Ko-Yung Tung Joins New York Office of Morrison & Foerster


Press Release

Former Vice President and General Counsel of The World Bank and Eminent International Lawyer, Joins the Firm


New York, May 9, 2005Morrison & Foerster LLP announced that Ko-Yung Tung, former Vice President and General Counsel of The World Bank, has joined the firm as Senior Counsellor resident in its New York office. 

Mr. Tung is an eminent international lawyer, practicing in both the public sector, particularly in the developing world, and in the private sector, where he has focused on large trans-Pacific transactions.

Until recently, Mr. Tung practiced at O’Melveny & Myers, where he had served as chairman of the Global Practice Group and was a member of the firm-wide management committee.  His clients are mostly multinational corporations and financial institutions, including Japan Airlines and global real estate and construction firm Kajima Group. 

A native of Beijing, Mr. Tung grew up in Japan before attending both college and law school at Harvard in the 1970s.

The World Bank, a multilateral organization with 184 member states, is the leading international development agency, lending approximately $20 billion annually to over 95 developing countries.  As its Vice President and General Counsel from 1999-2003, Mr. Tung reported directly to the bank’s president James Wolfensohn and to the bank’s Board of Executive Directors.  During his tenure, Mr. Tung was key in the Bank’s initiative to promote the rule of law, including good governance and anti-corruption, in its member states and operations.  Mr. Tung was involved in major operations including: the historic financial restructuring of Argentina following its $140 billion default, the largest sovereign default ever recorded; the Chad-Cameroon Pipeline project; banking sector reform in Mexico; the establishment of the Global Trust Fund for HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis; the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund; and the reform of the World Bank anti-corruption program.    

Mr. Tung also served as Secretary General of the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes.  With 140 participating nation members, ICSID has become the premier forum for arbitration between foreign investors and host sovereign countries.  During his tenure, the number of registered cases multiplied significantly, with NAFTA cases, as well as investment disputes following Argentina’s financial crisis.

Mr. Tung remains active in international legal education and public policy.  In addition to his ongoing work with The World Bank, he continues to hold a number of high-level appointments with non-governmental organizations committed to international trade, finance and human rights. 

Morrison & Foerster’s Chair Keith Wetmore commented on Mr. Tung’s arrival: "Ko-Yung has the rare distinction of being a preeminent legal scholar on international law, as well as an experienced transactional lawyer with a successful corporate practice.  Having worked with government leaders and executives in shaping global economic policy, he is finely attuned to developments in cross-border finance and business issues.  Ko-Yung will be a key contributor to our international practice work, especially throughout Asia, where he has been a respected corporate dealmaker for many years."

Michael Braun, head of the firm’s corporate finance group in New York, who has long represented Japanese companies in cross-border transactions and investments, added his perspective on Mr. Tung:

"Ko-Yung is a tremendous asset to our practice.  He brings a wealth of knowledge in international finance and economic policy, along with well-established relationships among major corporations and governments throughout the Pacific Rim and elsewhere, including Africa and Latin America.  Ko-Yung’s counsel will be invaluable across our international corporate work, whether it originates in the U.S. or in Asia." 

Morrison & Foerster is one of the largest and most prominent international law firms, maintaining seven international offices, including five in Asia.  The firm maintains the largest presence of any International law firm in Japan, with more than 70 attorneys resident in its Tokyo office.

"As one of the leading international law firms, with a reputation for professional excellence, both domestically and internationally, combined with global coverage, particularly in Asia and expanding in Europe and Latin America, Morrison & Foerster is the ‘go-to’ firm for companies operating globally," Mr. Tung remarked.  "The firm will provide me with the solid foundation essential to support my clients.  I hope to provide unique assistance to the firm and its clientele."

"We are delighted to welcome an attorney of Ko-Yung’s caliber to advance our strong cross-border practice," said Karen Hagberg, managing partner of Morrison & Foerster’s New York office.  "We welcome him not only as a leading transactional lawyer but as a top-tier policy maker and authority on East-West relations, whose international experience will be invaluable to our clients."

In addition to his law practice, Mr. Tung is active in the public sphere.  He was appointed by President Clinton to the Commission on United States Pacific Trade and Investment Policy and by Secretaries of State James Baker and Warren Christopher to the East-West Center Board of Governors, of which he was Chairman. 

Mr. Tung currently serves as a board member of NGOs and academic centers, including Transparency International-USA; International Development Law Organization in Rome; The Morin Center for Banking and Financial Law at Boston University Law School; The London Forum for International Economic Law and Development of the University of London; Human Rights Watch-Asia; U.S.-China Education Fund; and the Asian-American Legal Defense and Education Fund.  He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the American Law Institute.

Mr. Tung is a frequent speaker and lecturer at various academic institutions on many topics, such as international business, global development and governance.  He taught Japanese law at the New York University School of Law. 

Mr. Tung received his BA degree in Physics from Harvard where he graduated magna cum laude in 1970.   He received his JD degree from Harvard Law School in 1973.  He also studied Japanese law at the Faculty of Law at Tokyo University.

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