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Recent Developments

[Law Times] [Exclusive] Former Director of MOJ Legal Affairs Division Yang Ho Park Joins Lee & Ko
On June 19, 2024, the Law Times reported that Yang Ho Park, former Director of the Legal Affairs Division of the Ministry of Justice will join Lee & Ko. The Law Times explained that Mr. Park “completed the 35th Judicial Research & Training Institute in 2006 and was appointed as a prosecutor at the Jeonju District Prosecutor’s Office”, that “he served as a deputy prosecutor at the Seoul Central District Prosecutor’s Office, prosecution at the Ministry of Justice, head of the Jecheon branch at the Cheongju District Prosecutor’s Office after serving as the prosecutor of the Office of Legal Counsel at the Ministry of Justice”, and that “he finished his public service last month after serving as the director of the Legal Affairs Division of the Ministry of Justice since September last year”. Mr. Park is expected to work in Lee & Ko’s Criminal Defense Team. 
[Legal Times] Interview with Sang Gon Kim, Managing Partner of Lee & Ko
On June 11, 2024, Legal Times featured an interview with Sang Gon Kim, Managing Partner of Lee & Ko. This month’s edition spotlighted Mr. Kim as a “lawyer whose career is a testament to his dedication to the firm, starting as an associate in 1994 and ultimately ascending to the role of managing director after 28 years.” In the interview, Mr. Kim stated, “After two years of 'homogenization' and 'rebalancing' efforts, I don't think any specific endeavors are needed in any of our teams for now,” and added, “It is noteworthy that our firm has constantly addressed our past shortcomings through these homogenization and rebalancing efforts, while successfully maintaining our robust advisory prowess in financial investments and M&A. I believe this approach has allowed us to gain a competitive edge among other firms.” Mr. Kim concluded with confidence, stating, “I anticipate that, if the advisory market rebounds to 2021 levels due to US interest rate cuts, Lee & Ko will lead in securing outstanding achievements and run at the forefront to seize this opportunity for continued expansion.”
[Tax Daily] [Tax Case Analysis] Consideration for Domestic Services of a Foreign Corporation as 'Personal Service Income' Under Corporate Income Tax Act, Regardless of Tax Treaty - Jaekyoung Han, Lee & Ko
On May 28, 2024, an article by Foreign Attorney Jaekyoung Han of Lee & Ko was published in the Tax Daily discussing a ruling by the Seoul Administrative Court on November 25, 2022 (2021Guhap68780). Ms. Han highlighted the significance of the judgment, stating, “This ruling reaffirms the principle that when there is a discrepancy between income classification under a tax treaty and domestic tax law, the tax treaty prevails in recognizing the right to taxation. However, the method of taxing such income must align with domestic tax law, unless the domestic law explicitly restricts this right, even when distinguishing between business income and personal services income.”
[E-Daily] Lee & Ko Attorneys Keum Nang Park and Sung Hui Yoon Selected as Asia-Pacific’s Top Lawyers
On May 27, 2024, the E-Daily reported that Lee & Ko attorneys Keum Nang Park and Sung Hui Yoon were selected as ‘Top 100 Women in Litigation’ and ‘Top 40 Under 40 2024’ respectively for the Asia-Pacific region as published by Benchmark Litigation. As the Co-head of Lee & Ko’s Healthcare Group, Ms. Keum Nang Park has gained experience in cases related to intellectual property rights such as pharmaceutical and biotechnology patents. As one of the key attorneys in Lee & Ko’s Construction & Real Estate Group and Environmental Safety Group, Mr. Sung Hui Yoon advises and represents client in the practice areas of construction, real estate, occupational safety and serious accidents, public-private partnership project, administrative litigation etc. 
[Jose Ilbo] Lee & Ko Wins 4 Awards including “Commercial and Transactions Firm of the Year” in the “Benchmark Litigation Awards”
On May 24, 2024, Jose Ilbo reported Lee & Ko’s winning of awards. Lee & Ko was awarded in four categories at the “Benchmark Litigation Asia-Pacific Awards 2024”. First, Lee & Ko was honored with the ‘Commercial and Transactions Firm of the Year’ and ‘Labour and Employment Firm of the Year’ awards. In addition, the firm also won two “Impact Cases of the Year” awards in recognition of its performance in the largest dispute in South Korean history of patent litigation against a global healthcare company’s global blockbuster heart failure treatment agent and an insurance claim for an accident occurred during the construction of a double-track railway public-private partnership project in Busan. 
[Legal Times] [Law Firm iN] Lee & Ko’s Managing Partner Sang Gon Kim Participates in the “Bye Bye Plastic Challenge”
On May 23, 2024, the Legal Times reported the participation of Sang Gon Kim, Managing Partner of Lee & Ko, in the “Bye Bye Plastic Challenge”. The Bye Bye Plastic Challenge is a national environmental protection campaign launched by the Ministry of Environment since August last year to reduce unnecessary plastic use in daily life and encourage good consumption. Mr. Sang Gon Kim, who participated in the challenge after appointment Mr. Wan Seong Kim, CEO of SK Magic, promised “Lee & Ko will also continue to pay attention to environmental problems and practice good consumption to reduce plastic use”. Mr. Sang Gon Kim recommended Mr. Chun Kyoo Park, director of the United Nations Office for Sustainable Development (UNOSD), as the next challenger. 
