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Korean lawyers face widening pay gap

Lawyers in South Korea are facing a widening gap in income due to fiercer competition and large law firms' growing dominance in the local market for legal services, government data showed Wednesday.

According to the data by the National Tax Service, about a quarter of private attorneys in the country earn less than 4 million won ($3,510) per month, with the top 10 accounting for roughly 70 percent of their total sales.

This combined file photo shows the logo of a lawyer's office (Yonhap)
This combined file photo shows the logo of a lawyer's office (Yonhap)

In 2015, 25.8 percent of the total, or 1,100 lawyers, posted annual sales of less than 48 million won, with combined revenue by the upper 10 percent amounting to 69.6 percent of their total sales.

The wide income inequality results mainly from tougher market competition caused by a rise in the number of lawyers, with the emergence of many large law firms also playing a part, an NTS official said, adding lawyers face the widest income inequality among professionals in the country.

The data also showed there were 33,000 private lawyers, tax accountants, certified public accountants and six other professionals in South Korea in 2015, up 17.2 percent from four years earlier.  

Slightly over 23 percent of them, or 7,800, registered annual sales of less than 48 million won, with the top 10 percent accounting for 41 percent of the combined revenue of 7.8 trillion won. (Yonhap)

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