Bae, Kim & Lee (BKL) has opened an office in Dubai, becoming the first Korean firm to establish a presence in the Middle East.

The new office will focus primarily on advising Korean companies on construction, energy and natural resources and international arbitration matters in the Middle East and Africa.

Senior BKL partners Kap You (Kevin) Kim and Gun Chul Do will oversee the new office from Seoul, while attorney Hyun Jong (Jason) Kim will lead the Dubai-based team.

Hyun Jong Kim, who has lived in Dubai for the past six years, joined BKL earlier this year from LG Electronics in Dubai, where he was the regional general counsel for the Middle East and Africa. “Korean companies have been very active in the Middle East in recent years and Korean investment in the region continues to expand across a variety of sectors,” he said in a statement.

The Dubai outpost is BKL’s third overseas office. The firm set up shop in Beijing and Shanghai in 2002 and 2008, respectively.

BKL said it also plans to launch an office in Hong Kong, Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi in the first half of this year.