The Korean Economic Forum
Opening of Korean Legal Markets: Issues and Policy Suggestions
Duol Kim (Myongji University)Year 2018Vol. 10No. 4
In March, 2017, the Korean government opened Korean legal markets asplanned. Unlike prevailing worries, however, foreign law firms have not rushedinto the Korean markets, and it is not likely to happen in the near future either.For understanding this phenomenon, I reviewed Korean legal markets and worldenvironments, and then evaluated the market-opening policies. The results areas followed. First, Korean legal markets has grown rapidly for last two decades,and many foreign law firms want to enter into Korean markets. Second, thereason why foreign law firms have not rushed into Korean markets despite theirinterests is the government regulations including limits on organizing jointventures, and so on. Third, restricting entrance of foreign law firms shouldallow more profits to Korean law firms and contribute to their growth, but it alsoharm on welfare of Korean people by reducing available choices. Fourth,considering that market opening basically increases people’s welfare and thatprotection policy should be a policy tool for improving competitiveness ofdomestic producers, current regulations on legal markets against foreign firmsneed fundamental changes. Fifth, for improving competitiveness of Korean lawfirms and lawyers, current government policies on legal profession which aim toraise lawyers’ income by reducing their supply should be reformed.