South Korea’s Lee International joins MSI Global Alliance

MSI Global Alliance, an international association of 250 independent accounting and law firms, has added South Korean law firm Lee International to its membership.

The Seoul-based full-service firm is the latest addition to MSI’s network of 126 law firm members in 79 countries. The firm has a total of 370 staff, including two partners and 110 fee earners.

The Korean firm has decided to join the alliance following its recent collaboration with MSI’s existing US members Moses & Singer and Smith Moore Leatherwood on several client matters.

“The new Free Trade Agreements Korea signed with the EU and the US have stimulated and will continue to drive up international trades and cross-border commercial activity in Korea. Our existing members have expressed the need for us to have a member in Korea,” said James Mendelssohn, chief executive of MSI.

“Meanwhile, Korean businesses are increasingly looking overseas for new business ventures and growth. Korean firms ought to have better international links to facilitate their clients’ international needs.

“The FTAs also mean that it will be easier for foreign law firms to operate in Korea. Leading Korean firms have to consider what they want to do when the market opens. For firms that want to remain independent, such as Lee International, joining a global alliance is a valid option to remain competitive,” Mendelssohn added.

MSI’s legal coverage across the East Asian markets includes Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, and now South Korea.

Until recently, the alliance had Beijing-based Lehman Lee & Xu as its China member, but that membership was terminated. Finding a new member in China to fill the gap is next on chief executive Mendelssohn’s agenda.