Clifford Chance LLP has become the first foreign law firm to apply to open an office in South Korea since free trade agreements with the European Union and U.S. were ratified last year.
South Korea’s Ministry of Justice is reviewing the London-based firm’s application for preliminary approval, which would take about two to four months, it said in a statement today.
U.S. firms including Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton LLP and McDermott Will & Emery LLP announced plans to open in Seoul soon after the U.S.-South Korea free trade accord was ratified in November. Clifford Chance, which announced its plans before the EU-South Korea agreement took effect in July, has worked with clients in the Asian country for more than 30 years.
“We have ambitious plans for our Asia Pacific operations, and South Korea is an important part of those expansion plans,” said Peter Charlton, Clifford Chance’s Asia Pacific regional managing partner.