Bird & Bird’s alternative strategy to enter South Korea

Bird & Bird is about to flap its wings and fly into Seoul. But instead of opting for opening up its own foreign legal consultant office, which 20 odd other UK and US firms have done, the firm is blazing a new trail by entering into a cooperative agreement with one of the country’s largest firms, Hwang Mok Park.

Although the strategic alliance is on a non-exclusive basis, both firms will become each other’s preferred referral partner. They will also explore the possibility of a full merger if everything goes well.

In Singapore, another Asia market that has opened its legal sector, albeit to a certain extend, this week is a highly anticipated one, at least for the six firms that were granted the first bunch of Qualifying Foreign Law Practice QFLP licences in 2008.

Word on the street is that the country’s Ministry of Law has just completed the licence renewal process. Allen & Overy and Norton Rose Fulbright are tipped to be among the success applicants.

Meanwhile the drum is rolling and everyone is expecting to hear the Singapore government’s imminent announcement later this week.

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