IEL Elite

Kim & Chang

Prestigious domestic practice

South Korea

Overview

Chun Wook Hyun and Weon Jung Kim in Seoul lead the fantastically well-positioned and connected” employment team at Kim & Chang.

With more than 100 dedicated specialists, including US-qualified attorneys, the group has an impressive depth of bench to advise on issues impacting workforces in South Korea and beyond, and is regularly called upon to assist international firms. The practice also has a presence in Hong Kong, Singapore, and Vietnam, and is the South Korean member of the Employment Law Alliance, further enhancing its cross-border abilities.

Kim & Chang is our go-to: it is a reliable team that understands cross-border advice, and delivers. And you can be confident that whoever picks up the matter is going to be good.

The recent prominent hires of ex-judges from Seoul High Court and Seoul Central District Court have further bolstered the departments offering.

Specialisms

The teams broad skillset spans the breadth of issues impacting workforces – from establishing or winding down operations through to incentives and benefits, discrimination and harassment, support in labour ministry investigations, disciplinary proceedings, and avoiding strike action. Other areas of expertise include non-regular workers, health and safety, and non-compete arrangements.

In particular, the team prides itself on being a strategic partner for clients, and demonstrates significant prowess in assisting with business-critical decisions and advising on crisis management – including well in advance of any potential issues.

For example, the department acted for Citibank on the winding down of its Korean entitys consumer finance business – including liaising with regulatory bodies, and establishing a successful strategic roadmap for discussions with the labour union and the impacted employees.

This expertise was also demonstrated in advice to eBay Korea on the sale of its local business. A team led by Sung Min Won and Hyun Jae Park assisted eBay with addressing employee concerns about the impact of the sale on working conditions and job security, to ensure that the deal passed off successfully.

Another area of significant activity is supporting clients with disputes – including civil and criminal claims.

Notably, the team has a strong track record in advising on lawsuits involving key labour relations issues that are likely to set a legal precedent. For example, team members Jun Ho Hong, Sung Il Yoon, and Dong Min Cho successfully demonstrated at both first instance and appellate courts that a bank had lawfully introduced a wage peak system” (which gradually reduces the salaries of senior employees once they are 55 years old), after a number of employees filed a lawsuit claiming it had been introduced without their consent.

Clients

  • Hyundai Motor Company
  • Hyundai Heavy Industries
  • POSCO
  • Pfizer
  • Oracle
  • SK Hynix
  • Hana Bank
  • Asiana Airlines   
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