Magic Circle firm Clifford Chance is closing its office in the South Korean capital of Seoul, nine years after it was established.

In a statement provided to ALB, a Clifford Chance spokesperson said the decision had followed a “detailed review” of the business. The firm begun to “unwind” its operations earlier this year and said it will no longer maintain an office base in Korea.

“We concluded that we are able to serve our important Korean clients and strengthen our ties with them through our network of lawyers across the firm who have extensive experience in Korea, as well as through our relationships with the leading Korean law firms,” the statement said.

The firm was something of a trailblazer, being one the first international law firms to establish a presence in the Korean market back in 2012. However, in 2018-2019, the firm saw a number of departures in Seoul, including office head Kim Hyun-suk.

The closure of the Seoul office follows the exits of U.S. law firms McDermott Will & Emery and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett from Korea, in 2019 and 2018, respectively.

“For our colleagues who have left or are leaving us as a result of this decision, we thank them for their hard work and contribution they have made to our Korean practice over their time with the firm,” Clifford Chance said.


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