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+82-2-6386-6241
E-mail
robert.wachter@leeko.com

Robert WACHTER / FCIArb

Senior Foreign Attorney
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Expertise

International Arbitration, Construction, Energy & Natural Resources, Maritime & Shipping, Real Estate

Languages

English and Korean

Introduction

Robert Wachter is co-head of the International Arbitration & Cross-Border Litigation Group at Lee & Ko. He has acted as counsel, arbitrator or arbitral secretary in more than 75 international arbitration cases brought under all of the major arbitration rules, including the ICC, KCAB, VIAC, Swiss Chambers, SIAC, LCIA, SCC, JCAA and UNCITRAL arbitration rules.  

 

Mr. Wachter has lectured as an adjunct professor at Seoul National University School of Law, the Supreme Court of Korea (Judicial Research and Training Institute), and Ewha Womans University. He also regularly participates in conferences and seminars on international arbitration. He has published various academic articles about international arbitration and Korean law.

 

Mr. Wachter has been recognized as a leading practitioner by Chambers and Partners, Legal 500, Who’s Who, and Who’s Who-Future Leaders.

 

“… popular advocate with exceptional skills at simplifying even the most complicated matters.”

- Chambers Global (2019)

 

 “… knows his cases inside and out and presents his arguments in a clear manner … an excellent advocate and meticulous cross examiner.”

- Who’s Who Legal Arbitration (2019)

 

“…truly zealous, thorough worker and brilliant lawyer...”

- Chambers Asia (2017)

 

“…methodical, organized and impressive…”

- Legal 500 (2016)

 

Mr. Wachter has extensive experience in both common law and civil law jurisdictions. He began his career as a law clerk to the Hon. Samuel P. King, Senior United States District Judge for the District of Hawaii. He worked at the San Francisco office of O’Melveny & Myers LLP, where he was promoted to Counsel before moving abroad to Korea in 2004.  From 2011 to 2014 Mr. Wachter worked in Austria at Graf & Pitkowitz, an arbitration boutique firm based in Vienna before returning to Korea in 2014. He worked in the international arbitration practice group at Kim & Chang before joining Lee & Ko as the co-head of the practice in 2015.

Representative Cases

Mr. Wachter has represented corporations, trusts, and governmental entities in a wide range of contract disputes arising under shareholders agreements, joint venture agreements, M&A contracts, construction contracts, public private partnership (PPP) contracts, and long term energy and industrial supply agreements. He has worked extensively in a broad range of industries including the life sciences, construction, automotive, shipping, energy and telecommunications sectors.  The following list is representative of some of the cases that Mr. Wachter has managed:

[Infrastructure and Construction]
  • Represented an investor in a public private partnership (PPP) infrastructure dispute against a Korean regional government (ICC Rules)
  • Represented a Korean municipal government in a public private partnership (PPP) construction dispute brought by the investor (ICC Rules)
  • Represented a rolling stock producer in a joint venture and intellectual property licensing dispute against an Indian manufacturer (ICC Rules) 
  • Represented a Korean supplier in a construction dispute against a Russian contractor for an electricity generation plant in India (SCC Rules) 
  • Represented an American subcontractor against the Korean contractor in a construction defects dispute involving a collapsed structure (ICC Rules)
  • Represented a European party in a dispute against its Korean consortium partner in connection with the construction of a steel production plant (KCAB Rules)
  • Represented a Korean insurance company in a dispute over refurbishment of a nuclear power plant reactor (UNCITRAL Rules)
  • Represented a Korean power producer in a defects dispute with a foreign steam turbine manufacturer (KCAB Rules)
  • Represented a Korean construction company in a costs and delay dispute for an infrastructure project in Thailand
  • Represented a Korean construction company against a US supplier in a dispute related to the construction of a refinery in the UAE (ICC Rules)

[Life Sciences]
  • Represented a Korean biotechnology company in a dispute related to its patent licensing contract with a Swiss pharmaceutical company (Swiss Rules)
  • Represented a Korean pharmaceutical company in a drug development and licensing dispute against a Russian pharmaceutical company (LCIA Rules)
  • Represented a European pharmaceutical company in a dispute with one of its former distributors (Vienna Rules)
  • Represented a foreign pharmaceutical company in a licensing dispute with a Korean company concerning a development-stage therapy under consideration by the US FDA (ICC Rules)
  • Represented a Swiss implant company in an IP technology transfer dispute against a Korean company (ICC Rules)

