Kangnam Labor Law Firm, which has been handling many of our cases for that last year, has decided that, due to the volume of ATEK members they help, they would create a special program that allows for a collective purchase of legal services. It’s called ‘Legal Assurance’.
Instead of paying the normal rate for consultations and representations, we would get a group rate. For a teacher who needs legal counsel or who wants to file against an employer, this comes as a huge savings. We have been asking for breaks on cost for a year now, and there is finally an official way to get this help on the cheap.
Kangnam, which is a top labor law firm in Seoul, has already given ATEK countless hours of free consulting on legal issues. Kangnam has even agreed to provide an online edition of their “Labor Bible” on our site. When this link is added, members can find the labor laws in English and in Korean, side-by-side. It will enable our own officers to quote the relevant passages to provide to employers or anyone concerned with a labor case. This saves us from any possible liability for providing ‘legal advice without a license’.
Please follow this link to learn more about Kangnam’s Legal Assurance Program: http://k-labor.com/tiki-index.php?page=Labor+Assurance&bl=n&saved_msg=y
The cost of the service is 20,000 Won per month. It is akin to having an entire law firm on retainer. This is an experimental program that will surely cause them to lose money in the short run. In the long run, if it is popular, other firms will want to be a part of this, and the prices and services may even favor us more.
Of course, they are a for-profit business, but this program could help so many teachers who need protection against employers who break contracts. They have generously provided free legal counsel to members for over a year. They have agreed to charge a small fee in order to open the service to everyone. Thus, we save, and they cover their costs. They are hiring a new lawyer expressly to handle these labor cases.
ATEK’s role is to improve the lives of teachers in Korea. I sincerely believe that successfully negotiating with law firms to establish a program like ‘Legal Assurance‘ is a tangible sign that we are accomplishing some of our goals.
There are limited spots in the initial program, so if you are interested it is on a first come first serve basis.
The way this program works is a lot like pre-paid legal insurance, albeit without as many restrictions and as much fine print. After chatting with Mr. Dolezal, I learned a couple of additional details:
First, this is considered a pilot program. If all goes well the program might be expanded to more people, making signing up even easier and the like.
Second, you don't have to be an ATEK member to join this program. ATEK's role is a bit like doing triage at a hospital - focusing on the more serious cases while weeding out the frivolous cases. Going around ATEK might gum up the inner workings a bit, but if you have a case where a lawyer would help, this is definitely worth joining.
The link: http://k-labor.com/tiki-index.php?page=Labor+Assurance&bl=n&saved_msg=y
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© Chris Backe - 2010
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