Cleary Gottlieb to Open Office in Seoul

November 28, 2011

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP announced today that it plans to open an office in Seoul, Korea in the first half of 2012.

The announcement follows the recent ratification of the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement by both countries and the resulting opening in 2012 of the Korean legal services market to U.S.-based law firms.

Partner Yong Guk Lee and counsel Jay Hoon Choi, both currently based in Hong Kong, will relocate to Seoul.

“Our plan to open an office in Korea as soon as we are able reflects our 30 year commitment to Asia,” said Cleary Gottlieb managing partner Mark Leddy. “During that period, our Korea practice has become the leading international practice covering Korea. Having Cleary Gottlieb lawyers in Seoul will allow us to serve both our Korea-based clients as well as clients outside the region doing business there more efficiently and effectively.”

In addition to Messrs. Lee and Choi, several Korean-speaking associates from the firm’s Korea practice will relocate to Seoul. The firm also plans to relocate other members of the Korea practice team to Seoul over time. Cleary Gottlieb lawyers in Seoul will continue to be fully integrated with the firm’s larger Asia practice.

Cleary Gottlieb has had a vibrant Korea practice for more than two decades. With over 30 lawyers worldwide fluent in Korean (including four partners, two counsel, one senior attorney and 10 associates based in Hong Kong), the firm offers a uniquely-talented and deep team of native Korean-speaking lawyers.

The firm also has an extensive network of relationships with leading Korean law firms with whom it works closely to ensure that clients receive exceptional Korean law advice.

Cleary Gottlieb opened offices in Hong Kong in 1980 and in Beijing in 2006. It has operated continuously in Asia through times of extraordinary changes in the economies of many Asian countries. The firm has developed a thorough understanding of the region and an unmatched ability to work for clients based in Asia and for those based outside of Asia doing business there. Today, the firm has over 50 lawyers resident in Asia serving the needs of those clients.

About Cleary Gottlieb’s Korea Practice

Cleary Gottlieb has extensive experience in a wide variety of public and private sector transactions, as well as litigation, arbitration and enforcement matters, involving Korea. The firm assists Korean clients with their capital raising, overseas investment and other activities and assists non-Korean clients in direct investment in Korea. These transactions often require advice with respect to a variety of issues, including finance, corporate governance, tax and disclosure of information. In addition, Cleary Gottlieb has extensive experience and has enjoyed great success in litigating and arbitrating important disputes on behalf of Korean clients and in matters involving Korea. The firm also handles sensitive criminal and regulatory matters, including conducting internal investigations, for Korean clients and for companies facing such issues in Korea.

Practice highlights include:

  • Unparalleled track record in terms of advising on a wide variety of cross-border corporate transactions involving Korean entities, including securities offerings, M&A transactions and debt restructurings
  • Counsel to the Korean government in the restructuring of the external debt of the Korean banking sector following the Asian financial crisis, as well as in its sovereign debt offerings
  • Counsel in well over 200 offerings of an aggregate of more than $124 billion of securities of Korean issuers since the early 1990s
  • Counsel in over $15 billion in IPOs of Korean companies, including the largest IPO by a Korean company, the first SEC-registered public equity issuance and NYSE listing by a Korean company, and the first IPO and listing on the Korea Exchange by a Korean company in which an international tranche was sold to foreign investors under Rule 144A/Regulation S
  • Counsel in over $23 billion in depositary receipt offerings and/or foreign exchange listings since 1999, including offerings and/or listings of GDRs or ADRs for leading Korean companies
  • Counsel in three of the five largest Korea/U.S. completed cross-border M&A transactions since 2001
  • Counsel in the largest cross-border tender offer for a U.S. target by a Korean company
  • Counsel in one of the largest corporate private sector (and transnational) restructurings by a Korean company

About Cleary Gottlieb

Founded in 1946 by lawyers committed to legal excellence, internationalism and diversity, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP is a leading international law firm with more than 1,100 lawyers around the world.

Media Contacts:

Jane Thompson
Asia Information Coordinator
Tel: +852 2532 7418