Kim & Chang

South Korea



As the largest and most dominant full-service law firm in Korea, Kim & Chang needs no introduction. It remains unchallenged across the board, maintaining its ‘Outstanding’ ranking in all practice areas and sectors. It is a first-choice firm for many multinationals, international brands and domestic conglomerates. Its sheer size allows the firm to house multiple top-notch specialists in every niche area of practice and push the boundaries of innovation with landmark and sizeable matters. The competition team welcomed talent from the National Court Administration of Korea, the Korea Fair Trade Commission, peer firms, Seoul Central District Prosecutor’s Office and the Seoul Central District Court. The firm’s aviation and shopping pillar gained two additional lawyers from peer firms, while the banking and finance team was boosted by three. In 2022, the firm’s dispute resolution practice and IP practice witnessed the addition of 18 and five new hires, respectively. Regrettably for the firm’s energy practice, three practitioners departed to Shim & Kim in 2023.

Client feedback

“They have strong internal teams consisting of various experts, including non-attorneys. Together with these strong internal teams, the attorneys provide practical advice. Overall, their work quality is excellent compared to other top-tier law firms in Korea.” – Banking and finance

“They not only know the substance but are also able to provide strategic guidance to help navigate the most challenging legal issues.” – Competition/antitrust

“Kim & Chang views the works and projects in detail but also overall, and presents issues and solutions before the client realises there could be a problem.” – Corporate and M&A

“Cutting-edge expertise and vast experience in M&A.” – Corporate and M&A

“The firm has great expertise in all legal areas and full resources to support clients.” – Corporate and M&A

“Accurate analysis of applicable local laws and practical advising on drafting a deal structure.” – Corporate and M&A

“They are brilliant communicators and can handle very difficult personalities diplomatically and with great charm. Their legal advice is strong and they are well organised and able to get through large volumes of work against tight deadlines.” – Dispute resolution

“Kim and Chang lawyers are professional, ethical and very smart. They quickly grasped detailed technical positions and smoothly integrated our technical analysis into legal briefs and presentations. I had confidence from the beginning that Kim and Chang was interested in seeing justice done more than in 'just winning'. On this point, they never wavered.” – Dispute resolution

“They have provided legal analysis thoroughly and timely, and coped with hearings well. They have communicated with our client from time to time to deliver and discuss implications and next steps.” – Dispute resolution

“One-stop shop – expertise in all aspects of law, and understanding the client's needs.” – Energy

“The offshore wind farm development project involves various complex regulatory issues. The firm not only provided accurate and efficient advice based on its accumulated knowledge and experience, but also provided its service in a proactive manner.” – Energy

“The firm conducted due diligence well and provided advice on what needed to be checked and repaired for the upcoming deal. Throughout the process, they provided us with relevant and convincing materials, which made negotiations with the buyer easier for me.” – Infrastructure

“Expertise on the insurance sector, and good communication with local regulators.” – Insurance

Kim & Chang was able to win the lawsuit with perfect legal reasoning and relentless diligence.” – Insurance

“Professional service with strong team members.” – Intellectual property

“Very professional.” – Intellectual property

“They do everything extremely well, in a cost-efficient manner. They have their usual personnel working on matters, and bring in additional expertise as needed to address the current issues.” – Intellectual property

“Very strategic and practical, obtaining excellent results.” – Intellectual property

“A truly international approach, a team of highly knowledgeable and responsive lawyers.” – Intellectual property

“Kim & Chang's lawyers and patent attorneys are highly skilled and have the best teamwork. With Kim & Chang, no matter the day or time, the responsiveness is great, and they never fail to provide immediate, in-depth analysis. They also knew exactly what we needed and went beyond what we asked for. Further, the team provided tech intelligence advice using their IP and tech data analysis, which helped our firm’s successful investment in the related technology.” – Intellectual property

“It is amiable and professional. Also, it is good at patent invalidation trials.” – Intellectual property

“They have a deep knowledge of the local patent law and practice and can provide advice even in the most complicated situations they have a team of lawyers who can provide legal assistance in litigations and also expertise in regulatory matters so covering almost all topics of interest for the pharmaceutical industry.” – Intellectual property 

