Being An Expat Dad in Korea: Yes – Not a Law Article Today

The following post is not on law, but it is from one of our commercial advisers and it is one of the best articles I have read from the Korea Times for a long long time (hey since I wrote for the Korea Times) Being an expat dad in Korea is one of the toughest jobs. And parenting is not something that we talk about enough or get the chance to. We all have had this situation at some point. Sitting on the couch on a Sunday afternoon this warm spring, drinking an ice-cold imported beer you bought at the local mart and your wife blurts out, “see, you need to be more like the dads on television.” The thing is, you can never be truly prepared for being a dad, just one day you are in the game. I never asked my dad how he did it, he just

Continue reading

Korean Journalism and the Comfort Woman Issue by Tom Coyner

One of the reasons why I stick around Asia after so many years is because there are so many things I can discover about what I don’t know. And there matters that I already do know, only to realize that I failed to take them into adequate consideration. A very prominent case in point has been my rejected column and the invited feedback from KER subscribers. Thanks to everyone, and even to my newspaper editor for rejecting the piece. Why so? Let me try to explain. First, there is so much misinformation on the military prostitutes or comfort women in the Korean and Vietnamese wars that it makes one’s head spin. The lack of clarity comes down to a couple, easily identifiable factors. Namely, almost everyone publicly involved in these issues have hidden addenda. Secondly, Korean journalistic standards, including fact checking, are loose, to put it nicely. Third, while identification

Continue reading

Legal Hackers Korea First Meet Up Held in Seoul

The first Meet Up of Legal Hackers was a great success.  We held the first Meet Up at JR BBQ in Itaewon.  A group of passionate entrepreneurs, lawyers and technologists go together and discussed the shutdown of Uber in Korea.  The event was sponsored by IPG Legal. We decided, after a three hour meeting (and a few drinks), to share thoughts on how to manage this group via the Legal Hackers Meet Up group site.  We, also, decided that each group will either have a group member make a presentation on a topic or we will have a guest speaker.  We have not scheduled the next Meet Up yet.  Likely, the next Meet Up of Legal Hackers will occur in early May 2015.   To view the Meetup Page of Legal Hackers please visit: Korea Legal Hackers.  ___Sean Hayes may be contacted at: [email protected] Sean Hayes is co-chair of the

Continue reading

Korean vs. Japanese vs. Chinese Management Styles Explained

We too often read of comparisons among Korean, Japanese and Chinese companies. But less frequently, we come across contrasts in management styles among Asia’s big three. Occasionally we can find on this page insightful analyses between Korea and Japan by Tokyo-based William Pesek. His last such analysis between Sony and Samsung was, of course, yet another comparison of Japan with Korea. Considering how things are actually managed – or should I say, dictated – in Korea, Pesek may have given Korea some undeserved credit in terms of business acumen compared with that of Japan. Still, Pesek got it right in noting how constipated Japanese group thinking can hold so many things back, compared to with how the clearly rambunctious Korean way of often making decisions first, then considering the consequences later, is proving to be more successful. (I’m exaggerating about the Koreans, but only slightly.)  At the same time, with

Continue reading

Legal Hackers Korea Branch: Join Laywers, Policymakers, Technologists & Academics at Our Meetups

I am excited to announce that Legal Hackers is, now, in Korea.  I will organize the first couple of meetings – we are, presently, discussing topics and a good location for the first meeting. ABOUT LEGAL HACKERSLegal Hackers is a global movement of lawyers, policymakers, technologists, and academics who explore and develop creative solutions to some of the most pressing issues at the intersection of law and technology. Through local meetups, hackathons, and workshops, Legal Hackers spot issues and opportunities where technology can improve and inform the practice of law and where law, legal practice, and policy can adapt to rapidly changing technology. We are explorers. We are doers. We are Legal Hackers. The Legal Hackers Website If you are interesting in joining (no fees), please drop me a line.  Love to have some young lawyers or entrepreneurs willing to take on some of the leg work. Please join our

Continue reading

The Business of Politics in Korea: Understanding the Radical Left in Korea by Tom Coyner

The recent knife attack on U.S. Ambassador Mark Lippert came as a shock to many. But for those people paying close attention to Korean society, this sort of thing was unfortunately almost expected. There are many lone wolves out there, created by historical, social and political factors. Assailant Kim Ki-jong was almost a walking stereotype of his generation of leftist radicals. He comes from the oldest fringe of the “386 Generation” that spent their youth in successfully demonstrating for genuine democracy for South Korea. But their success carried costs. While many people from this group were eventually granted university degrees, many did not really study from credible sources. Much of the blame for their ideology-weighted ad hoc studies can be attributed to the overly censoring past military governments. Even fair and balanced analyses of socialism, Marxism and communism were prohibited. During those heady days of demonstrations and teargas – and

