188 Industrial Drive

Suite 403

Elmhurst, IL 60126


© 2017 Lee & Breen, LLC.

John Lee


Partner, Lee & Breen


Legal Background


Mr. Lee is a member of the Leading Lawyers Network, where he has been recognized by his peers as a Leading Lawyer in the categories of International Business & Trade Law, and Commercial Litigation. He has been rated by Martindale—Hubbel for ethics and legal ability. In addition, in 2005 and again in 2006 Mr. Lee was named as a "Super Lawyer" in the area of Business Litigation by Illinois Super Lawyers magazine.

Mr. Lee speaks Korean fluently.

Representative Cases


  • Successfully defended a large Asian company in a Title VII action before a Chicago jury; a no liability verdict for the employer.

  • Successfully settled a race discrimination, sex discrimination and hostile work environment action for a female employee against a large Asian company in the Federal District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

  • Won summary judgment for a large Asian employer in a Title VII case against its former HR Manager in the Federal District Court for the Northern District of Georgia. 

  • Successfully settled a prisoner civil rights case, including legal fees, against the Cook County Sheriff's Office in an action in which a Federal District Court in the Northern District of Illinois appointed Lee to represent a pro se prisoner.

  • Won a breach of contract action in the Federal District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, in which an Ecuadorean company voluntarily dismissed its action after years of litigation.

  • Won a multi-million dollar mediation for a large Asian company when its California dealer sought and failed to obtain a preliminary injunction in the Federal District Court for the Northern District of California, litigated before AAA through discovery with the dealer capitulating on the eve of the arbitration hearing. 

  • Won a jury verdict for a large Asian company in a breach of contract action by a contractor in a Georgia state court in the greater Atlanta area. 

  • Won a Fair Labor Standards Act action in the Federal District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, in which the plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed the action on the eve of trial after three years of litigation.

  • Won a civil rights action against a Chicago cop in a 10-year litigation, now reported in a law school text book as a seminal case on the duty to intervene. 

  • Successfully settled a consumer fraud action for a master dealer against a large cellular service provider in connection with cellular service distribution and accounting. 

  • Prevailed over the world's largest jean marketer in a Lanham Act action in Federal Court in Atlanta, Georgia; After almost two years of litigation, the world's largest jean marketer voluntarily dismissed its action.

  • Obtained summary judgment against liability carrier for advertising injury coverage to defend a large Lanham Act action in the apparel industry.

  • Won a jury verdict in North Carolina on behalf of a large Asian company against a North Carolina distributor.

  • Won a multimillion-dollar arbitration award from the AAA on behalf of a foreign manufacturer against a domestic distributor.

  • Obtained a multimillion-dollar verdict in an eminent domain jury trial against the City of Chicago.

  • Won bench trials involving equitable remedy and money damages in real estate litigation in Illinois and Arizona.

  • Obtained a favorable settlement in an action pending in Delaware Chancery Court that involved an Asian financial institution and a parallel criminal proceeding by prosecutors in that country.

  • Obtained a “no liability" result for a carrier in a multimillion dollar environmental coverage bench trial and appeal.

  • Obtained a favorable settlement in favor of a policy holder against a carrier to pay an underlying judgment in excess of limits by millions of dollars.

  • Obtained summary judgment for a carrier in a multimillion dollar coverage matter, upheld on appeal.

  • Obtained a large judgment against a managing partner of a partnership in a partnership dissolution, accounting, and breach of fiduciary duty case.

  • Defended and obtained favorable settlements on behalf of large employers in multi-plaintiff race discrimination cases.

  • Defended and obtained favorable settlements on behalf of large employers in ADA, wrongful discharge, gender discrimination, national origin, and sexual harassment cases.

  • Obtained favorable consent decree against a large corporation’s competitor in a false advertising and unfair business practices claim..

  • Obtained favorable settlements for international trading companies in trademark, copyright and U.S. Customs matters..

  • Successfully defended importers and trading companies in U.S. Customs matters.

  • Obtained favorable settlements for insurance carriers in numerous seven-figure coverage matters.

  • Obtained judgment in a bench trial, which was upheld on appeal, in a cross-border shipping case involving truck fines, railroads and ocean vessels.

  • Defended a product manufacturer in a death case.

  • Advised and negotiated international licensing and distribution agreements in the United States for Korean companies, and in the Korean market for Western companies.

  • Advised and negotiated for investors in large real estate investment projects..

  • Advised and managed an offshore derivatives being traded on the United States exchanges.

  • Advised multiple domestic companies investing in the Korean market.




Northwestern University, 1986



Northwestern Journal of International Law & Business



Dartmouth College, 1982

Bar Admissions


Illinois, 1986


U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois, 1986


U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit


U.S. Supreme Court, 1993


Georgia, 2015


U.S. district Court, Northern District of Georgia, 2016

2010 - present

2010 - present