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With over 30 years' experience, James K. Lee focuses his practice on complex cross-border litigation involving contract disputes, class action defense, intellectual property, unfair competition, and business torts for U.S. and international clients. James has a strong record of success in United States state and federal courts and before various arbitration tribunals. He serves as the Managing Partner of the firm's Seoul office.

With a deep understanding of the Korean business landscape, James also has substantial experience advising Korean companies across a broad range of industries on public policy, regulatory, and transactional matters in the United States and other jurisdictions.

According to Chambers Asia-Pacific, James is "highly regarded for his international experience and deep understanding of the Korean business environment, with considerable expertise in cross-border commercial disputes. He is recognized by clients as a 'brilliant strategist who is meticulous' and a leader who shows 'excellent advocacy skills in court.'" In addition, Asia Pacific Legal 500 notes, James is "excellent at managing teams, understanding clients' needs, and thinking outside of the box" and has recognized him as a leading individual for international arbitrations.


  • Hyundai Motor Company, Hyundai Motor America, and Innocean Worldwide Americas LLC in a right of publicity action brought in California Superior Court in connection with the name of one of Hyundai's vehicle models sold in Korea.
  • HL Klemove, a subsidiary of tier one motor vehicle parts manufacturer HL Mando, in a patent infringement action filed in the Eastern District of Virginia in which client seeks a judicial determination that parts it supplied to Kia for its vehicles did not infringe defendant's patents.
  • Nexon Korea Corporation, one of the world's largest video game developers and publishers, as lead counsel, in a copyright infringement and trade secrets theft lawsuit against former employees in the Western District of Washington.
  • Major media and entertainment company, as lead counsel, in copyright infringement litigation in the Central District of California relating to a major motion picture produced in Korea and distributed globally by Netflix. Persuaded plaintiff to voluntarily dismiss the action during the early stage of litigation.
  • Major Korean asset management firms, Korea Alternative Investment Asset Management Corporation, Golden Bridge Asset Management, and JB Asset Management, as lead counsel, in financial litigation in the Central District of California.
  • Korean multinational electronics corporation in a potential contract and unfair competition dispute related to the purchase and sale of high-tech products involving hundreds of millions of dollars at issue.
  • Korea's largest independent energy producer in a shareholder rights dispute in the Delaware Chancery Court.
  • The Export-Import Bank of Korea in a multi-million-dollar lawsuit in the Central District of California against a U.S. distributor of electronics and IT products based on claims for fraud arising from fabricated import-export transactions. The client secured a substantial settlement amount on the eve of trial.
  • Korea's largest independent energy producer in securities-related action in the Southern District of New York.
  • Major Korean power plant owner in a dispute arising from the failure of certain turbines and the resulting losses from the disruption of power production.
  • U.S. biotechnology company in the coordination of parallel litigation in Korea and the U.S. involving a shareholder dispute and trade secrets.
  • Major Korean construction company with respect to a potential dispute arising out of a bid for a multibillion-dollar construction project in the U.S.
  • U.S. subsidiary of a large Korean company in the paper products industry in obtaining dismissal of an action for misappropriation of trade secrets and interference with business relationships against our client.
  • Samsung Heavy Industries in a lawsuit filed in U.S. federal court by a group of U.S. investors that invested in a high-rise complex in Seoul, Korea. Obtained early dismissal of the action on the grounds of improper venue and forum non conveniens. The case was affirmed on appeal to the Ninth Circuit.
  • Korean automotive company in a lawsuit brought in Miami, Florida. The client succeeded in having the case ordered to arbitration in Korea, and the former exclusive distributor in one of the Caribbean nations abandoned its case.


Chambers Global
Dispute Resolution: International Firms — South Korea (2022-2024)
"Spotlight Table" Dispute Resolution: International Firms — South Korea (2017-2021)
"Recognised Practitioner" Dispute Resolution: International Firms — South Korea (2016)
Chambers Asia-Pacific
Dispute Resolution: International Firms — South Korea: Band 2 (2017-2024)



  • J.D., University of Minnesota Law School
  • B.A., University of Michigan


  • Registered Foreign Legal Consultant, Korea
  • California
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of California
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of California
  • U.S. District Court, Central District of California
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of Washington
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of Illinois
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit


  • Board of Trustees, University of Minnesota Foundation


  • Korean
  • English