Continue reading

Happy Lunar New Year from IPG Legal

___ We in Korea will be having a four day holiday to celebrate the New Year.   Happy New Year to all my Korean friends. We would like to, also, wish a Happy New Year to all of our Chinese friends (Gung Hay Fat Choy or how my partner in China prefers to spell it – Kung Hei Fat Choy).  Have a wonderful Lunar New Year.  Sean Hayes may be contacted at: [email protected] Sean Hayes is co-chair of the Korea Practice Team at IPG Legal. He is the first non-Korean attorney to have worked for the Korean court system (Constitutional Court of Korea) and one of the first non-Koreans to be a regular member of a Korean law faculty. Sean is ranked, for Korea, as one of only two non-Korean lawyers as a Top Attorney by AsiaLaw. (c) Sean Hayes – SJ IPG. All Rights reserved.  Do not duplicate any content

Continue reading

Is Korea Heading into a Recession? A Winnowing out Process by Tom Coyner

Here is an article from Tom Coyner that appeared a few years back in one of the Korean papers.  I think it has more relevance, today, than when it was fist posted.  I am going to be posting some of Tom’s articles of the next couple of weeks. A winnowing out process among businesses is taking place . . . New, more competitive methods need to be implemented, often for sheer survival. Tough times have arrived. And they will be with us a good deal longer than most of us have experienced. Regardless, business must continue. Among all the increased challenges business managers face, perhaps the toughest of all is in sales. Given the brevity of this space, allow me to focus on this one aspect for business survival. During the past years, most Korean sales people have relied on “relationship selling,” based on personal connection and prior introductions. Much

Continue reading

Korean Criminal Law: Double Jeopardy in Courts in Korea

The double jeopardy protection afforded by the Korean Constitution in Article 13 is applied in a different manner than in, most, common law nations.  The application, in Korea, allows the prosecution to have three chances to obtain a guilty verdict. For example, in the United States, a defendant may not be tried for the same or similar offense, within a specific jurisdiction, when a “conclusion” is made in any court. Thus, if a jury or judge finds a defendant not guilty, the prosecution may not bring the same or similar charges against the defendant. However, if all jury members are unable to come to the same conclusion (thus, some vote guilty and some not guilty), the jury is deemed “hung” and the prosecution may request another trial. In Korea, the rules is, essentially the same, however, the application of the “conclusion” determination is different. A “conclusion” of the case is,

Continue reading

Korean Year-End Tax Settlement: Common Errors & Omissions

The end of the year leads, typically, to two men visiting your house, one mythical and one that you may wish is mythical. Yes, expect a visit from the Tax Man and not Santa this year.   No worries, with a little understanding and a decent tax accountant this year the Tax Man may be bringing you more than a mere lump of coal.  Taxes in Korea are, often, less complicated than in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, U.K. and the rest of the Western world, however, we see some common errors and omissions year–on-year caused by the following issues: Withholding Tax Assumptions If you are employed in Korea, your employer should have deducted income tax monthly based on, inter alia, the following assumptions: Full-year Income Tax Assumption: Your company will assume that whenever you joined or resigned from employment, deduct income tax witholdings as if one full-year

Continue reading

Texas International Law Journal: Call For Papers (50th Anniversary Edition)

Great opportunity for scholars in Korea.   ABOUT THE TEXAS INTERNATIONAL LAW JOURNAL (TILJ) Founded in 1965, the Texas International Law Journal is a student edited and managed legal journal comprised of students of the University of Texas at Austin School of Law. The Journal seeks to advance the study, practice, and awareness of international and comparative law. TILJ (ISSN: 0163-7479) is a 501 (c)(3) organization that publishes three issues of high quality secondary source material annually and hosts scholarly symposia as well as activities and online engagement committed to promoting international legal understanding and debate. What: Call for Papers, Fifty Years of International Law ScholarshipWho: The Texas International Law Journal (“TILJ”) at The University of Texas School of Law Deadline: Paper submissions due January 1, 2015 for publication in fall of 2015. The Texas International Law Journal will be celebrating its 50th year in 2015. As a part of this

Continue reading

Doing Business in Korea: A blog and webroll

A client has requested that I provide to him a list of blogs and websites that I regularly read on business in Korea.  Ok. I don’t, actually, regularly read these sites and blogs, but they may be useful to the reader. The reality is Korea has few useful sites for entrepreneurs wishing to do business in Korea.  Most sites are not updated often, the information is too general or they contain useless rubbish.  If I should include a site, please advise.  If this list gets long enough, I will place this list on a blogroll.  Guys, I know a couple of these sites are useless for readers of this blog.  Most of the information on some of these sites are useless for those that have spent a good deal of time doing business in Korea.  BASIC GUIDES TO BUSINESS IN KOREA The Korean Law Blog. Ok. This is my blog.  I

Continue reading

Export of Korean Nuclear Technology Abroad: Netherlands Inks Deal with Korea for a Reactor Upgrade

Great news for Korea’s Nuclear Industry.  Korea has inked a deal for the upgrading of a 2 megawatt to a 3 megawatt reactor at the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands.  The reactor purpose is not to produce electricity, but to produce neutrons and positrons for research purposes.  The reactor is the, only, Hoger Onderwijs Reactor (HOR) reactor in The Netherlands utilized by a university.   The Korean Herald has reported that: “South Korea and the Netherlands signed a deal to improve a Dutch atomic reactor Monday, marking the first export of the Asian country’s nuclear technology to Europe. The deal was signed in the presence of President Park Geun-hye and Dutch King Willem-Alexander at Cheong Wa Dae. The Dutch King and Queen Maxima were in Korea on a four-day state visit. Under the agreement, a group of South Korean companies are set to increase the capacity of a nuclear reactor