“Very competent and reliable advice.” – Intellectual property

“Kim & Chang successfully collated various data such as academic papers and financial information utilising patent data as a key input. The outcome provided integrated insight with a patent-based perspective on their industry and competitors.” – Intellectual property

“Professional but agile and adaptive advice and services. The team moves with urgency. Knows what is important and really strives to act on behalf of the client on various cases.” – Intellectual property

“The firm provided a well-balanced view and practical solution. They are the experts on Korean laws and Korean courts cases.” – Labour and employment

“Kim & Chang did a wonderful job defending Google before multiple regulators on our employment decisions.” – Labour and employment

“As we don't have global employment law team members based in South Korea, Kim & Chang are advising us on an ongoing basis. They are super-responsive, provide clear and pragmatic advice, great English and communication skills and also know and share relevant local practice as needed.” – Labour and employment

“Kim and Chang act as a trusted adviser. They understand our business and its associated values which underpin decision-making on labour and employment matters. They partner with us to discuss and strategise issues and adopt a commercially practical approach. They are responsive, often being available at short notice, and have unrivalled depth of experience in their team in the labour and employment space.” – Labour and employment

“Responsiveness, promptness, professionalism. Details.” – Labour and employment

“Professional team members including lawyers, tax lawyers, patent and trademark attorneys and accountants work in close coordination with each other.” – Private equity

“Most comprehensive services customised for M&A with breadth and depth of legal advice unparalleled in the market.” – Private equity

“Identified key regulation issues and mitigated several legal risk factors so that we could make improvements on the deals and eventually completed them.” – Private equity

“Even when we ask for very tight deadlines, Kim & Chang gets things done on time.” – Real estate

“Kim & Chang's professional assets and infrastructures.” – Regulatory

“The offshore wind farm complex development project at issues involves various complex regulatory issues. The firm not only provided accurate and efficient advice based on its accumulated knowledge and experience, but also provided its service in a proactive manner.” – Regulatory

“They fully understand the legal and factual issues and suggest legally persuasive explanations to a court.” – Regulatory

“They very well understand the core issue and provide pragmatic solutions with  accuracy and detail.” – Regulatory

“They are very professional.” – Tax

“We will continue to believe in their capabilities and will continue to strengthen our partnership." – Tax

“Understanding the arguments that can be made in defence of the company, and being willing to do so despite an aggressive government investigatory approach. Excellent English skills were instrumental, and their sense of urgency was key.” – Tax

“Kim & Chang is very responsive and understands the company’s needs and goals. Kim & Chang has a well-established group of attorneys and other professionals to manage relations with taxing authorities.” – Tax

“Kim & Chang boasted a team of highly skilled legal specialists proficient in various fields, enabling them to handle a diverse array of issues. Notably, the key counterpart attorneys representing our company were not only trustworthy but also proactive experts in their respective domains.” – Tax

“The first insight is to have a broad perspective on the case. It involves considering the potential impact of the case on the company in the future and exploring solutions from an overall standpoint.” – Tax

“Thoughtful, thorough and responsive.” – Tax

“Kim & Chang is unique in its position that it can support the client throughout different phases of business, from planning (by giving opinions) to implementation (by supporting APA) to tax office level audit (by assisting tax audit and MAP) and to court level audit (by defending the client at court). This enables the efficient retention of historical information and application of a consistent tax position. Simultaneously, Kim & Chang can provide a holistic review from non-tax angles, such as reporting obligations based on other laws. This helps the client to be ready for unforeseen legal obligations.” – Tax

Jay Kim

“Good communication skills and strategic advice. Jay is one of the best client managers I have ever known.”

In Hwan Kim

“Very professional.”

“In Hwan is totally invested in providing the best legal and business advice possible, regardless of the matter. He is extremely knowledgeable, and adds team members as needed. Our matter was and still is the first and only case to successfully recapture the price reduction of an original drug after generic entry.”

Daniel Kim

“Very competent, clear and reliable advice.”

