This content is from: Local Insights

Foreign lawyers

Foreign lawyers will soon be prohibited from entering into any cooperative business arrangements with their Korean counterparts (in the form of joint venture, alliance or employment), according to a draft bill under review by the Korean Ministry of Justice.

The draft bill on the domestic operations of the foreign legal profession states that foreign lawyers who do not have a domestic licence will have to use the official title foreign legal adviser instead of lawyer or attorney. They must also get approval from the Ministry of Justice and be registered with the Korean Bar Association before they can practise in Korea.

For foreign lawyers to be admitted to the Korean legal service market, they must fulfil a three-year practice requirement in the jurisdiction in which they are licensed to practise.

Foreign lawyers' practice areas will be limited to advising clients on overseas laws and cases related to international law, and foreign lawyers will be banned from dealing with judicial procedures falling under the control of the Korean court, prosecution and other government authorities, as well as affairs related to domestic public licences, real estate and intellectual property rights.

Under the draft bill, foreign lawyers practising in Korea will be obliged to stay in Korea for at least 180 days a year.

The Ministry of Justice is expected to finalize the draft bill in the first half of next year for submission to the National Assembly for approval.

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