Stephenson Harwood has announced plans to launch a Seoul office with a partner recruited from DLA Piper.

Michael Kim, a maritime and international trade lawyer, will initially work for Stephenson Harwood in London while the firm applies for a license to operate in Korea. A spokesperson said Kim will serve as managing partner of the office when it opens.

Kim acts for shipping companies, insurers and traders, among others, in both contentious and noncontentious matters. While specializing in dispute resolution, he also advises on shipbuilding contracts, ship finance and investments by Korean companies in Europe and Central Asia.

He joined DLA Piper as a partner in 2004 from the former Richards Butler. He transferred to Seoul from London early last year when DLA Piper opened its Korean office.

Stephenson Harwood has 520 lawyers, including 120 partners, working in nine offices worldwide.