Head of Korea Practice – Asia Pacific, Tokyo
Daniel Wonzo Lee has over 35 years’ experience of helping clients with a wide range of complex cross-border mergers and acquisitions, international joint ventures, foreign direct investments and international arbitration.
Daniel began his legal career as a litigator in Los Angeles specializing in civil litigation. Later, after many years of court room experience, he transitioned to a transaction practice at a major law firm. Voted as one of the Top 100 lawyers in Korea by the Asia Business Law Journal in 2018 and 2021, he is licensed as a foreign legal consultant in Korea and is widely known in the Korean corporate legal community as a lawyer who can advise on transactions based on his litigation experience.
Daniel has significant IT, FCPA, compliance and forensics experience stemming from his eight years as the General Counsel/Vice President of IBM Korea. His noteworthy legal record includes his role as the lead counsel for Korea's largest automobile manufacturer and many of its suppliers, helping to establish automobile assembly plants in the US and Brazil, among many other greenfield projects in foreign jurisdictions. Recently, Daniel was a key member of the US arbitration team that brought a major victory for a leading Korean E&C company in an AAA arbitration in the US.
Under his management, the DLA Piper Seoul Office was named Foreign Law Firm of the Year and Overseas Practice Law Firm of the Year in 2014 by the Asian Legal Business Korea Law Awards, sponsored by Thomson Reuters.
Before joining DLA Piper in 2008 as Head of the Korea Practice in Tokyo, Daniel worked for major law firms in Los Angeles, Honolulu and Seoul.
Daniel is the founder of the In-house Counsel Forum (IHCF) in Korea, which now has over 1,800 in-house counsel members, and served as its first President from 1998 to 2002. He is also the founder of the Foreign Law Firm Association in Korea and served as its first President from 2014 to 2016.
He is a frequent speaker at seminars and workshops.
- University of San Francisco School of Law in California, J.D.
- Michigan State University in Michigan, M.A.
- Yonsei University, B.A.
Awards and recognition
- Eminent Practitioner, Dispute Resolution: International Firms, South Korea, Chambers Global and Asia-Pacific 2018-22
- Recommended lawyer, Corporate and M&A: Foreign Firms, South Korea, The Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2022
Memberships And Affiliations
- California Bar Association, USA
- Hawaii Bar Association, USA
- Washington, DC Bar Association, USA
- Korean Bar Association (Registered Foreign Legal Consultant)
- Japan Bar Association (former 'gaikokuho jimu bengoshi')
- Director of the International Association of Korean Lawyers, 2017-present
- Commission Member of the Foreign Legal Consultant Disciplinary Committee, Korea Bar Association, 2019-21
- Consulting member of Anti-corruption/Compliance Center Academy, Yonsei University, 2019-present
- Committee Member of International Relations Committee, Korean Bar Association, 2013-19
- Board Member of the International Association of Korean Lawyers, 2017-22