Beijing-based Jingsh Law Firm has officially initiated preparations to establish three offices in North Korea, South Korea, and Tokyo, Japan, with the goal of expanding the reach of its legal services in East Asia. This move could position Jingsh as the first Chinese firm to open an office in North Korea.
According to Jingsh, equity partner Matthew Kim will lead the North Korea, South Korea, and Tokyo offices.
Kim returned to Jingsh in September, specialising in foreign-related legal practice and handling challenging civil and commercial litigation. Before that, he pursued his LLM in International Investment Law at Seoul National University in Korea.
In a press release, Jingsh emphasised its intention to leverage the unique advantages of geographic proximity and cultural connections between China and North Korea, South Korea, and Japan. The firm also expressed its commitment to fostering multidisciplinary and multi-channel cooperation to facilitate the two-way flow of resources.
All three offices will primarily focus on foreign direct investment legal services. Additionally, the South Korea office will specialise in risk assessment for medical and beauty projects, due diligence for plastic surgery hospitals, and project contract reviews. The North Korea office aims to provide comprehensive cross-border legal services for North Korea's labour export to China and Japan. The Japan office will concentrate on risk assessment for property purchases in Japan, due diligence for projects, and contract reviews.
Kim told ALB that while he would oversee the establishment of the three offices and, in the future, lead each office, the firm is also considering a local team leader as the managing partner. “Initially, each office will have 10-20 lawyers, including local attorneys and those stationed at the headquarters. Each office, including myself, should have at least two partners,” he said.
He added that currently the number of practicing lawyers in China has exceeded 650,000, nearly triple the count from a decade ago. “With the industry becoming more competitive, internationalisation is the most effective strategy for Jingsh to break through,” said Kim. “The internationalisation of domestic law firms allows them to enter the global legal service market, bringing their unique culture and experience to interact with the legal systems and business practices of other countries. This process enables self-innovation through continuous interaction and integration. The internationalisation of law firms is an ongoing journey, with our neighbouring countries—North Korea, South Korea, and Japan—serving as the ideal testing ground due to our geographical, cultural, and legal similarities.”