Taylor Wessing adds Korean firm to Asia network

Taylor Wessing has formed an association with South Korean firm DR & AJU, becoming the latest UK firm to make a move into the jurisdiction.

The association will give Taylor Wessing access to over 100 lawyers in Korea. DR & AJU is a full-service firm established in 1994 with 120 lawyers including 18 partners. It has been a pioneer among its Korean rivals in overseas expansion. In addition to the Seoul headquarters, it has offices in Russia, Kazakhstan and Singapore.

Taylor Wessing said the association was a result of an existing working relationship between the two firms and it hoped to develop more Korean clients, which are increasingly investing abroad and in the technology sector, through the tie-up.

“Korea is an increasingly important jurisdiction with a mature economy that is only going to grow. It has a global reputation for being at the forefront of thriving sectors such as technology and knowledge-based industries, which align with our own focus on the industries of tomorrow,” said Tim Eyles, Taylor Wessing UK managing partner.

DR & AJU is the second formal ally of Taylor Wessing in Asia since it entered into an association with 10-partner Indonesian firm Hanafiah Ponggawa & Partners (HPRP) in October last year (8 October 2013).

Following the association, both DR & AJU and HPRP have become members of Taylor Wessing’s Asia regional network, which was launched last July (29 July 2013) as part of the UK firm’s strategy to grow its practice throughout the ASEAN region and beyond.

“Our joint venture is a sign of our confidence in ASEAN, a region we consider to be increasingly important. There are many synergies between our firms and we have no doubt that this partnership will give us a unique footprint in the region,” said DR & AJU’s IP head Sung-Hoon Im.

Taylor Wessing’s Korea move comes a few months after UK rival Bird & Bird established an association with Seoul-based Hwang Mok Park (25 February 2014).

Apart from entering the market via local alliance, there are four UK-headquartered firms that has established an office in Seoul – Clifford Chance (16 July 2012), DLA Piper (7 January 2013), Herbert Smith Freehills (13 March 2013) and Linklaters (2 May 2013). Most recently, Stephenson Harwood hired Korean partner Michael Kim from DLA Piper in preparation for its Seoul office launch (7 February 2014).