James K. Lee | White & Case LLP International Law Firm, Global Law Practice
James K. Lee
James K. Lee

James K. Lee

Partner, Seoul

An experienced commercial litigator, James represents clients in complex business disputes which often involve an international dimension. As the Global Head of the Firm’s Korea Practice Group, he also supports Korean companies with their activities in foreign markets.


James K. Lee serves as the Executive Partner of the Seoul office and as the Global Head of White & Case's Korea Practice Group.

Clients come to James for his deep insight and experience in handling complex, cross-border litigation. Over more than twenty years' practice, he has developed a significant track record of winning cases related to class action defense and commercial disputes.

He has successfully represented both domestic and multinational companies in state and federal courts, as well as before arbitral tribunals. James is especially noted for his adept handling of business disputes involving international parties, and has successfully tried multiple jury trials to verdict.

In addition to his litigation practice, James also assists Korean companies with their operations in the United States and in other international markets. James, who speaks fluent Korean, has a significant background in this field, having headed up the Korea desk of another global law firm prior to joining White & Case.

Drawing on the experience of the Firm's lawyers in multiple practices around the world, James offers comprehensive legal counsel to major Korean companies. By steering them through the technical minefield of cross-border transactions and regulatory issues, he enables these clients to extend their activities into foreign markets with complete confidence.

The breadth of James' international experience is matched by his deep familiarity with the Korean business environment. This has also made him a valued resource for global companies doing business within the Korean market. Drawing on his relationships with local counsel, James is perfectly placed to help foreign companies navigate the challenges presented by the Korean legal and regulatory landscape.

Bars and Courts

  • Registered Foreign Legal Consultant, Korea
  • California State Bar
  • US District Court for the Northern, Central and Southern Districts of California
  • US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit


  • JD, University of Minnesota Law School
  • BA, Political Science, University of Michigan


  • English
  • Korean


Major Korean Auto Maker, 2016 and ongoing

James is representing a major Korean auto maker in a lawsuit brought by a former distributor.

South Korean shipbuilder, 2016

Acting for a major South Korean shipbuilder in a shipbuilding dispute against a Greek buyer involving issues of alleged technical defects including in relation to coatings.

South Korean engineering company, 2016

Acting for a major South Korean engineering company against a major provider of vessels to the offshore oil and gas companies in relation to a technical support vessel.

Business Torts Claims, 2015 and ongoing

James is representing a major Korean bank in a high stakes U.S. litigation involving tens of millions of dollars based on business torts claims.

Indemnity Claims, 2015

James advised a major Korean automobile parts supplier with respect to indemnification rights against a U.S.-based component supplier for product design defects.

Global Mobile Messaging Platform, 2014

James represented LINE Plus Corporation, one of the fastest growing global mobile messaging platforms, in relation to the acquisition of the worldwide business and assets of the digital music service known as 'MixRadio' from Microsoft Mobile OY (formerly Nokia's handset business).

Leading Bolt Manufacturer, 2014

James counseled one of Korea's largest bolt manufacturers in relation to a product liability case tried in Texas District Court, involving a fire at an Alaska oil refinery with claims for tens of millions of dollars against valve manufacturers. A directed verdict was granted by the Court in favor of the client.

Leading Consumer Appliance Maker, 2013-2014

James acted as lead trial counsel in a putative wage and hour class action before the California Superior Court, on behalf of a large Korean appliance maker. With strategically targeted discovery, James and his team were able to obtain the necessary admissions from plaintiffs to obtain a summary judgment, and the case was dismissed in its entirety.

Putative Class Action, 2013

James acted as lead trial counsel in a putative class action against a Korean rail car maker. The client achieved a favorable settlement after discovery.

Leading Korean Heavy Industry Company, 2011 and ongoing

James coordinated the client's representation in a US Department of Commerce anti-dumping investigation in 2011–2012 involving large electrical transformers manufactured in Korea for export to the US.

Speaking Engagements

"Dispute Resolution in Central & Eastern Europe, in particular Ukraine & Russia", April 2015: White & Case with the Korean Commercial Arbitration Board (KCAB) and the Seoul International Dispute Resolution Center,
Seoul, Korea
, (Chair)

"Overview of U.S. Litigation Procedures", March 2014: Doosan Group's Intellectual Property Task Force Team,
Seoul, Korea

"Writ of Attachments and Provisional Remedies for Creditors in California", March 2014: Korea Deposit Insurance Corporation,
Seoul, Korea

"Practical Tips on Depositions Involving Korean Witnesses", September 2013: 2013 Conference of the International Association of Korean Lawyers,
Seoul, Korea

"How to Conduct Jury Selection", September 2012: 2012 Conference of the International Association of Korean Lawyers,
Los Angeles, US


  • Long Window for Recognizing Foreign Judgments Invites Fraud, American Bar Association, July 2012