Three foreign law firms can now do consulting

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Three foreign law firms can now do consulting

Three foreign law firms have been allowed to offer foreign legal consultant services in Korea for the first time, the Justice Ministry said yesterday.

The three firms permitted to open branches in Seoul to provide international law-related services are Ropes & Gray, Sheppard Mullin and Clifford Chance, the ministry said, noting they registered themselves as foreign legal consultants about a month ago.

It is the first time that the Seoul government has permitted the establishment of foreign legal consultants.

The three law firms can launch international law services in Korea after registering with the Korean Bar Association.

The London-based Clifford Chance is the world’s third-largest global law firm, while the U.S.-based Ropes & Gray is ranked nearly 30th worldwide.

Following the enforcement of Korea’s free trade agreement with the European Union and the U.S. over the past year, foreign law firms have attempted to rush into the Korean market. So far, a total of eight have been registered as foreign legal consultants.

Under an FTA-related legal service market liberalization plan agreed upon with the EU and the U.S., foreign law firms will be allowed by March next year to ally with Korean law firms to engage in domestic legal operations. In the third and final stage, the nation’s legal service market will be fully liberalized by March 2017.Yonhap
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