Tony Dongwook Kang, partner in charge of cross-border arbitration and litigation at Korea’s Bae, Kim & Lee, was recently named by ALB as one of Asia’s Top 15 Litigators. In this interview, he talks about his standout work, adapting to the impact of COVID-19, and how he goes the extra mile for clients.
Can you tell us about some of your notable work in the past year?
For a post-M&A dispute, which led to a commercial lawsuit that has been ongoing for over six years between a non-Korean (client) and a Korean, the Korean Supreme Court finally upheld our side of arguments, which was a huge victory.
How did COVID-19 impact your litigation practice? How did you look to overcome the changes?
The impact of COVID-19 resulted delays in hearings, and usage of virtual hearings. Under the circumstances, the BKL litigation practice was able to swiftly adjust to the changed conditions by organizing the meeting rooms for the professionals to work without any difficulty in the contact-free environment and preparing virtual meetings via Zoom and Microsoft Teams. These efforts have enabled us to lead contact-free meetings with clients in a smooth manner. You can call it a team that adapts to the current trends and changes.
How would you describe your courtroom strategy? Can you describe an interesting case where you thought out of the box to deliver a win to your client?
To overcome a disadvantageous court precedent, our team made detailed research of foreign precedents and discussions, after which we had our client retain a law school professor and publish a paper. This might have been a factor among many that led to our client’s victory.
Clients today have higher requirements when it comes to the services they receive from their lawyers. Can you provide an example or two of how you went the extra mile for your clients?
Despite my seniority, I directly call the client and discuss over minor details and come back to my desk and start the first draft of a brief, which will be reviewed or supplemented by my associate.
What motto do you live by?
“God helps those who help themselves” is illustrated in a very different tone and flavor in Korean. The phrase directly translates into something like this: “God builds a bridge named ‘coincident/chance/luck’ only in front of those who are diligent.”