Herbert Smith Freehills Closes Seoul Office

Herbert Smith Freehills Closes Seoul Office 2

The Anglo-Australian law firm has launched a new Korea group – but working from London and Hong Kong . .

Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF), an Anglo-Australian law firm, has announced the launch of a new Korea group and the closure of its Seoul office after a decade of operation. The new Korea group will be led by current Seoul partners Mike McClure and Dana Kim, who will relocate to London and Hong Kong respectively.

HSF stated that its Korea practice had grown significantly over the past ten years, but due to the international nature of its work, clients’ interests would be better served by a new approach.

The Seoul-based team, which includes a counsel, three associates, and support staff, will wind down its physical presence in Seoul this year.

HSF has offered more than half of the office’s 14 people the chance to relocate to other offices in its network, while others will leave the firm.

The new group will provide advice to Korean clients through a new model and will visit Seoul as required by clients and matters.

HSF’s Seoul-based team has worked alongside its Australia Korea practice, which advises Korean businesses on their investment and operations in Australia.

The firm’s clients include KEPCO, Korea Investment Corporation, and steel-making conglomerate POSCO Group. The new group will draw on the knowledge of lawyers across its network, including Lewis McDonald in London and Hilary Lau in Hong Kong.

The closure of HSF’s Seoul office comes a few weeks after partner Phillip Kim left the firm to open an office in Seoul for Watson Farley & Williams, focused on maritime, aviation, energy, and disputes work.

Fellow Anglo-Australian rival Ashurst announced in December that it was to become the first international law firm to practise local law in South Korea after securing a joint venture with domestic firm HwaHyun.

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