Korea’s Lee & Ko opts for Lex Mundi after Dentons offer

Korea ‘big five’ firm Lee & Ko has joined the ranks of global referral network Lex Mundi, two months after reportedly being approached by Dentons to join its Swiss verein network.

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In July, sources close to the market said Dentons’ management team had held talks with the country’s top six players including Kim & Chang, Bae Kim & Lee and Lee & Ko in recent months.

A source close to the firm said although partners were impressed by Dentons’ strategy, the negotiations were bad timing as it remains unclear how non-traditional firms are going to practice Korean law as the market slowly opens up.

“It’s still a little early for thinking of a single domination strategy,” a partner said, “but things can change over the next months and years.”

In the meantime, Lee & Ko has been confirmed as Lex Mundi’s exclusive Korean member, and it is understood that the attraction for the firm was the amount of referral work that it would receive from the combination of law firms in the network. The firm is also a member of the World Services Group (WSG) legal network and has worked with Interlaw.

Lee & Ko managing partner Jae Hoon Kim stated: “Our Lex Mundi membership will enhance our ability to serve our clients and contribute to their success, particularly our clients with global operations.  We look forward to working with Lex Mundi’s outstanding member firms around the world.”

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