Wan Suk Kim

“He gives quick and straightforward answers.”

John Kwak

“Knowledgeable and responsive.”

Kyung Yul Lee

“He understands the legal and political landscape very well and is able to provide effective guidance. He is always willing to make the extra effort to ensure that his and his team's advice is helpful.”

Min-Ho Lee

“Provides a solution based on an in-depth knowledge of the customer through excellent communication.”

Chunsoo Lee

“He showed practical and professional advice, good teamwork and problem-solving skills.”

Hyo Je Lee

“He is a very brilliant lawyer with a brilliant career, but he is also very honest and humble.”

Jongmin Lee

“Full engagement with the legal process, and very good experience and knowledge of IP and information security affairs.”

Yoonchang (Marcus) Lee

“He is smart and benevolent. He communicates well with the clients. Also, he is good at patent trials/lawsuits.”

Hwan Beom Lee

“Very responsive and swift action, pragmatic approach. He is very speedy and strategic.”

Shin Kwon Lim

“He is very thorough and has high knowledge and experience in the area.”

“A brilliant legal mind, Shin Kwon is also very efficient and responsive, which makes him an ideal counsel for complex M&A transactions.”

“He suggested acceptable solutions whenever I encountered unexpected problems, which was very valuable.”

Tae-Yeon Nam

“Very professional and shows depth of knowledge.”

Min-Young Oh

“Wide spectrum of knowledge spanning many fields, and understands the client's needs.”

Joon Hwan Park

“As a senior attorney in the maritime and energy fields, I understand Joonhwan has considerable experience and knowledge in the relevant field. He is very efficient and helpful in addressing licensing issues and is capable of handling work in the most proper and efficient manner. His communication skills are excellent in that he truly understands clients’ needs.”

Jong Hyun Park

“Great assessment of situation and potential risks; proactive and creative problem-solving; and willingness to go out of his way to find a solution in all situations.”

Jae Suk Park

“Provides solutions based on an in-depth knowledge of the customer's needs through excellent communication, with integrity, accountability and a commitment to ethics, while demonstrating resilience and enthusiasm.”

“Jae Suk Park, who is our business partner, prepared a well-organised ACVA filing strategy. It aligned well with the latest practice and trend. He and his team are highly qualified to achieve what the client wants.”

Soyun Park

“She is an incredibly talented and proactive tax specialist who possesses a friendly demeanour. Furthermore, she has a customer-centric mindset, always anticipating the potential needs of clients and proactively addressing hidden risks in advance. Without a doubt, she is one of the finest lawyers I have ever worked.”

Joel Richardson

“He has great communication skills (orally and in writing). He thinks very rapidly in a courtroom environment. He is very ethical. He has an excellent personality. He treats his co-workers with great respect. He does not take contrary opinions personally.”

“Excellent communication and legal knowledge, applying strategic thinking and responsiveness.”

“Partner Joel Richardson and his team are amazing. They know the law, the market, and are quick learners about the technology. They exhibit excellent judgement – prudent but not overly risk averse.”

Yoon Sang Sim

“Reliability and high level of expertise.”

“Yoon Sang is very responsive and provides concise and practical advice. Yong Sang effectively leads other attorneys and professionals.”

Bumkyu Sung

“Provides professional and practical advice with a very responsive and timely manner, demonstrating a deep understanding of the finance industry.”


Work highlights

Advised Ford Motor Company on its tax structuring of $13.2 billion joint venture with SK On. Since the joint venture involved a Korean company and a US company, it was necessary to devise a mutually acceptable structure that accommodated the tax systems of both countries and the existing tax structures of the partners. This task proved challenging due to the differences between the two countries' tax systems.

Private equity

Work highlights

Represented MBK Partners, UCK Partners and individual shareholders in its purchase and sale of Medit Corporation.

Advised Hahn & Company in its acquisition of industrial film business in SKC. The transaction involved a large-scale acquisition of a vertically spun-off business from SKC with a purchase price of approximately W1.6 trillion ($1.2 billion). 