[Maeil Business Newspaper] Lee & Ko’s dream team of all versatility, including accounting, interpretation, and legal spaces, successfully scored wins in fund redemption and cryptocurrencies lawsuits
On April 22, 2024, Lee & Ko Criminal Defense (Litigation) Team was introduced in Maeil Business Newspaper. Maeil Business Newspaper stated, “Lee & Ko Criminal Defense (Litigation) Team has led several landmark cases with huge reverberations in the legal field. The key to such achievements lies in the talented practitioners at Lee & Ko. This year, Lee & Ko recruited high-profile laterals, such as Donghyuk Kang, who previously served as Deputy Director General  for criminal trials at the National Court Administration and Head of the Sentencing Committee Support Team, as well as elite judges, including former Chief Judge Joonah Jang, Kisang Jung." Lee & Ko Criminal Defense (Litigation) Team is led by Pyoungkeun Song, the managing partner. He noted, "Due to the complexity of corporate criminal cases and the high level of expertise required, we are continuously striving to recruit and nurture outstanding individuals to maintain the highest level of competence in our Criminal Defense (Litigation) team. We also ensure meticulous management throughout the process, considering the significant impact of case results on each and every companies, and stay focused without losing attention to every minute details."
[Chosun Biz] Lee & Ko Launches South Korea’s Largest Tech & AI Team
On April 22, 2024, Chosun Biz reported that Lee & Ko has established the largest Tech & AI team in South Korea, comprised of over 100 specialists, including lawyers and former regulatory officials. Chosun Biz stated, “The Lee & Ko Tech & AI team aims to provide comprehensive one-stop legal services that cover every aspect of utilizing AI and new technologies, from liaising with regulatory authorities, offering legislative consulting, and handling investigations and sanctions.” The team is led by Attorney Hwan-kyoung KO, who specializes in personal information, data, IT, and digital finance sectors.
[Korea Economic Daily] Law Firm Lee & Ko Expands Environmental Team in Response to Rising Climate Litigation
As reported by the Korea Economic Daily on April 21, 2024, law firm Lee & Ko has been bolstering its Environmental Team. Established in 2016 with around 20 members, the team now boasts 32 specialists. Attorney Tong Keun Seol, who has served as a legal advisor to the Ministry of Environment, is leading the team. Additionally, attorney Hongkyun Kim, who has been teaching environmental law at Hanyang University for over 22 years, joined the team in 2022. This year, Younseob Lee, former Director General of the Planning and Coordination Bureau at the Ministry of Environment (who passed the National Higher Civil Service Examination in 1999), will be joining the firm to enhance its advisory capabilities in the Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) field.
[Monthly Labor Law] The Serious Accidents Punishment Act, Ultimately to the Constitutional Court... ‘Expanding the Scope to Less Than 50 Employees', Will It Impact the Decision on unconstitutionality?
On April 19, 2024, Monthly Labor Law featured a comment from attorney Yoon Ryeong Eom at Lee Ko, regarding the referral of the constitutional appeal on the Serious Accidents Punishment Act to the full bench of the Constitutional Court. Representing the Korea Federation of Small and Medium Business, Eom noted, "Although this constitutional appeal was made before its application to businesses with fewer than 50 employees, the appeal is significant because it involves workplaces that face practical difficulties in complying with the Serious Accidents Punishment Act." He added, "Even though small and medium-sized businesses make their utmost efforts to comply, they may still fall short of the required legal standards. Thus, we plan to emphasize that applying the same causality and punishment regulations to businesses with fewer than 50 employees is excessively burdensome."
[E-Daily] Lee & Ko, at the forefront of pro bono litigation for refugees, honored for greatest contribution in Asia Pacific [News of Warmth] – Lee & Ko Attorney Seok Pyo Hong
On April 15, 2024, E-Daily featured an interview with Lee & Ko’s attorney Seok Pyo Hong. The firm has recently received the Specialist award – Pro Bono at the 2024 IFLR Asia Pacific Awards, hosted by IFLR, a global financial and legal magazine, in recognition of its contribution to winning a lawsuit involving a refugee case. Commenting on this achievement, Mr. Hong, overseeing the firm’s overall public interest activities, said, “This signifies that Lee & Ko’s contribution to public interest has been acknowledged as the most impactful among law firms across the Asia-Pacific region, including Australia.” He further noted, “The award carries considerable significance in that it is unprecedented for domestic law firms to be awarded for their pro bono activities.”
[Aju Economy] Lee & Ko – 200 Lawyers Deployed… Big 3 Clash in the “Rapid Rise'” in Employment Law Practice
On 8 April 2024, Aju Economy introduced the employment and labor practice team at Lee & Ko. Aju Economy stated, "Attorney Chang-soo Jin leads Lee & Ko's employment and labor litigation arm," and explained, "[Mr. Jin] graduated from Seoul National University Law School and was a presiding judge before joining Lee & Ko in 2016. He specialized in labor-related civil trials at the Seoul Southern District Court for five years." Aju Economy added, "Lee & Ko has formed an employment/labor specialist team of more than 30 members and actively targets the employment law market.” Aju Economy further stated that "recently, Lee & Ko has been turning up the heat by actively recruiting experts, such as former Daegu District Prosecutor's Office Chief – Sanghyun Lee, who specializes in employment and labor cases.