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Cleary Gottlieb Announces Plans to Open Office in Seoul, Korea

Leading international law firm Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP announced today its plans to open an office in Seoul, Korea during the first half of 2012.

The firm’s announcement comes after the recent ratification of the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement by both countries; this resulted in the opening in 2012 of the Korean legal services market to U.S.-based law firms.

Partner Yong Guk Lee and counsel Jay Hoon Choi, both currently based in Hong Kong, will relocate to Seoul.

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Cleary Gottlieb managing partner Mark Leddy was quoted as saying in a press release at the firm’s website: “Our plan to open an office in Korea as soon as we are able reflects our 30 year commitment to Asia. During that period, our Korea practice has become the leading international practice covering Korea. Having Cleary Gottlieb lawyers in Seoul will allow us to serve both our Korea-based clients as well as clients outside the region doing business there more efficiently and effectively.”

As well, several associates fluent in Korean from the firm’s Korea practice will relocate to Seoul. In addition, the firm also plans to relocate other members of the Korea practice team to Seoul over a period of time. Cleary Gottlieb attorneys in Seoul will continue to be fully integrated with the firm’s larger Asia practice.

Cleary Gottlieb has had a robust Korea practice for over twenty years. With over 30 lawyers worldwide fluent in Korean – this includes four partners, two counsel, one senior attorney and ten associates based in Hong Kong – the firm possesses a team of uniquely talented, native Korean-speaking lawyers.

In addition, the firm has a broad network of relationships with leading Korean law firms with whom it works hand in hand to ensure that clients receive exceptional Korean law advice.

Cleary Gottlieb opened offices in Hong Kong in 1980 and in Beijing in 2006. The firm has operated continuously in Asia through times of extraordinary changes in the economies of many Asian countries. The firm has developed a thorough understanding of the region and an unmatched ability to work for clients based in Asia and for those based outside of Asia doing business there. Currently, the firm has more than fifty lawyers resident in Asia serving the needs of those clients.

Cleary Gottlieb has significant experience in a broad range of public and private sector transactions, as well as litigation, arbitration and enforcement matters, involving Korea. The firm assists Korean clients with their capital raising, overseas investment and other activities and assists non-Korean clients in direct investment in Korea. These transactions often require advice with respect to a range of issues, including finance, corporate governance, tax and disclosure of information. As well, the firm has broad experience and has enjoyed great success in litigating and arbitrating important disputes on behalf of Korean clients and in matters involving Korea. The firm also handles sensitive criminal and regulatory matters, including conducting internal investigations, for Korean clients and for companies facing such issues in Korea.

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP was founded in 1946, and has over 1,100 attorneys worldwide.

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