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White & Case follows project finance clients to launch in Seoul

South Korea is continuing to prove its attraction for Global 100 firms as White & Case launches an office in Seoul with plans to relocate three partners and build on relationships with project finance clients.

The office, which is the firm’s seventh in Asia and number 39 globally, will be headed by James Lee, who leads the Korea practice group and will relocate to Seoul from Los Angeles.

Lee specialises in cross-border commercial litigation and has been working with Korean clients for more than 15 years. He will be joined initially by Mark Goodrich, a construction partner in London who will also transfer to Seoul, and Hong Kong partner Kyungseok Kim, who recently joined the firm’s M&A practice from Linklaters where he was an associate.

‘We are thrilled to announce the opening of our new office in Seoul,’ said Eric Berg, head of Asia for White & Case. ‘This allows us to provide local support with UK and US law capability for our Korean clients, which include a broad spectrum of organizations and government agencies. It is a natural next step for the firm.’

The firm has serviced clients in Korea for the past 20 years but the new outpost will provide ‘on-the-ground support for our clients in their complex, cross-border work’, adds White & Case chairman Hugh Verrier. The aim is to advise existing project finance clients while broadening out into M&A, private equity, commercial litigation and international arbitration. 

Other firms interested in the Seoul market include, Latham & Watkins, which in June tasked a group of partners to review its Asia strategy ahead of a push in the region. Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy opened in the city in February this year.

EY Law enhanced its Asia-Pacific presence in March after forming an alliance with South Korean firm Apex Legal, in a bid to align its advisory and legal businesses throughout the region.