Members of the Korean-American Bar Association of Georgia gather for their first big event of the year
The association represents over 100 lawyers from across the greater Atlanta metro area.
According to the Law School Admission Council (LSAC), Asian/Pacific Islanders made up 3.4% of lawyers nationwide in 2010, but previously lack representation in the region.
The LSAC does not provide specific ethnicity data beyond that of the category of Asian/Pacific Islanders.
The event drew a wide range of attendants, including current law students, young associates and seasoned professionals from the private and public sector. Atlanta Bar Association President Lynn M. Roberson and Multi-Bar Leadership Council founder Seth Kirschenbaum were also in attendance.
Events like this help build a sense of cooperation and community among the region’s lawyers, Roberson said.
“[This] gives [lawyers] an opportunity to reach across all walks of life and brings bars together,” Roberson said.
South Korea’s Director of the Ministry of Employment and Labor Ho-Chul Shin spoke at the event, highlighting the impact of the United States-South Korea Federal Trade Agreement (KORUS-FTA) on lawyers both domestically and abroad.
“As you know, Korea and the US have had a relationship ever since 1950, the year of the Korean War,” Shin said. “When they worked together in common defense. Since then, this relationship has continued but is now based primarily on shared economic opportunity. Such a friendly partnership will become more firmly established now that we have the FTA.”
The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative called the agreement the “most commercially significant free trade agreement in almost two decades.” The agreement lowered trade barriers between the two countries and opened South Korea’s legal market to foreign legal consulting firms.
Historically South Korea restricted the legal market to domestic firms.
Shin hoped that events like Thursday’s mixer would introduce Georgia’s legal community to a wide range of Korean culture.
“I believe that Georgia could become closer to Korea than any other state, given this history and the economic aspect, and I believe Georgia should be closer to Korea,” Shin said.