2019: Leading Firms

The inaugural edition of WWL: Korea features a total of 31 firms ranging from full-service outfits to specialised boutiques. However, over 80 per cent of the total listings are achieved by five standout firms. We profile the leading firms here.


Top-tier firm Bae Kim & Lee performs exceedingly well in our research into the Korean legal market, demonstrating a first-rate offering with 29 lawyers listed across 13 practice areas. This full-service powerhouse is home to over 600 lawyers in offices located across Asia-Pacific and is well placed to provide services to clients across the region.

The firm performs extremely well in the disputes arena, achieving listings across our arbitration, litigation and mediation chapters. Its lawyers are well versed in handling the range of civil, commercial and criminal litigation proceedings, as well as international arbitration disputes including investor-state and construction matters.

IP is another area in which the firm stands out with three lawyers distinguished in our corresponding chapter. The group handles the gamut of related matters from infringement proceedings to prosecutions. The firm also excels across a wide range of sectors including construction and real estate, data and energy.

Standout practitioners at the firm include the foremost litigators in the country, John Bang and Kap-You (Kevin) Kim – the latter also featured as a prominent figure in the arbitration arena. Meanwhile Hoodong Lee draws acclaim for his top-tier IP practice, and Matthew Christensen illustrates the breadth of his expertise with listings for his work in arbitration, mediation and construction and real estate.


Major international player Kim & Chang is one of the titans of the Korean legal market. It demonstrates the sheer breadth and depth of expertise its practitioners have to offer, with a total of 94 listings across 22 different practice areas: almost double the number of listings of its nearest competitor.

The firm excels in the competition space where it leads the field in our corresponding chapter with 19 listings. Its lawyers are well versed in the gamut of competition matters including merger control, cartel investigations, state aid and abuse of dominance. 

Labour and employment law is a further area in which lawyers have distinguished themselves in the market with 10 listings in total. They frequently represent domestic and international clients in cross-border employment matters, collective labour relations, termination issues and sexual harassment proceedings.

The firm also performs well in our banking and capital markets chapters, with a combined total of 12 listings. It provides top-flight advisory services and advocacy on debt and equity, transactional and structured finance matters. The dispute resolution practitioners also perform strongly, with a combined seven listings for the firm’s arbitrators and mediators.

Key figures at the firm include Global Elite Thought Leader Youngjin Jung who is recognised for his market leading practice in competition and trade and customs law. Jung-Won Hyun and Sung Joo Yoon also stand out for their first-class competition practices. Chun Wook Hyun is highly rated for his labour and employment expertise while BC Yoon is one of the foremost arbitration specialists in the country. Jay (Young-June) Yang is a prominent figure in the IP space while Seong-Koo Cheong and Seon-Jee Lee are highly sought after for their capital markets expertise.


Lee & Ko is a leading full-service law firm that enjoys a prominent position in the Korean market. Home to many of the country’s leading lawyers, it receives listings in all but four of our 24 chapters this year, illustrating the great breadth of its offering. The firm cements itself firmly in the upper echelons of the country’s legal market and achieves 49 listings in this edition.

The firm features a prolific offering on the contentious side of matters. It receives eight listings across our arbitration and litigation chapters this year, showcasing the depth of its expertise in domestic and international proceedings.

Intellectual property is another area in which the firm ranks highly this year. Five practitioners are distinguished for their excellent work advising on a range of patents and trademarks issues across a multitude of industries including pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, technology and chemical.

The firm also performs well this year in our competition chapter, where five lawyers and two economists are endorsed for their top-tier expertise in abuse of dominance, merger review and cartel matters. 


Corporate law and dispute resolution specialists Shin & Kim ranks among the most prominent law firms in the Korean market. It performs strongly in our research this year with a total of 12 listings for its lawyers across nine different practice areas.

The firm showcases its world-class disputes offering in this edition, achieving listings across our arbitration, litigation and product liability defence chapters. Its lawyers are well equipped to advise and represent clients on contentious matters spanning an array of area from labour law to real estate and insurance disputes.

Capital markets is another area in which the firm achieves highly, with two lawyers applauded for their work advising international and domestic clients on debt and equity, structured financing, IPOs and acquisitions.

Key figures at the firm include Kyung Hwa Moon and Sang Man Kim for their outstanding work in the capital markets space. Ghyo Sun Park receives listings for his impressive work handling litigation and product liability defence proceedings.




Full-service firm Yulchon enjoys a strong reputation as a top firm in the Korean market and is home to some of the most significant names in the international business community. It demonstrates its first-class offering in our research this year, achieving 29 listings across 12 practice areas.

The firm is exceptionally strong in the competition arena, achieving an impressive eight listings in this chapter. These practitioners cover a broad range of competition matters, such as cartel investigations, abuse of dominance, and merger control.

Intellectual property is also a significant area of practice for the firm, where they receive four listings in our corresponding chapter. Their expertise spans a wide array of matters from transactions to compliance and disputes.

Labour and employment is a further area in which the firm performs well in this edition. We recognise three outstanding individuals for their impressive work handling collective bargaining agreements, dismissals, restructurings and contentious proceedings.

Leading names at the firm include Sang Wook Cho who ranks as one of the most prominent labour and employment specialists in the country. Hee Woong Yoon is a distinguished name for capital markets work and is also possesses strong expertise in private funds. Soo-Jeong Ahn’s impressive practice spans corporate tax and private funds matters while Hee Chul Kang wins praise for his impressive work on labour and employment and corporate law.

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Nominees have been selected based upon comprehensive, independent survey work with both general counsel and private practice lawyers worldwide. Only specialists who have met independent international research criteria are listed.

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