Soo Yeon Lee


Practice Areas

  • Tax
    • Tax aspect of real estate (purchase, sale, exchange, inheritance, gift)
    • Tax aspect of business transactions
    • Estate and Gift Tax
    • Tax-exempt organizations
    • 501(c)(3) IRS recognition
    • 501(c)(3) local real estate and sales tax exemption
    • Private Foundations
    • Charitable giving
    • International estate planning
  • Litigation
    • Commercial Transactions
    • Real Estate litigation (Commercial Leasing, Partition, Specific Performance, Option to Purchase, etc.)
    • Estate (Fiduciary Claims and Defenses, Will Contest, etc.)
    • Construction related issues, Mechanic’s lien
    • Shareholder Disputes and Other Business Issues
  • Real Estate
    • Corporate Real Estate
    • Right Disposition Options
    • 1031 Exchange
    • Estate Planning Involving Real Estate
    • Gift vs. Inheritance
    • Right Ownership Vehicle and title vesting
    • Due Diligence
    • Guidance on Management
    • Commercial Leasing
    • Income Tax Strategies
    • International Buyer & Seller
  • Trust & Estate
    • Best planning involving Real Estate
    • Will-Based Planning
    • Trust-Based Planning
    • Protection for Minor Children
    • Planning for Mobile and Global Family
    • Tax aspect of Estate Planning
    • Business Succession
    • Family Limited Partnership
    • Special Needs Planning
    • Essential Family Documents
    • Power of Attorney
  • General Counsel for Business
    • Entity Selection Based on Tax and Non-Tax Considerations
    • Buying Business and Due Diligence
    • Tax Aspect of Business Planning
    • Creating Corporations, LLCS, Partnerships
    • Shareholder, Partnership, and LLC Operating Agreements
    • Real Estate Owned or Leased
    • Negotiating, Preparing, and Reviewing Contracts
    • Employment Practice
    • Licensing Agreements
    • Handling Litigation
    • Sale or Other Disposition of Business
  • South Korea – U.S.
    • Litigation Involving Korean Companies or Korean-Speaking Litigants
    • Family Office (General Counsel to a US-Korean Family)
    • U.S. Gift and Estate Tax Planning
    • Pre-Immigration Planning
    • Significant Transactions Between U.S.-Korea
    • Foreign Account Reporting Compliance
    • Asset Management Considerations
    • Real Estate Investment in the U.S.
    • International Students in the U.S.

Award Honors

  • Named as a 2015-2018 Emerging Lawyer by the Law Bulletin Publishing Company’s Leading Lawyers division.
  • The recognition, held by less than two percent of Illinois attorneys, is limited to lawyers age 40 or younger unless they have practiced for a decade or less. Recommended in Commercial Litigation and Commercial Real Estate.
  • Nominated to become a fellow with the American Bar Foundation, 2014.
  • Limited to less than one percent of lawyers licensed to practice in each jurisdiction.
  • Selected as one of the six attorneys in the nation for the Section of Real Property, Trust, and Estate Law of the American Bar Association Fellows Class of 2012-2014.

Professional Activities & memberships

  • Legal Advisor to Consulate General of the Republic of Korea (Chicago)
  • Elected to the Section Council in the ABA Section of Real Property, Trust, and Estate Law in 2019. (ABA Section of Real Property, Trust, and Estate Law is a leading national forum for real estate and estate planning lawyers and currently has more than 22,000 members)
  • American Bar Association, Section of Real Property, Trust and Estate Law
  • Section Council Member (2019 – Present)
  • Associate Departmental Editor of the Probate and Property Magazine (2020 – Present)
  • Law Practice Management Group, Group Co-Chair (2018 – 2020)
  • Community Outreach Committee (2014 – 2019)
  • Ground Leasing Committee, Chair (2014 – 2016)
  • Leasing Group, Nuts and Bolts of Leases Teleconference Series (2014 – 2016)
  • Korean American Bar Association of Chicago (KABA)
  • Advisory Board (2014 – Present)
  • Board Member (2008 – 2014)
  • Pro Bono Legal Clinic Director (2008 – 2012)
  • Age Options, Board Member (2019 – 2022)
  • Korean American Community Services (now Hana Center), Board Member (2009 – 2015)
  • Christian Legal Society

Written Work & Presentations


  • LL.M. in Taxation, with honors, Northwestern Pritzker School of Law, Chicago, IL
  • Tax Certificate, Wealth Transfer and Legacy Planning, Northwestern Pritzker School of Law
  • J.D., University of Illinois Chicago School of Law
  • M.S. in Information Technology and Privacy Law, University of Illinois Chicago School of Law


  • Illinois, 2005
  • U.S. District Court

Languages: English, Korean

Soo Yeon Lee concentrates her practice in the areas of tax, business, real estate, trust and estate law. She has sought out expertise in a wide range of practice areas in order to focus on the areas of law that are of recurring importance to her clients. This makes her truly unique and rare counsel because she can provide integrated cross-disciplinary legal advice tailored to clients’ unique situations and goals. She takes pride in representing creative, entrepreneurial and mission-driven clients and assisting them to navigate the complex and ever-changing marketplace successfully and comfortably. 

She regularly counsels on the tax aspect of real estate, tax planning for business transactions, estate and gift tax, non-profit tax counsel, private foundation, and charitable giving. She is especially passionate about real estate because real estate is critical to the success of a business or any non-profit and their ability to deliver on its mission. She is also a well-informed and thoughtful litigator, possessing the ability of making accurate risk assessment based on her deep knowledge as to how a dispute would play out.

She is a legal hybrid between South Korea and U.S. and with her skills as a native speaker and first-hand experience of the Korean culture, she bridges the US-Korean gap for her cross-cultural clients.

Soo Yeon Lee is a very active member of Section of Real Property, Trust and Estate Law (RPTE) of American Bar Association (ABA). This ABA Section is one of the largest professional real estate, and trust and estate lawyers’ organizations. She is a Section Council Member (2019-2022) and Associate Departmental Editor of the Probate and Property Magazine, after wearing a variety of leadership hats since 2012. 

Currently she is a legal advisor to the Consulate General of South Korea in Chicago. If you are in need of Soo Yeon’s Korean service & expertise, learn more here!

Soo Yeon’s Legal Lectures:

  • Must Have Engagement Letter Clauses: Avoiding Practice Pitfalls, 33rd National CLE Conference, Section of Real Property, Trust and Estate Law, American Bar Association (April 2021)
  • Funding Living Trusts with Real Property: Special Considerations and Forms, ABA Section of Real Property, Trust and Estate Law (May 2018)
  • Where Death and Dirt Meet: Practice Pointers from the Other Side, ABA Section of Real Property, Trust and Estate Law (May 2017)
  • Lease Restructuring, Practicing Law Institute (March 2016, 2018)
  • Lease Review, Practicing Law Institute (April 2016, 2017)
  • Building and Managing a Successful Real Estate/Estate Planning Practice, ABA Section of Real Property, Trust, and Estate Law (May 2016)
  • How to Review and Negotiate Purchase and Sale Agreement and Commercial Lease, 3rd Minority Bar Conference (June 2015)
  • How to Review and Negotiate a Commercial Lease, ABA Section of Real Property, Trust and Estate Law (April 2015)
  • Build to Suit Leases, ABA Section of Real Property, Trust and Estate Law (May 2014)
  • Signage Issues in Commercial Leasing, Nuts and Bolts of Leases, ABA Section of Real Property, Trust and Estate Law (June 2013)