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Ashurst enters South Korea with new joint venture

Global law firm Ashurst has established a joint venture with Korean law firm HwaHyun, which will see the BigLaw player expand its presence in Asia.

user iconJerome Doraisamy 29 November 2022 Big Law
Ashurst enters South Korea with new joint venture
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BigLaw firms in Australia are making big moves. Recently, Hamilton Locke expanded into New Zealand; Clyde & Co entered Thailand last week; and Dentons entered into a combination with a leading Indian firm last month.

Now — and following the recent expansion of its Australia-founded risk advisory business into the UK last month — Ashurst is set to launch in South Korea, after entering into a joint venture with Korean law firm HwaHyun.

HwaHyun is a full-service law firm in South Korea, specialising in corporate, intellectual property and technology, and dispute resolution.


Ashurst Korea JV will, the firm said in a statement, “significantly expand” the firm’s existing outbound Korean practice by building a local presence.

The JV was approved by the Korean Ministry of Justice on 29 November 2022, which noted that "this is the first time a joint venture law firm has been authorised since the Korean legal services market implemented phase 3 (August 2016) in respect of certain countries that it has with Free Trade Agreements".

The JV between HwaHyun and Ashurst "is an exciting development both for our Asia offering and the global firm", said Ashurst global chief executive Paul Jenkins (pictured).

“Asia is a critically important part of Ashurst’s strategy, and throughout the last year, we have continued to make focused and strategic investments in the region. The JV reflects our ambitions in the market.

“Over the last 12 months, we have seen strong performance in Asia, which we expect to continue. By combining Ashurst’s global strength with HwaHyun’s local expertise, the joint venture will help us service our clients with their inbound and outbound business opportunities.

“I am confident that this partnership will be a great success for our people and our clients.”

Ashurst head of Asia Jini Lee added: “HwaHyun’s significant expertise and deep understanding of the Korean market is a perfect complement to our existing offering. The joint venture will allow us to provide exceptional service to our clients and to further develop our capability and drive forward our success in the market.”

HwaHyun managing partner Kyung-Shik Shin said: “Ashurst has impressive credentials and a clear vision and strategy for what it wants to achieve in Asia and globally. HwaHyun is a solid mid-sized law firm in [South] Korea with very strong local capabilities and continuing aspirations for international practices. This significant development is a key step in both firms delivering on their ambitions.”

In 2019, fellow global law firm Dentons entered into a combination with Lee International, under which the BigLaw player's South Korean operations are owned and controlled by the local entity, now called Dentons Lee.

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