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Sang-yul Lee

Sang-yul Lee is a partner in the firm’s Labor, Employment, and Workplace Safety practice. He has a broad-based practice and represents clients in both litigation and transaction matters. He advises clients on all aspects of labor and employment law and human resources issues.

Sang-yul has represented clients in non-compete matters, EEO litigation, collective bargaining, organizing campaigns, strikes, arbitrations, layoffs and closures, health and safety investigations, wage and hour audits and collective actions, and union pension/welfare audits. He represents clients before federal and state courts, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the U.S. Department of Labor, and the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, as well as numerous other governmental agencies, in matters arising under a wide range of federal and state labor laws. He also has extensive experience representing parties in employment, separation/severance, change-in-control, independent contractor and restrictive covenant agreements.

Sang-yul has first chair experience in bench and jury trials as well as numerous administrative agency trials and hearings. He has served as primary labor and employment counsel on dozens of M&A transactions and restructuring matters. Additionally, over the years, he has represented numerous international clients in their litigation, labor and employment, and transactional needs in the U.S. He also has the unique experience of having been both the NLRB government agency lawyer, as well as management-side attorney in over 40 federal labor board election petitions and/or contested elections to certify and/or decertify labor organizations (unions). He has negotiated or advised on first time and successor collective bargaining agreements with most of the major labor unions in the country.

Sang-yul has been primary labor and benefits counsel on numerous hotel acquisition, redevelopment and restructuring matters throughout the country. He also has represented hotel owners and managers in investigations by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and state agencies and offices of the Attorney General in privacy, data breach and credit card laundering cases.

Prior to joining the firm, Sang-yul was a partner in the Chicago office of a national law firm.

  • Named a Notable Leader in Employment & Labor Law by Crain’s Chicago Business, 2023
  • Listed in the Best Lawyers in America® for Employment Law-Management in Chicago, 2020-2024
  • Named to the Lawdragon 500 Leading US Corporate Employment Lawyers Guide, 2020-2024
  • Elected as a Fellow to the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers, 2020
  • Named to the Lawyers of Color’s Inaugural “Nation’s Best” list, 2019
  • Named a Leading Lawyer for Labor & Employment and International Transactions work in the Leading Lawyers Network, 2011 to present
  • Named to the “40 Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch,” by Law Bulletin Publishing, 2007
  • Named to the Illinois Super Lawyers Rising Stars list, 2008 
  • Named to the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association's “Best Lawyers Under 40” list, 2006
  • Faculty, Practising Law Institute (Hotels: Acquiring, Managing, Developing & Converting the Hot Property)
  • Labor and Employment Law Section, American Bar Association (ABA)
  • Labor and Employment Relations Association (LERA-Chicago Chapter)
  • Employment and Industrial Relations Law Committee, International Bar Association (IBA)
  • First Vice President (President-elect), Chicago Bar Foundation
  • Overseas Board of Governors, International Association of Korean Lawyers
  • Chair, Advisory Board of the Northwestern University Asian American Alumni Association
  • Past President, Board of Directors, National Asian Pacific American Bar Association Foundation
  • Past Secretary and Board Director, Chicago Committee on Minorities in Large Law Firms
  • Board of Directors, Japan America Society of Chicago
  • "Committee on Practice & Procedure Under the NLRA Midwinter Meeting: Legal Standards
    and Procedures Applicable to Recusal of NLRB Members," ABA Labor and Employment Law Section, 4 March 2021
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