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3 more law firms hope to open in South Korea

DLA Piper, K&L Gates and McKenna Long & Aldridge are the latest firms to take advantage of U.S.-Korea free trade agreement

The list of U.S. law firms seeking to open South Korean offices continues to grow, with three more hopefuls throwing their hats into the ring.

K&L Gates, DLA Piper and McKenna Long & Aldridge are the latest firms to file preliminary applications with South Korea’s Ministry of Justice, taking advantage of last year’s U.S.-Korea free trade agreement. They join 12 other American and European firms that have already applied, including Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, O’Melveny & Myers and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett.

Provided that the Ministry of Justice and Korean Bar Association approve their applications, the firms will gain access to Asia’s third-largest economy, which also is home to major corporations including Samsung, Hyundai and Asiana Airlines. Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton and U.K.-based Ropes & Gray and Clifford Chance have already won approval.

If admitted, the U.S. law firms would only be allowed to practice U.S. and international law, but they likely will be able to hire Korean lawyers and merge with local firms by 2017, according to Reuters.

Read more at Reuters.

Alanna Byrne

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