English-Speaking Criminal Defense Lawyers in Korea: Korean Defense Lawyers to Hire and Not to Hire?

In all Korean criminal defense cases where you are accused of a Korean crime, you fear that you may be sentenced to time in jail, may be deported or the conviction may harm your future, hire quickly an experienced and proactive English-Fluent Korean criminal defense lawyer prior to any interrogations by the Korean police or prosecution. To repeat, you should hire a criminal defense attorney in Korea prior to giving statements to the Korean police or Korean prosecution. In most cases, your Korean defense lawyers should include a retired senior Korean court judge and in some cases a retired senior Korean court prosecutor. The choice of a criminal defense lawyer in Korea, likely, shall be the most important decision you make, potentially, in your entire life.
So hire the best lawyer that you can afford. If you would like a no-cost consultation with Sean Hayes, please Schedule a Call. We recommend, in all cases concerning an investigation for a crime in Korea you, immediately, hire a Proactive Korean Criminal Defense Attorney. IPG Legal is ranked a Top Korean Dispute Resolution Law Firm, a Top 10 Law Firm, and Sean Hayes is ranked a Top 100 Lawyer.

Hiring a Criminal Defense Lawyer in Korea

Sadly, few lawyers, in Korea, are useful for criminal matters, since few lawyers are proactive when it comes to matters concerning the Korean government, experienced in criminal matters for foreigners, or are willing to upset the status quo (aggressively engage the prosecutor and court). Please note it is important that your lawyer understands, not only the criminal issue involved but understands the implications for your future employment outside of Korea and your immigration status.Korean Criminal law, defense lawyers, in Seoul, Criminal defensePlease do yourself a favor, and forgo any options provided at no or low cost unless you have no other options. The reality is the most important decision you shall make, at this time, is the choice of a lawyer.If you are under SOFA, you may choose any lawyer you want as noted on a form JAG provides to you before, or sometimes after, your choice of a lawyer. Choose the lawyer you feel is the best for your needs – not the lawyer that others may feel is the best for not, only, your needs. We have seen many issues with the choice of counsel that the U.S. Army tries to push on defendants. If you can’t afford an attorney, the Korean court (if you are not under SOFA), normally will appoint an attorney to assist you. In most cases, the appointment of the Korean government-appointed attorney will not be useless for your defense/sentence, since the appointment will be after interrogations, after the decision of the prosecutor to indict, and often the Korean attorney is an attorney that will only be going through the basic processes necessary for him/her to complete the matter and go on to the dozens of other matters that he/she has in front of him/her. If you are in the U.S. military, the military will appoint you an attorney.  Also, the attorney will be appointed too late in the investigation stage. The attorney appointed, overwhelmingly, in the cases that I have seen will simply go through the motions. The handful of attorneys picked by the military are some of the least proactive attorneys I have seen in Korea and want, in the majority of the cases, to simply be in the good graces of their bread-and-butter (a Korean employee of the U.S. military). If you are convicted of a crime, you will, likely, be discharged from the military. This was not true a decade ago, but the military, even for “minor” violations of law has been quick to discharge soldiers. Hire an attorney in Korea that you feel comfortable with and has your interest as the main priority.

Signs that you May Have Hired the Wrong Korean Lawyer

  • Your Korean lawyer is too young (30s) or too old (late 70s). The lawyer will, likely, not have the experience necessary to handle the matter or will, simply, not be handling the matter. Many more senior attorneys, are not actively involved in the matter and, simply, delegate all the work to the junior attorneys.
  • Your lawyer in Korea has no judicial experience. It is preferable to hire, because of Korean realities, a retired senior Korean court judge and in some cases a retired senior Korean prosecutor.
  • Your Korean lawyer has poor English language skills. Without someone fluent in English, you run the risk of never getting your side of the story heard. Hire an English-speaking lawyer who has near-fluent English language skills. It is preferable that the attorney was educated, in part, abroad in order for the lawyer to be more adept at problem-solving skills and understands different cultural realities.
  • Your Korean lawyer has few non-Korean clients. Handling criminal matters for foreigners is vastly different than handling a typical criminal matter for a Korean. Often, deals can be obtained with the prosecutor in non-violent crimes for foreigners, that are unavailable to Koreans. Also, violent and notorious crimes, often, need to be handled with a decree of media and cultural savvy, since judges and prosecutors are sometimes affected when the victim is a Korean and the perpetrator of the crime is a foreigner. Additionally, your lawyer must understand deeply the immigration implications of a conviction.
  • Your lawyer never speaks. A lawyer that never speaks is, typically, not a proactive lawyer. Criminal cases are best handled with strategy and a proactive counsel willing to engage police investigators, prosecutors, and judges. If your lawyer won’t speak to you, he won’t be speaking to anyone else and will likely simply go through the process, and receive a guilty verdict and the typical sentence.
  • Your lawyer seems to not be listening. Too often, lawyers, ignore clients. Great defense lawyers in Korea develop great defenses by listening and responding to clients. If you have a lawyer who is not listening, he will likely just go through the process, receive a guilty verdict and the typical sentence.
  • Your lawyer in Korea has too many cases. If he/she seems too busy he probably is too busy. Criminal cases, often, need a great deal of time. If the lawyer is not able to spend the time to talk with you, you may never be able to get the attorney to provide the time necessary to handle the matter.
  • Your lawyer in Korea hates you. Koreans are passionate people. If the lawyer hates you, he will likely take your money and do nothing for you. Passion, too often, can lead Korean lawyers to be less than reasonable. As we know, this is not only a Korean trait.

NY attorney Sean Hayes is the only non-Korean to have worked as a government attorney for the Korean court system and one of the first non-Koreans to be a regular member of a Korean law faculty. He is rated as a Top Attorney by LawAsia and other publications. You may schedule a call with Sean Hayes at: Schedule a Call.

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