Less than a week after a free trade agreement between South Korea and the United States was finalized, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton announced Monday that it plans to open a Seoul office, sibling publication The Asian Lawyer reports.

The firm said it expects to open its office in South Korea’s capital city in the first half of 2012 and that the new outpost will initially be staffed by Hong Kong partner Yong Guk Lee and counsel Jay Hoon Choi. The firm plans to move most of its 17-lawyer Korea team from Hong Kong to the new office within the next two to four years, Lee said.

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