Advised Brookfield Asset Management on its acquisition of industrial gas supply facilities of SK Materials Airplus. The facility acquired by Brookfield Asset Management supplies industrial gas required for the semiconductor production process at SK Hynix’s Icheon plant. The transaction is Brookfield Asset Management’s first infrastructure investment in Korea. 

Key clients

BCC Mandarin Investment, Pwarp Investment, UCK Partners.

Labour and employment

Work highlights

Representing car-sharing platform Socar in litigation involving the employee status of service drivers. This case is significant in that it is the first Korean court case to determine whether platform workers may be recognised as employees, which sets forth relevant criteria for the platform industry. Similar overseas court precedents include the California District Court case regarding the employee status of Uber drivers.

Key clients

AGC Fine Techno Korea, Daicel Safety Systems, Hyundai Motor Company.

Intellectual property

Work highlights

Represented Medytox in a trade secret misappropriation litigation against Daewoong.

Acted for a famous fashion company and successfully obtained an injunction and damage compensation against bags imitating the client’s bucket bag.

Represented BGF Retail, a convenience store franchisor, against the Korea Music Copyright Association's claim for approximately $2.21 million as damages or return of unjust enrichment for providing background music at the defendant's convenience stores.

Key clients

Chanel, Victaulic, Wisely.

Dispute resolution

Work highlights

Represented a life insurance company against claims by policyholders who sought $350 million in insurance payments. There had been no precedent that clearly states how to interpret an insurance policy and explain it to a policyholder when its terms and conditions include a complex structure in which the policyholder pays a single, lump-sum premium up front and receives monthly annuity with an unclear method for calculating the claim paid. On the other hand, similar terms and conditions have been widely used in the industry. This ruling sets out the standards that insurance companies must apply when designing and selling insurance products.

Representing Schindler Holding, one of the world’s leading providers of elevators, escalators and moving walkways, in an investment treaty arbitration against the Republic of Korea, brought under the Agreement on Investment between the Republic of Korea and the Republic of Iceland, the Principality of Liechtenstein and the Swiss Confederation. This case represents an important investment treaty arbitration concerning alleged regulatory failings of government authorities in Korea, including a financial supervisory regulator and a competition regulator. The ramifications of this investment treaty arbitration will be significant for defining the reviewable scope of such regulators’ authority in the context of investment treaties.

Key clients

Doosan Yonkang Foundation, Socar, VCNC.

Investment funds

Work highlights

Advised STIC Investments on the establishment of STIC Opportunities Private Equity Fund III.

Advised UCK Partners on the establishment of UCK’s Fund III, the third blind fund established by UCK Partners.

Key clients

IMM Private Equity.

Capital markets

Work highlights

Advised Korea Housing Finance Corporation on a series of transactions in connection with the establishment of the Global Covered Bond Programme and the issuance of covered bonds.

Advised Standard Chartered Bank Korea on its issuance of KRW-denominated Tier 2 subordinated capital securities.

Key clients

Citigroup Global Markets, Korea Western Power, Merrill Lynch International, Woori Bank.


Work highlights

Represented Korean Air in a global merger filing for the acquisition of 63.9% of shares in Asiana Airlines. As a merger between two global network full-service carriers, the merger between Korean Air and Asiana Airlines involves a total of 89 overlapping routes, 65 of which are international routes, and the parties have filed for merger review in most of the countries where overlapping routes arise. 

Representing a German automobile group in the Korea Financial Telecommunications & Clearings Institute (KFTC)’s investigation of alleged overseas cartel regarding certain R&D collaboration and joint legislative lobbying among the original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), where the KFTC is claiming its extraterritorial jurisdiction under the Monopoly Regulation and Fair Trade Act, Korea’s primary antitrust regulation. This unique case is the first international cartel case focused on R&D collaboration among foreign companies. It involves conflicting findings and conclusions of various agencies, highlighting the challenge of achieving global harmonisation in competition law enforcement.

Key clients, Samsung Biologics, SK Hynix.