Continue reading

Korea Strengthens Data Protection Law

Bloomberg BNA reports that Korea has amended its framework data protection law, opting to increase fines and lower the liability threshold in order to levy fines in the first place. Under the amended law, originally enacted in 2011 in response to a massive data breach, plaintiffs will also be able to sue without proving damages. Violation of any provision of the act leading to a loss of personal information can now result in fines of up to 3% of an offending companies’ revenue. This is certainly a toughening of Korea’s framework data protection law. Not only will fines have more bite, but it will be far easier to show a company to be in violation of the act. The amendment even goes so far as to eliminate a provision requiring evidence of deliberate negligence to enforce a revenue-based fine. Businesses will be held liable for a data breach with or

Continue reading

Law School Students Comparative Legal Writing Opportunity: American Society of Comparative Law

AMERICAN SOCIETY OF COMPARATIVE LAW  YOUNGER COMPARATIVISTS COMMITTEE CONFERENCE  ANNOUNCEMENT The Younger Comparativists Committee of the American Society of Comparative Law is pleased toinvite submissions for its fourth annual conference, to be held on April 16-17, 2015, at Florida State University College of Law in Tallahassee, Florida. The purpose of the conference is to highlight, develop, and promote the scholarship of new and younger comparativists. Conference Subject-Matter and Eligibility Submissions will be accepted on any subject in public or private comparative law from scholars who have been engaged as law teachers, lecturers, fellows, or in another academic capacity for no more than ten years as of June 30, 2015. We will also accept submissions from graduate students enrolled in masters or doctoral programs. Submission Instructions To submit an entry, scholars should email an attachment in Microsoft Word or PDF containing an abstract of no more than 750 words no later

Continue reading

Corruption and the Sinking Korean Ship by Tom Coyner

Will this sordid saga ever end? The entire nation – and much of the world – has been focused on Korea’s corrupt maritime industry and its sleazy connections throughout society. What mesmerizes everyone is that yet another scandal is revealed almost daily, and another part of society is exposed. More people – both of high and humble stations in life – are discovered to be, at best, incompetent or, at worst, criminal.  As a result, a palpable sense of depression can be widely felt. There is also a kind of denial. The terms “rescue,” “survivors” and other euphemisms are routinely brandished when it clearly would be more accurate to use “recovery,” “victims,” etc. To say that these word choices reflect our tender feelings toward families of the school children is inadequate. There also is a real dread at facing up to the actual problems of society. Even more worrisome are

Continue reading

The Sinking of a Ship in Korea Leads to Soul Searching by Tom Coyner

Media reports last week disclosed that Chairman Yoo Byung-eun was hiding behind a false wall on the second floor of his villa while the police conducted a “top to bottom search” of the place. Wearily, the public noted further bumbling in this seemingly never-ending episode. The ongoing, nagging question is why is this case so ongoing and nagging? Obviously, much of this angst comes from thinly disguised nationwide insecurity. When I studied with Korean and other international students in Tokyo, I first encountered Korean insecurity in a much more extreme form than what is exhibited today. At the time, the Korean students really stood out as prickly and thin-skinned about anything regarding Korea. Others rarely discussed Korea with them. At the time, I suspected the problem was exaggerated by the economic and cultural gap between Japan and Korea. Daily, the disparities were shoved in the faces of Korea’s students. Today,

Continue reading

The Fog of Korea Politics & History by Tom Coyner

Korean politics often are bewildering to foreigners, who naturally compare what is observed here to what is happening in their homelands. The labels of “right” versus “left” and “conservative” versus “progressive” seem to be in conflict and, at times, even diametrically opposed. Recently, I was reminded of this when discovering my college-educated wife’s ignorance of the so-called Autumn Rebellion, or Daegu Uprising, that took place in her hometown. I found my wife’s obliviousness to her hometown’s history a bit unsettling. The 1946 Daegu Uprising was part of the first Communist attempt to take over southern Korea in the American zone before the Korean War. Three student demonstrators and 38 police died, according to official records. An additional 163 civil workers and 73 civilians died, according to one revisionist account. Regardless of the body count, the revolt involved thousands of people, with both sides engaging in bloody revenge and retribution. This

Continue reading

The Death of Samsung by Tom Coyner

Recently, there has been a great deal of press about the unexpected downturns in Samsung Electronics profits. Commonly and correctly, the disappointments have been traced to increased Chinese competition. But I dare say that the Korean media has covered just half of the real story. That is, even highly respected Samsung Electronics may be caught in a Korean mentality. Consequently, it could take more time and effort than outsiders may imagine for the company to free itself to be able to move out and up in the international arena. During my decades in high tech sales and marketing, including in Korea and including selling to Samsung companies, one of the most striking aspects of doing business in Korea was – and still remains – the fixation on price over value. This is not to say that Korean managers and executives are unable to understand a reasonable value proposition. They often

Continue reading