Washington International Law Journal


In 2009, Korea implemented a law school educational system, which not only changed the legal education system, but the legal landscape as a whole. This has led to rapid growth in the number of attorneys. Although the increased number of attorneys has resulted in lower barriers to accessing justice, it has also brought the unintended consequence of cut-throat competition. With the number of disciplinary actions rising by four-fold in the last three years, the current version of the Korean Code of Ethics for Attorneys is certainly a step in the right direction but may not be enough to strengthen attorneys’ legal ethics in such an unprecedented time in Korean legal history. In light of the heated discussion in Korea regarding legal ethics, this comment, following the accompanying translation of the Korean Bar Association’s Code of Ethos for Attorneys, first, analyzes how the Korean legal education system and legal ethics education has changed over time. Second, to provide context on how the current Code of Ethics reached its current form, this comment reviews the history of and recent amendments to the Code of Ethics. Lastly, it considers next steps for the Code of Ethics and how attorneys can have a better sense of legal ethics in the long term. This comment is for those interested in comparative legal ethics, Korean legal ethics, and the Korean legal system.

First Page