cargo freight, container ship in seaBig family business conglomerates can get into big trouble when impacted by negative global market forces.  That’s the story of Hanjin Shipping Co., a family-owned Korean shipping company (and part of a large Korean chaebol, or conglomerate) that filed for bankruptcy protection in late August 2016. But, according to this linked article in the Seattle Times by Youkyung Lee, market forces were not the only cause of the company’s troubles.  South Korean commentators have considered the family business to be lacking in effective leadership, where succession was inherited rather than based on merit or experience.  Family businesses large and small can gain insights from the experience of this once-successful large company.  See the article here.   Keith Baldwin is a business transactions and securities lawyer with a forty year history of serving clients’ legal needs. Keith focuses his practice on business relationships, including mergers and acquisitions, agreements among owner-entrepreneurs, and best practices for corporate governance. Keith can be reached via email at or directly at 425.646.6133.