Banking and finance

Work highlights

Acted for KB Securities on the financing for the acquisition of four drill ships constructed by Samsung Heavy Industries. This particular deal holds significance as it marks the first instance where drill ships under construction were registered for financing purposes. Prior to this transaction, there was uncertainty surrounding the registration and enforcement of mortgages on drill ships, especially before their construction was completed.

Acted for the Export-Import Bank of Korea on the financing of four LNG vessels under French tax lease. This deal was complex in that it involved the French tax lease structure and also scheduled accession after closing for certain portions of loans.

Key clients

BoComm Leasing, Brookfield Asset Management, Samsung Asset Management


Work highlights

Acted for Daewoo Engineering & Construction in defending against criminal charges including breach of trust, tax evasion and violation of the Act on External Audit of Stock Companies. The charges were related to off-balance sheet funds raised by Daewoo E&C, an issue commonly encountered by construction companies. The firm’s successful defence involved demonstrating that the funds were appropriately utilised and accounted for, and that there was no criminal intent involved. This outcome establishes an important precedent for similar cases and potential prosecutions in the future.

Key clients

GS Engineering & Construction, Korea District Heating Corporation, Samryoong, Saekyung Construction.

Aviation and shipping

Work highlights

Successfully represented 13 container shipping companies and Korea Shipowners’ Association in a judicial review action against the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport. These court proceedings involved the shipowners’ trans-shipment container handling charges in the Busan Port which have been set up with the fixed unit rates in accordance with new rules and regulations introduced by the Korean government. 

Representing liquefied natural gas (LNG) carriers in respect of a monetary claim involving freight for the forced boil-off-gas fuel use against shippers. This case is the first case where a dispute over freight has arisen between a shipping company and a shipper due to the International Maritime Organization sulphur content regulations in Korea.

Key clients

Amerijet International, Hyundai LNG Shipping, Korea Line LNG.


Work highlights

Represented Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) in its approximately W735 billion ($551 million) acquisition of redeemable convertible preferred shares (RCPS) in major South Korean energy firm SK E&S. The transaction is unique in that it allows the issuer, SK E&S, to redeem the RCPS in cash or in kind while also allowing KKR to convert the RCPS into common shares of SK E&S. 

Advised POSCO International on its merger with POSCO Energy. With this merger, POSCO International has scaled up to become the 11th largest company in South Korea in terms of sales, recording annual sales surpassing W40 trillion and annual operating profit of about W1 trillion.

Advised Brite Energy Partners, a wholly-owned subsidiary of BlackRock, and Mirae Asset Securities, Korea’s largest brokerage firm, on a renewable energy certificate supply agreement with an option to convert into a direct power purchase agreement (PPA) and a template PPA.

Key clients

Jeonnam Offshore Wind Power, Plug Power, Vestas.


Work highlights

Represented a life insurance company in a lawsuit filed by policyholders involving a dispute regarding the amount of annuity payment owed under the policy. This case arose out of a dispute over the calculation of annuity payments under an annuity insurance product that the defendant insurer had sold. The implications of this case were significant because a number of other insurers had sold similar insurance products in the market. This case provided much-needed guidance on the information that should be included in the terms of an annuity insurance contract and the scope of the insurers’ obligation to explain the terms of such annuity insurance products.

Real estate

Work highlights

Advised SK Hynix on a sale and leaseback transaction involving a parcel of land located in Seongnam-si, Gyeonggi-do, Korea, and the office building constructed thereon.

Advised Korea Investment Real Asset Management on the establishment of a real estate investment fund and the acquisition of the Kanda office building located in Chiyoda City, Tokyo by such fund through subscribing to trust beneficial interests by way of anonymous association.

Key clients

Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, YNP Asset Management.

Technology and telecommunications

Work highlights

Represented MBK Partners in its acquisition of existing shares of KoreaCenter from individual shareholders, subscription of new shares, convertible bond and bond with warrants.

Represented Yanolja in its acquisition of 70% stake in Interpark Corporation, established through spin-off of Interpark’s e-commerce business.

Represented Entegris in the Korea merger filing of its $6.5 billion acquisition of CMC Materials.

Key clients

Korea E-Commerce Holdings, Poshmark, Wemakeprice, Yanolja.