HSF aligns Seoul office to Australia amid Brexit concerns

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The potential issue of Herbert Smith Freehills lawyers being unable to operate in South Korea because of Brexit uncertainty has been solved.

The firm’s Seoul office was opened in 2013 as branch of its UK partnership under the free trade agreement between the EU and Korea.

It has now been re-registered with the South Korea Ministry of Justice as a branch office of HSF’s Australian partnership under the Australia-Korea FTA.

"We are delighted for our lawyers and clients in Seoul that we are now back to business as usual," said Asia managing partner Justin D'Agostino. "Our team is particularly grateful to the South Korean Ministry of Justice and the Korean Bar Association for their quick consideration of our application, and to the British and Australian embassies for their support since this issue first arose."

Diverse teams and innovation among key issues for legal teams
Corporate legal teams need to adapt to better collaborate with external stakeholders according to a new study.

Both in-house and external legal teams must improve diversity, shown to boost performance; the study says only 29% of in-house teams have a formal diversity programme.

“It is disheartening to see that law firms and in-house legal teams still struggle with diversity issues,” said Lisa Hart Shepherd, CEO of Acritas. “Our research shows that male in-house counsel are biased in favor of selecting male external advisors and pick women as lead partner in just 17 percent of cases, and just 29 percent of law departments require diversity information from their law firms.”

Other findings of the ‘2019 State of Corporate Law Departments: Improving the Impact of Legal Services’ report from Thomson Reuters Legal Executive Institute and Acritas, include the importance of legal departments to embrace technology, overhaul work processes and pricing models and build collaborative partnerships with external law firms and alternative legal service providers. Those that do achieve higher performance rankings.

“This is a challenging time for corporate law departments, as they strive to support their company’s growth in a dynamic and fast-moving business environment while controlling risk and minimizing spend,” said Sari Dweck, senior vice president and lead counsel for Thomson Reuters Corporates Segment. “To be effective, they need to build diverse teams, embrace technology, ensure their department is aligned to the company’s strategic business objectives and stay ahead of changing regulations.”

Latham & Watkins partner appointed to HKIAC council
The Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre has appointed a Latham & Watkins partner to its governing council.

Ing Loong Yang joins a select group of private practitioners, arbitrators, and in-house counsel from diverse jurisdictions who advise the HKIAC on its policies and general management.

His practice largely focuses on cross-border disputes involving Greater China.

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