Michael Kim


Michael Kim is the office managing partner of the Seoul office.

With his leading reputation in the Korean market, Michael has brought additional breadth of expertise and experience to the firm, including experience in shipping, ship finance, shipbuilding & offshore, and general commercial litigation and arbitration matters. 

He has been ranked as a leading individual by Chambers & Partners in the category "Shipping International Firms - South Korea" for four years in a row since the foundation of the Seoul office in 2014. Michael was also ranked 8th out of the top 10 lawyers for 2015 by Lloyd’s List; and ranked as number one leading individual by Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2019. 

Michael's clients include major shipyards, shipping companies, construction companies, P&I Clubs, insurers and banks. Michael is an expert in litigation, including alternative dispute resolution. He advises on a wide range of shipping, shipbuilding & offshore, construction, international trade and commercial litigation issues, including charterparties, shipbuilding contracts, EPC contracts and other.


  • Advised in relation to the design, construction and sale of a series of four semi-submersible drilling rigs; and represented in an arbitration, in which the client claimed liquidated damages of US$179 million alongside a request for repayment of damages of US$22 million.

    Acting for the client in relation to contracts for the construction and delivery of drillships to Angolese buyers, including delays and potential cancellation scenarios. Expected value US$200-300 million.

  • Regularly assists and advises both Korean and international banks with pre-delivery and post-delivery financing.

  • Advising a construction contractor (one of South Korea’s largest construction and civil engineering companies) in its dispute arising under a EPC contract against the prime contractor in relation to the construction of a nuclear power plant in the UAE. This instruction may potentially be amongst the biggest (if not the biggest) construction dispute worldwide at the moment, with the clients' total quantum of the Claims Approx. US$500,000,000. 

    Advising DSME on consortium agreement re: Wellhead Pressure Management Project in relation to a contract for the fabrication of modules designed to expand oil production facilities and increase production capacity at the Future Growth Project site in Kazakhstan. 

    Advising industrial plant constructor on US $34 million Thai contract regarding a contractual dispute relating to a power plant being constructed in Thailand.

  • Represented client in two LCIA arbitrations arising out of a construction contract of a Floating Production Storage Offloading (FPSO) Vessel including warranty matters (i.e. post-construction defects). The dispute were against one of the world’s largest shipbuilders, the contract price being over US$700 million. 

  • Assisted clients in a shipbuilding dispute involving two LNG newbuildings that have been found to have serious latent defects in the cargo containment system during her voyage to load port, compromising the vessel’s ability to safely carry LNG cargo. Given the vessels’ inability to carry cargo, which have both entered into long term charterparties, advised on clients on ways to minimise any loss that may arise from the latent defect in both vessels, including pursuing the shipbuilders under the relevant shipbuilding contracts and advised on possible claims under various insurance policies. 

    Reviewed draft MoU concerning the delivery of Small Scale FSRU (10K x 3 and 24K x 1) and provided client with detailed legal analysis on every clause. 

  • Acted for a shipowner in reviewing and amending charterparty document; advised in relation to various legal issues arising out of charterparty; specifically, concerning the shipowner’s right to legally terminate the charterparty. 

    Assisted the charterers in a charterparty dispute with the owners of a vessel in relation to wrongful arrest of a sister ship and other ancillary issues arising under the same charterparty, including hire and redelivery of the vessel. Advised charterers on the merits of the owners’ claim and giving guidance on their settlement negotiations with the owners of the vessel on the basis of the merit. 

    Representing clients in various arbitrations arising out of contracts of affreightment and bills of lading.  

  • Assisted a Korean marine insurer, on the issue of cover under a shipbuilding insurance policy and the reinsurance policy in relation to a claim made by a major shipyard based in Vietnam, whose vessels under construction were damaged by a tropical storm. 

    Advice on US$30 million MV "AUTO BANNER" casualty matter by representing insurers in relation to the recovery of claims following fire damage resulting in the total loss of the vessel at Incheon port. 

    Advice on US$185 million MV "GLOVIS SPRING" casualty matter, by representing Hyundai Glovis and their insurers on the merits of a substantial salvage claim following the grounding of the vessel in the South China Sea.

  • Regularly assists and advises both Korean and international banks with pre-delivery and post-delivery financing.