An issue has recently circulated concerning the legality of company managers acting in a legal role for a company without being a Korean licensed attorney.
A manager of a company, who does not have a license to practice law in Korea, can act in a legal role for a company and even perform litigation for a company.
Many companies have individuals educated in law, but that don’t have licenses to practice law. These individuals negotiate settlements, file attachments, and even litigate for their companies. These individuals are not violating the Attorney Act, the Criminal Code, or other acts or regulations if they are bona fide managers that are not being paid a fee based on performance in the case or the number of cases handled.
Article 11(1) of the Commercial Act allows bona fide managers to perform duties normally reserved for the licensed attorneys. “A manager may perform all judicial and extra-judicial acts relating to his business on behalf of the proprietor of the business.”
However, a district court noted, “Allowing a manager the right of an attorney is recognized, since the law recognizes that a manager has a right of inclusive representations related to business as a chief assistance of an owner.” However, if an individual is employed just to complete a “a company’s credit relationships and perform litigations concerning it, the person does not have the right of the attorney because he does not have any substance as a manager and works just for the convenience of the litigations.” (서울지법 1986. 1. 20. 선고 85가단5402 판결) (Seoul District Court 1986. 1. 20. 85KaDan5402)
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