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When the Gangwon provincial government was preparing a bid to host the Special Olympics Winter Games in 2013, the Special Olympics headquarters in Washington recommended it hire Seoul-based law firm Yulchon, known for expertise in the fields of culture and sports. One of Yulchon’s advisers is former Deputy Culture Minister Oh Jee-chul.

To win the bid, Oh contacted the Special Olympics headquarters directly and used his experience and personal connections in the United States to form a close relationship with the organization. In February, Gangwon’s Pyeongchang County was chosen to host the 2013 games.

Law firms in Korea are branching into consulting, and snapping up former government officials to bring them contacts and experience. And although the law prohibits officials from joining private industry in a similar field for two years after leaving service - to keep them from lobbying their former ministry or department - there’s no restriction on joining law firms.

Although recruiting former government officials isn’t entirely new for law firms, in the past they concentrated on key officials in the fields of economics, trade or industry. Today, they’re interested in non-economic fields, and want junior-level officials who worked on individual projects and issues.


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