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Simmons & Simmons is laying the groundwork for a possible merger with its South Korea referral firm Shin & Kim.
The Korean authorities presently forbid foreign lawyers to practise domestic law or even to establish a rep office, but the rules are expected to change this year.
Simmons and Shin & Kim already have a two-way secondment programme as well as an established referral relationship. The UK firm has a Korean practice based in Hong Kong, focusing predominantly on international finance work.
Shin & Kim is one of Korea's largest firms with 74 lawyers. It is known mostly for its securities practice, although it also does a range of other work, including corporate and litigation.
Hong Kong partner Paul Li confirms that as and when the practising rules are relaxed, merger will be top of the agenda.