[Intellectual Property]
  • Represented a Chinese online gaming company in a licensing dispute against a Korean gaming company (ICC Rules)
  • Represented a Korean energy company in a software licensing dispute against a European ERP software publisher (UNCITRAL Rules)
  • Represented a Korean broadcasting company in a dispute against one of its encryption software providers (UNCITRAL Rules)
  • Represented a Korean party against a German party in a joint venture and intellectual property rights dispute where the joint venture company produced products used in the semiconductor manufacturing process (ICC Rules)

[Offshore, Shipping and Shipbuilding Disputes]
  • Represented a Korean shipbuilding company in a dispute against a European components supplier for a vessels to be supplied under a military procurement contract (ICC Rules)
  • Represented an offshore engineering and construction company in a dispute concerning relating to a single-point mooring (SPM) anchoring and undersea pipeline installation project (ICC Rules)
  • Represented a Korean steel pipes producer in a dispute against a Norwegian shipping company over a long term contract of affreightment (SIAC Rules)

[Telecommunications]
  • Represented a Korean telecommunications company in a dispute against a US supplier under a defense procurement contract (KCAB Rules)
  • Represented a U.S. telecommunications company in a shareholders dispute against an Indonesian media company (ICC Rules)

[Distributorship and Franchising]
  • Represented a Korean telecommunicating company in a contract dispute with a European software publisher (ICC Rules)
  • Represented a European distributor in a termination compensation dispute against a Korean optical components manufacturer (KCAB Rules)
  • Represented a European pharmaceutical company in a dispute with one of its Scandinavian distributors (Vienna Rules)
  • Represented a Korean medical device manufacturer in a distributorship dispute with its former European distributor (ICC Rules)
  • Represented a Japanese restaurant franchisor in a dispute against its Korean franchisee (ICC Rules)
  • Represented a Korean restaurant franchisor in a dispute against its Vietnamese franchisee (KCAB Rules)

[M&A and Tax]
  • Represented a US company in an M&A dispute in connection with the sale of its Korean subsidiary to another Korean company (ICC Rules)
  • Represented a Korean company in a post-closing M&A dispute against a European luxury brand company (KCAB Rules)
  • Represented a Swiss implant company in debt-to-equity conversion dispute against a Korean company (ICC Rules)
  • Represented a Korean company in a tax indemnity dispute with a U.S. technology company (ICC Rules)

[Shareholders and Joint Venture]
  • Represented a European industrial liquid logistics company in a joint venture dispute with its Korean partners (ICC Rules)
  • Represented a Korean telecommunications company in a shareholders dispute against an Indonesian media conglomerate (ICC Rules)
  • Represented a German automotive company in a shareholders dispute with the controlling shareholder in a Korean automotive company (JCAA Rules)

[Long Term Supply Contracts]
  • Represented a Korean subsidiary of a European industrial gas supplier in a dispute against a Korean steel producer arising under a long term supply contract (ICC Rules)
  • Represented an Eastern European electricity producer in a long term supply agreement dispute brought by a Swiss energy company (Vienna Rules)

[Art and Sports]
  • Represented a group of heirs in a dispute over compensation paid for a Klimt painting looted during WWII (UNCITRAL Rules)
  • Represented Korean Olympic gold medalist Tae Hwan Park is a dispute with the Korean Olympic Committee and the Korean Swimming Federation concerning qualification to participate in the 2016 Summer Olympics (CAS Rules and Korean court)

[CISG and Trade in Goods]
  • Represented a Korean energy company in a CISG dispute against a Chinese energy company (KCAB Rules)
  • Represented a Korean trading company in a CISG dispute against a Singaporean trading company (SIAC Rules)

Education

1996 University of Hawaii – J.D., Class Rank #1

1993 University of California at San Diego – B.A.,

Work Experience

2015-Present Lee & Ko

2014-2015 Kim & Chang, Seoul

2012-2014 Graf & Pitkowitz Rechtsanwälte GmbH, Vienna

2005-2011 Yulchon, Seoul

1998-2004 O’Melveny & Myers LLP, San Francisco

1997-1998 Ashford & Wriston, Honolulu

1996-1997 Law Clerk to the Honorable Samuel P. King, Senior U.S. District Judge for the District of Hawaii

