Bakers snatches senior foreign lawyer from Kim & Chang ahead of Seoul launch

Baker & McKenzie has appointed Korean lawyer Seong Soo Kim as a partner in its banking and finance and Korea practices in Hong Kong.

Kim joins from Korea’s largest law firm by revenue and lawyer number, Kim & Chang, where he had practised since 1996 and was a senior foreign attorney. Qualified as an attorney in New York, he has over 16 years of experience in cross-border financing matters and international securities transactions.

Kim’s appointment comes after Bakers put in application to open a Seoul office last November (20 November 2012). According to a firm spokesperson, it is still awaiting approval from the South Korean authorities for the launch.

Bakers currently has over 20 Korean lawyers across its global network, with six of them based in Hong Kong.

With almost 400 lawyers, Kim & Chang is one of Korea’s ‘big four’ practices along with Lee & Ko, Kim & Lee and Bae Kim & Lee. The firm opened its first overseas office in Hong Kong in November 2012 (22 November 2012).

So far 11 international firms have obtained approval to establish Foreign Legal Consultant Offices (FLCO) in Seoul, most recently DLA Piper (7 January 2013).