After 25 years with Coudert Brothers, including the past eight spent as managing partner in Hong Kong, Timothy J. O'Brien is taking the north road to Seoul to join Shin & Kim as its senior foreign legal counsel. At Shin & Kim, O'Brien will join the corporate group and continue his practice of M&A, foreign investment into and from Korea, and other cross-border transactions.
The Korea move is a natural progression for O'Brien, as he has spent a large chunk of his career focusing on the nation. Over his legal lifetime, he has represented US and European corporations in their investments in Korea and has acted for major domestic corporations in foreign operations and transactions.
In the last couple of years, O'Brien has been involved in advising on substantial foreign investment in the telecommunications and automotive sectors, and has assisted Korean companies in their investments in China, Hong Kong, the US and elsewhere.
His appointment at Shin & Kim also marks something of a spiritual return for O'Brien, who spent six years as an English teacher in the country and as a regional director of the Peace Corps following his graduation from Yale.
"I've always thought about practicing law in Korea some day, given my background as a Peace Corps Volunteer there and my practice largely focusing on Korea from abroad, and now seems to be the right time, personally and professionally. Having worked with Senior Managing Partner Young Moo Shin and many others at the firm over the past 25 years, I know that Shin & Kim is the right choice for me," says O'Brien.
Aside from speaking Korean fluently, O'Brien frequently addresses Korean audiences in their native tongue, including recent conferences in Seoul on investment in China sponsored by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council. He has also earned stripes as a lecturer at a Columbia Law School program for Korean government officials and business executives, presenting an introduction to US laws on foreign investment in Korean.
O'Brien will also undoubtedly draw on his experience as part of the Coudert-Shin & Kim team that advised the ministry of justice on reforming corporate governance laws in Korea, in a project funded by the World Bank.
His knowledge of Korean investment in China is also expected to assist Shin & Kim in its China practice drive, which is in the process of establishing a consulting firm in the country.
Upon joining Shin & Kim, O'Brien becomes a member of a firm that has over 140 Korean and foreign lawyers and other professionals in the areas of corporate finance, securities, M&A, private equity, real estate, civil and criminal litigation, government regulation, tax, accounting and intellectual property.