Admissions

Admitted to Bar, California: 1999 

Publications / Presentations

[PUBLICATIONS]
  • Korea, in Asia Arbitration Guide – 6th Extended and Revised Edition (Respondek, ed. 2019) (co-author)
  • South Korea, in The Baker McKenzie International Arbitration Yearbook (12th ed. 2019) (co-author)
  • South Korea, in The Baker McKenzie International Arbitration Yearbook (11th ed. 2018) (co-author)
  • South Korea, in Handbook on Third Party Funding in International Arbitration (Juris, 2018) (co-author)
  • Introduction to the KCAB International Rules and Practice, in Dispute Resolution Journal (Vol. 17, Juris 2017) (co-author)
  • South Korea, in International Encyclopedia of Agency & Distribution Agreements (Augustín Jausas ed., supp. 32, Kluwer Law International) (co-author) (2017)
  • South Korea, in GAR Know how: Investment Treaty Arbitration 2016 (October 2016) - http://globalarbitrationreview.com/know-how/topics/2000010/investment-treaty-arbitration-2016 (co-author)
  • South Korea, in Corporate Laws of the World: A Handbook (Wegen, Barth & Spahlinger, eds. 2013) (co-author)
  • On the Inherent Powers of Arbitral Tribunals in International Commercial Arbitration, in Austrian Yearbook of Int’l Arb 65 (Klausegger et al., eds. 2012)
  • Ethical Standards in International Arbitration: Considering Solutions to Level the Playing Field, 24 Geo. J. Legal Ethics 1143 (Fall 2011)
  • Confidentiality in International Arbitration: Including a Korean Law Perspective, 1 Dong-A J. of Intl. Bus. Trans. L. 63 (2010) (co-author)
  • Hedge Funds in Korea, in Hedge Funds and the Law 398 (Richard Frase ed. 2010) (co-author)
  • Real Estate Law, in Korean Business Law: The Legal Landscape and Beyond 251 (Jasper Kim ed. 2010) (co-author)
  • Development and Taxation of Real Estate Investment Trusts: South Korea, Asia-Pacific Tax Bulletin, Vol. 11 No. 6 (2005) (co-author)
  • An Analysis of the Standing and Jurisdiction Prerequisites for Direct Appeal of Agency Action to the Circuit Court after Bush v. Hawaiian Homes Commission, 17 U. Haw. L. Rev. 375 (1995)
 
[Recent Speaking Engagements]
  • Speaker, CILS International Arbitration Symposium, Salzburg (June 2018)
  • Faculty, SIAC Academy, Seoul (June 2018)
  • Moderator, Wolters-Kluwer International Arbitration Summit, Shanghai (April 2018) 
  • Speaker, Arb|Aut KCAB Coffeehouse Debate, Vienna (March 2018)
  • Speaker, Training Program for Judges in Vietnam, JRTI International Judicial Cooperation Center (Nov 2017)
  • Faculty, Seoul Academy for International Arbitration, Seoul ADR Festival (Nov 2017)
  • Speaker, ICC Conference, Seoul ADR Festival (Nov 2017)
  • Speaker, VIAC-KCAB Viennese Breakfast, Seoul ADR Festival (Nov 2017) 
  • Moderator, Wolters-Kluwer International Arbitration Summit, Seoul (Oct 2017) 
  • Speaker, SIAC Seminar in Seoul, Korea (June 2017)
  • Speaker, WIPO-LESK ADR Seminar (June 2017)
  • Speaker, Wolters-Kluwer International Arbitration Summit, Seoul (Oct 2016) 
  • Speaker, ABA International Section, Tokyo (Oct 2016)
  • Speaker, CILS International Arbitration Symposium, Salzburg (June 2016)
  • Speaker, KCAB-SHIAC Conference, Shanghai (April 2016)
  • Lecturer, SKK University Arbitration Program, Seoul (Dec 2015)
  • Discussant, AP Transparency Observatory Inaugural Conference, Seoul (Dec 2015)
  • Speaker, YSIAC Advocacy Workshop, Seoul (Nov 2015)
  • Speaker, Korea In-house Counsel Association Annual Seminar, Seoul (Nov 2015)
  • Speaker, SIDRC Korea Arbitration Festival, Seoul (Nov 2015)
  • Discussant, Korean Society of International Investment Law, Seoul (Oct 2015)
  • Speaker, CILS International Arbitration Symposium, Salzburg (May 2014)
  • Speaker, Austria-Turkey Joint Conference, Istanbul (May 2012)

Awards and Recognitions
• Band 1 – Arbitration (Chambers Asia Pacific 2021)
• Client Choice Award (Lexology 2020)
• Band 1 – Arbitration (Chambers and Partners 2020)
• Thought Leaders – Arbitration (Who’s Who Legal 2020)
• Who’s Who Legal Arbitration (2020)
• Litigation Star –Asia-Pacific 2020 (Benchmark Litigation 2020)
• Distinguished Practitioner (Asialaw 2020)
• Leading Individual (Legal 500 2019)
• Most Highly Regarded (Who’s Who Legal (Korea) 2019)
• Thought Leaders – Arbitration (Who’s Who Legal 2019)