SEOUL, May 20 (Korea Bizwire) — Judicial groups and legal platforms are edging towards an all-out dispute.
The Korean Bar Association (KBA) held a board meeting early this month, deciding to ban lawyers from joining promotion platforms starting in August. Those who violate the decision will be penalized.
LawTalk, South Korea’s leading promotion platform for lawyers, is run on monthly subscription fees to promote and advertise attorneys online.
Currently, some 4,000 attorneys – roughly 10 percent of all KBA members – subscribe to Lawtalk.
Law&Company Co., LawTalk’s operator, plans to file a constitutional complaint against the KBA’s decision to implement a ban.
On the surface, it looks like a dispute between two organizations. However, it is also seen as a clash between the 4,000 LawTalk-subscribing attorneys and non-subscribed lawyers.
LawTalk reported that 78.7 percent of all subscribers were lawyers with fewer than 10 years of experience, with average career experience standing at around 9 years, indicating that relatively younger, less experienced lawyers form the majority of all subscribers.
For other more experienced attorneys who are well established in the market, legal platforms such as LawTalk are seen as a threat that could put downward pressure on the overall costs of hiring a lawyer, while taking away a certain portion of a lawyer’s financial income.
Moreover, using LawTalk in effect creates exclusivity, which means clients must access LawTalk in order to hire an attorney.
In other words, the issue centers on how the income is earned, between younger lawyers who have accepted the legal platform and older attorneys who are against it.
A surging number of new lawyers following the introduction of law schools is speeding up the escalation between young and old attorneys over the dispute on legal platforms.
H. M. Kang (firstname.lastname@example.org)