Grant L. Kim has over 20 years of experience in international arbitration and litigation. He has worked for over 15 years at Morrison & Foerster LLP in San Francisco (where he is currently Of Counsel), and for nearly 5 years at Kim & Chang in Seoul, Korea. Mr. Kim has appeared as counsel in numerous international arbitrations in Asia, the United States and Europe. He has served as a Domain Name Panelist for the World Intellectual Property Organization and is a member of the Panel of Arbitrators of the Korean Commercial Arbitration Board.
The influence of East Asian culture on international arbitration is an interesting and important subject, but is also a difficult subject for several reasons. First, “East Asia” is a large region encompassing multiple countries, each of which has distinct cultures and subcultures. Second, because international arbitrations are generally confidential, not much information is publicly available about the influence of East Asian culture on international arbitration. Third, few people have expertise in all of the diverse aspects of “East Asian culture” and international arbitration.
This essay comments on the interplay between culture and international arbitration, with an emphasis on the culture of “East Asia” – focusing primarily on Korea and secondarily on China and Japan. The author has lived in Korea and Japan and has acted as counsel in arbitrations involving East Asian parties, counsel, and arbitrators, but does not claim to be an expert in this subject. It is hoped, however, that this essay will illuminate several aspects of this subject and will stimulate further discussion.