Moving to expand its clout in Asia, law firm McKenna Long & Aldridge has hired retired Gen. Walter L. “Skip” Sharp, a well-seasoned Korea expert who once served as commander of U.S. forces in South Korea from 2008 to 2011. Sharp will serve as a strategic adviser for the firm as it continues to establish offices throughout Asia.
Sharp’s longstanding relationships with major Korean corporations — as well as his military career in the country — will help develop the firm in Korea, McKenna Chairman Jeff Haidet said in a statement announcing Sharp’s hire.
“There are tremendous opportunities for McKenna in Korea that align with our strategy and involve multiple industry sectors,” Haidet said in a statement. “Moreover, his presence is certain to be important as we continue raising our profile in other parts in Asia.”
Signaling its overseas expansion, McKenna opened a Seoul office in March 2013 and announced tentative plans last August to build another site in Shanghai.
Sharp’s resume already boasts influence in Korea as he serves on the board of The Korea Society, a New York-based nonprofit organization that focuses on American-Korean relations.
Song Jung, chairman of McKenna’s intellectual property practice, is also on the board of The Korea Society. Jung, who has worked with Korean companies for the past 24 years, said the decision to expand into Asia stems from a desire throughout the firm to be closer to its clients. McKenna’s Korean clients include LG, as well as industrial conglomerate Hyosung.
Given his passion for Korea, in addition to his knowledge on Korean politics, business and military, Jung said Sharp will enhance McKenna’s established history with clients in the region.
“The synergy was too great not to pass this opportunity,” Jung said of Sharp being brought onto the team.