The death of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il threatens instability in the region just when many U.S. law firms are expressing interest in opening offices in South Korea. Meanwhile, immigration lawyers hoped the development would make it easier for refugees to win asylum in the United States.

“We will monitor the situation, but I will say it has not at all changed our interest in this active and vibrant economy,” said Jeffrey Stone, co-chairman of McDermott Will & Emery, whose managers have been debating whether to open an office in Seoul, South Korea’s capital.