O’Melveny & Myers has announced plans to open an office in Korea.
 
The Los Angeles-based firm says it has filed an application with the Korean Ministry of Justice to open an office in Seoul. The new office will focus on antitrust and intellectual property litigation, as well as mergers and acquisitions.
 
The firm has hired to two counsels to man its Seoul office. Sunyong Kang and Jinwon Park were both previously partner-level foreign legal consultants at Korean law firm Shin & Kim specializing in cross-border investments, mergers and acquisitions, and international trade. They are currently based in O’Melveny’s Hong Kong.
 
O’Melveny is the latest U.S. firm to announce Korea plans since the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement was approved by both countries last fall. Prior to then, foreign firms had been barred from having offices in Korea. Paul Hastings, Ropes & Gray, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, and Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton are among those that have said they will open in Seoul once they have received all necessary approvals.
 
In a statement, O’Melveny said it hopes to better serve Korean clients including Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. and chip maker SK Hynix Inc. by being on the ground. Last year, the firm successfully defended Samsung against multiple patent infringement claims brought by a Japanese competitor Murata Manufacturing Co. Also last year, the firm defeated a $3.95 billion antitrust suit brought against SK Hynix by California’s Rambus Inc., which claimed the Korean company and a U.S. chip maker had conspired to fix prices.
 
O’Melveny’s Korea practice will continue to be led by Los Angeles partner Joseph Kim. Other partners active in the practice include George Riley in San Francisco and Ryan Yagura and Kenneth R. O’Rourke in Los Angeles.
 
Email: jseah@alm.com