Kim of Ropes & Gray becomes first foreign legal consultant
The Korean Bar Association (KBA) has accepted the first foreign legal consultant from U.S. law firm Ropes & Gray, the company said Tuesday.
The KBA registered partner William Yongkyun Kim as the first foreign legal consultant in Korea on Monday. Kim has worked for leading U.S. corporate law firms representing Korean, U.S. and European companies and for the U.S. federal government as a litigator for the past 28 years.
The formal registration is a milestone setting the stage for the establishment of a foreign law firm in Korea.
“This is a historic moment for Korea, for the legal industry, for our firm Ropes & Gray, and for me,” said Kim. “I am honored to have been selected as the first lawyer from any country outside of Korea to receive permission to work in Korea.”
Currently, three lawyers have been certified by the Korean government to work as foreign legal consultants out of attorneys from 13 law firms that have applied for the status. Of the three, Kim is the first to be accepted into the KBA.
Once the lawyers are certified and registered in the KBA, they may begin serving as a foreign legal counsel. The law firms are already preparing to open offices.
“To be the first lawyer registered and recognized by the Korean Bar Association to work in Korea demonstrates Ropes & Gray’s serious commitment to Korea and to Korean companies,” said Kim. “Taking the necessary steps to set up the Korean office as quickly as possible reflects the decisive way in which we will move heaven and earth to serve our clients and advocate on their behalf.”
Since the Korea-U.S. free trade agreement went into effect earlier this year, U.S. law firms can apply to open offices in Korea.
Ropes & Gray, a prominent international law firm, has over 1,000 lawyers and 10 offices around the world.
“Korean clients can work with highly trained and experienced U.S. lawyers from our law firm without having to leave Korea, on real time, and in Korean or English. As our lawyers in Korea will have a deep understanding of Korean culture, customs and ways of doing business in Korea, our clients will be able to receive more effective legal service, cost-efficiency and convenience,” said Kim.