The Lawyer’s new China Elite report contains the most detailed research available on the PRC legal market and contains unparalleled insight into the country's leading law firms. They vary in size, practice focus and geographic coverage, but they all share one common quality – ambition... Read more
This year, The Lawyer’s annual ranking of the largest UK law firms by turnover is available as an interactive, digital benchmarking tool. For the first time this will allow you to manipulate each data set against the metrics of your choice.
Clifford Chance is spearheading an attempt to lobby the South Korean authorities for liberalisation of the country's legal market.
Foreign firms are currently forbidden from establishing permanent offices in the country or practising local law.
James Walker, head of Clifford Chance's Korea practice which is based in Hong Kong, says the firm recently persuaded EU trade commissioner Sir Leon Brittan to raise the issue with Korean officials during a visit to the country, made as part of an EU trade mission.
Early reports indicate that the Korean authorities, which have proved receptive, are prepared to discuss the matter further. "The tone is very positive at the moment," said Walker.
"The British embassy in Korea has subsequently confirmed that it now has a remit to take up the issue with South Korea's Ministry of Justice."
The results of the talks are keenly awaited by the Asian offices of many other UK firms that stand to benefit.
Many UK firms in Asia have sharpened their focus of late, given the huge opportunities for international investors created by the financial crisis, which sent the value of the national currency, the won, spiralling in November 1997.
Recently Clifford Chance advised in the mergers of several Korean banks, requested by the country's Financial Supervisory Committee as part of a wider restructuring of the country's banking system.
But at present, foreign firms have to conduct their Korean operations from other bases in the region, generally either Hong Kong or Tokyo.