Seoul, Korea. Photo: ESB Professional/

Latham & Watkins has recruited a new partner for its Korea practice.

Steve Wonsuk Kang, a former counsel at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer in Hong Kong and head of the Magic Circle firm’s Korea practice, has joined Latham as a partner. Kang will first be based in Hong Kong and later relocate to the firm’s Seoul office, where he will lead a local corporate practice.

In 2015, Kang was part of a Freshfields team that advised British grocery giant Tesco plc on the $6 billion sale of its Homeplus unit in South Korea to Seoul-based private equity firm MBK Partners LP.

Kang joined Freshfields in 2015 from Paul Hastings, where he spent four years as an associate. He started his legal career in 2005 at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton in London and moved with the Am Law 100 firm to Hong Kong two years later.

Latham opened in Seoul last year with finance partner Sungjin Kang and corporate counsel Helena Kim both relocating from Hong Kong. Joseph Bevash, a Latham finance partner in Hong Kong, serves as managing partner of the firm’s offices in Seoul and Tokyo.

Freshfields does not have a Seoul office and handles most of its Korea-related work out of Hong Kong. Kang’s predecessor, Neil Iksung Chang, left the London-based legal giant for McDermott Will & Emery in 2015 after the Chicago-based firm opened an office in Seoul. (Chang has since left McDermott.) Hong Kong-based associate Regina Kim handles Korea work, according to Freshfields’ website.