorney in New York and started my legal career at Kim & Chang, a leading Korean law firm in Seoul. Currently, I am a partner at Campbell Johnston Clark, a pre-eminent international shipping law firm. My area of practice is shipping and ship finance. I am based in Campbell Johnston Clark’s Singapore office and divide my practice between Singapore and Seoul.
My area of practice is pre-dominantly or exclusively governed by English law and/or jurisdiction with English court or under English arbitration. In order to further my legal practice and to fully and confidently serve my clients, it was clear that I needed to be an English solicitor. Also, from a career decision, in today’s truly global expansion of legal market and openness and competitive legal market, dual qualification is an asset.
To be frank, the QLTS was challenging and you really had to know your core English law subjects (including EU law), legal research and writing and advocacy. The QLTS is very comprehensive in that it covers the same scope of the domestic route to qualify as a solicitor but through stages of assessments.
In undertaking the QLTS, one needs to put in significant time and sacrifice some aspects of your existing career, family and or social life, as appropriate. However, so long as you have patience and stay focused on the goal of becoming an English solicitor then it is a manageable and reachable goal.
As an English solicitor, I can now confidently and proudly advise my clients. Also, being dual-qualified has opened doors and opportunities for career enhancement, marketing and networking that I could not imagine prior.
The QLTS is the route by which lawyers from other jurisdictions (and barristers of England and Wales) can be admitted by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) as solicitors of England and Wales.
The QLTS ensures that a lawyer qualified in another jurisdiction has met the standard of knowledge and skill required of a newly qualified solicitor of England and Wales. This is done through two separate tests which are administered on the SRA’s behalf by Kaplan QLTS.
The Qualified Lawyers Transfers Scheme Regulations 2011 replaces the Qualified Lawyers Transfer Scheme Regulations 2010.
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Ben Stevenson, International Policy Adviser
Sonam Khan, International Policy Assistant