07 August 2019

Non-traditional merger in South Korea for Dentons

Dentons' combination with Lee International will uniquely position the firms to meet client needs in South Korea and around the globe.

Dentons has announced a proposed combination with Lee International, a leading law firm in South Korea. The firm says this combination builds on Dentons’ strategy to become the first international law firm in South Korea to combine with a Korean law firm, enhancing the firm’s ability to provide legal services to Korean companies globally.

Polycentric approach

The firm says its polycentric approach and "in and of the community" philosophy creates a competitive advantage in connecting talent to opportunity in South Korea. Dentons will be the only global law firm with a Korean legal practice, with South Korean operations 100 percent owned and controlled by Korean partners from the local community. This, the firm highlights, is not a traditional merger. Both Lee International and Dentons say they share the vision of building the leading firm in South Korea, one that allows them to follow the clients they currently serve into every corner of the region.  Both firms are dedicated to a polycentric approach that values diversity and in and of the community roots. “Combining with such a reputable firm that has strong economic ties to Korea’s conglomerates would enhance Dentons’ brand value in the region,” said Elliott Portnoy, global ceo of Dentons. “We are excited to augment our client offering further by building a presence in this critical region.” Joe Andrew, global chairman of Dentons, said “With this combination, Dentons will be the only global law firm permitted to practice Korean law, offering clients high-quality legal counsel and business solutions.” Mr Andre added, “This combination is an illustration of Dentons’ strategy to scale the business in dynamic and growing regions.”

Regional presence

The combination in South Korea builds on Dentons’ regional presence, being already established in Seoul, together with combinations in China, Australia, and the ASEAN region. The firm says this combination will contribute to Dentons’ momentum in South Korea, making it a magnet for talent, future combinations and a breadth of services that few of its global competitors can match. Lee International has a full range of practice areas. “We are enthusiastic about joining Dentons.” said Sung-Duck Park, representative attorney of Lee International. “The combination with Dentons will enable us to connect our respective talents to opportunities in South Korea and around the world.” The combination, following approval by partners and subject to meeting applicable regulatory requirements, is expected to launch in the next several months.