#10QuestionswithMaxwell Interview Series: Kevin Kim, Peter & Kim


#10QuestionswithMaxwell Interview Series: Kevin Kim, Peter & Kim

In this #10QuestionsWithMaxwell interview, we feature Kap-You (Kevin) Kim, a senior partner at Peter & Kim in Seoul. He is also a Mentor for the Maxwell Mentorship Programme (Technology in Alternative Dispute Resolution).

Kevin was previously a senior partner at Bae, Kim & Lee LLC, where he worked for the past three decades in various roles, including as the co-founder and head of the International Arbitration Practice and the head of the Domestic and International Disputes Group.

Over the past 30 years, Kevin has acted as counsel, presiding arbitrator, co-arbitrator or sole arbitrator in more than 300 cases of international arbitrations under various arbitration rules. Presently, he is involved in several investment and commercial arbitrations.

Among other positions that he holds, Kevin is an Advisory Board Member of the International Council for Commercial Arbitration (ICCA), the Chairman of the Korean Commercial Arbitration Board’s (KCAB) International Arbitration Committee and an adjunct professor at the Seoul National University Law School.

In the past, Kevin has served as the Vice President of the ICC International Court of Arbitration (2014 – 2021), Secretary General of ICCA (2010 – 2014), member of the LCIA Court (2007 – 2012) and Vice Chair of the IBA Arbitration Committee (2008 – 2010).

In this interview, he shared his day-to-day routine as a partner at Peter & Kim, key qualities and skills an arbitration counsel should have, 3 fun facts about himself, and more.

Read his full interview below:

Q: What inspired you to join the legal profession and practice international arbitration? 

A: I started my legal career and practicing international arbitration as I had always been interested in international disputes based on both civil law and common law. What attracted me was the possibility of dealing with different cultures, languages, histories, etc. and I thought at the time that arbitration fit this profile perfectly. 

Q: How would you describe your day-to-day routine as a partner at Peter & Kim? 

A: A typical day for me as a partner at Peter & Kim would start with me coming to the office around 8 or 8:30 am. Although you cannot really predict how any given day will go and not all days will be the same, I try to begin the day by catching up on my emails and urgent pending issues. I usually try to dedicate my mornings to written work, whether that be emails or submissions, and I generally prefer to schedule meetings in the afternoon if that is possible. 

Q: What do you think are the key qualities and skills an arbitration counsel should have? 

A: I believe that a compelling arbitration counsel is one that can identify the right issues of a case as well as the direction a certain case should follow. However, this alone is not sufficient. Counsel should also possess the ability to present these issues to a tribunal, who is often international, making sure the point made can be understood by people coming from different legal backgrounds. In connection with this, I believe that being able to present a point or an argument within 15 to 30 seconds will have the most impact and will not lose the listener’s attention. 

I also think that key qualities of an arbitration counsel would be to have good people skills and be likable and approachable. 

Q: Without sacrificing confidentiality, could you share with us the most memorable arbitration or dispute resolution matter you have been a part of? 

A: Two cases come to mind for similar reasons. The first one is an ICSID arbitration I was counsel in where more than 100 people attended the hearing, including more than 50 witnesses and 20 experts. Likewise, I once was the presiding arbitrator in an UNCITRAL arbitration where there were more than 100 party representatives. 

Q: Looking back on your career, what has been your proudest achievement? 

A: My career has allowed me to make wonderful friends all over the world, which I am thankful for. Having friends in every country also has the advantage of getting recommendations for the best restaurants across the globe, which all epicureans would be proud of. I am grateful for being surrounded with an amazing and supporting team of people. 

Q: You are a Mentor on our Maxwell Mentorship Programme, what is one piece of invaluable advice you would give to our group of Mentees or other younger legal practitioners in entering the alternative dispute resolution field? 

A: While improving your skills is important for one’s career, experience comes in the long run. However, longevity requires health and passion. As such, young legal practitioners should pay attention to their mental and physical health to maintain their work life in the long term. I would also recommend new lawyers to make themselves attractive so that people want to work with and hear from them. 

Q: What do you think will be the greatest opportunity the next generation of ADR practitioners can expect?  

A: There is a wide variety of industry sectors that are rising fast such as bioscience, ESG, mediation, etc., in which new lawyers could specialize and gain a tactical advantage. So, I would recommend that new lawyers take any opportunity to work on cases related to these kinds of issues. 

Q: To get to know you more on a personal level, share with us 3 fun facts about yourself. 

A: Throughout my career and to this day, I have always stuck to only one style for my suits, I have also stopped using shampoo, and I like to sketch when I am traveling. 

Q: How do you find time for your personal commitments or to indulge in personal pleasures? 

A: I usually try to set aside sufficient time to have quality, one-on-one time with my friends or family by making appointments in my schedule. That allows me to fully dedicate myself to the person I am with during that time. 

Q: Lastly, describe Maxwell Chambers in 3 words. 

A: Cold, comfortable, and convenient. 


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