Stephenson Harwood secures licence to open Seoul office this autumn

Stephenson Harwood is set to open its office in Seoul in the autumn, after being granted a licence to practice in the jurisdiction by the Korean Ministry of Justice.

The firm hired shipping and finance partner Michael Kim, who previously headed DLA Piper’s South Korea office, in February (7 February 2014). Having helped the firm to navigate Korea’s regulatory obstacles, Kim will become Stephenson Harwood’s first Seoul managing partner when the offices launches later this year. 

Kim said: “Korea is a key market for Stephenson Harwood and one where both the firm and I personally have many clients”. 

Stephenson Harwood’s client base in Korea already comprises clients across the shipping, banking and trade sectors including Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering and Hyundai Merchant Marine. 

DLA Piper gained regulatory approval for its Seoul launch in January 2013 (7 January 2013). When it initially geared up to launch as a foreign legal consultant in Korea in September 2012, The Lawyer reported that it was one of about 20 firms applying for a licence to open in the country (10 September 2012). 

In March, Skadden Arps Meagher & Flom established its 23rd office worldwide in Seoul (27 March 2014). Baker & McKenzie and Linklaters also both launched in the city in 2013 (2 May 2013). 

In February, Bird & Bird entered the Korean market via a cooperation agreement with local firm Hwang Mok Park (25 February 2014).