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ATEK: Legal Counsel Insurance Program Available

This news come from Greg Dolezal, President of ATEK (Association of Teachers of English in Korea).

I have some very useful information for you.   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:

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

Having taken a gander at the KangName Labor firm’s offer of Legal Assurance, it seems like a grand idea. Just about like health insurance.  You pay money up front in the form of premiums, and if you’re ever sick, (or need legal help, in this case) your bills are covered. Here’s the long and short of it. The Legal Assurance program wants to rake in 20K won a month from you and, in the vent you have a legal problem, they’ll pay your legal bills. It’s a gamble. Maybe you’ll need it, maybe you won’t.

I’ve been here over four years and have been sick a couple of times. That yellow dust last month gave my lungs a fit. I got food poisoning once.  That wasn’t fun. Both times, the insurance helped foot the bill.

In that same time, I haven’t once needed or even considered the use of any legal counsel. I’m probably in the minority with that, but there might be good reasons for that: I checked out my hogwan well before coming, I’m business savvy, not naive about what is or isn’t proper and can handle tough situations professionally.

Moreover, health issues are not like legal issues.  One has little or no control over one’s health other than to take care of the body by exercising, eating right, etc. Many problems, like viruses, cancer or even accidents can strike regardless of how much you work out or how well you eat. I don’t mind gambling with insurance and paying money for premiums when I might never get sick because one simply never knows.

But I personally would not pay for a legal insurance fund. I’m not saying I couldn’t ever get into a legal pinch, but I feel like I’d spend 20K a month and not likely get my money back out. I’ve spent my entire life thus far (and those who know me know that’s a long-ass time) without needing any legal eagles to file paper.

I am, however, happy to pass on this information to the readers of UlsanOnline for your own personal edification.