My name is Daniel J. Lee, and I am a devoted husband, father, son, friend, and lawyer. Ever since immigrating to the United States at the early age two, I grew up, studied, and established my life in Southern California. Growing up with instability under struggling immigrant parents was difficult, and many aspects of my life ended in failure, but I firmly believe it is those struggles that allows me to relate in this world with a stronger testimony. Most of all, I was blessed with God sent people who stayed by my side, lifted me up, and enabled me to overcome empowered by faith, hope, and love.
Academically, I’ve consistently excelled at the top of class throughout my formative years and high school. At UCLA undergrad, however, I was at the bottom of my class wandering through paths of life I would have been better off. But God bless the broken road. When enrolling at the best school on the west coast, my intentions were to graduate with a Business Economics major in three years, but as the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry, I ended up proudly graduating with a Sociology major in six years.
The worst years of my life culminated with my parents divorcing, home being foreclosed, and losing a friend to gang violence. I have lived with guilt ever since of not having done enough to save him that night out together celebrating the birth of his son. In His Grace, the worst year of my life became the year of my salvation—I got back up to live my remaining days with purpose, which to me, is doing my best in however small a role it may be in the betterment of people. And so (some would say ironically) I decided to go to law school to engage in the field of criminal law uplifting the troubled youth as a walking example of second chance, and prosecuting hardcore gangs endangering our community.
Having laid such an excellent track record in my undergraduate studies, I was fortunate to have been accepted into Chapman University School of Law in 2007 except that I couldn’t afford the tuition being broken, poor with no credit, and homeless living out of my late grandmother’s senior housing on the DL. Yet, I was blessed with a co-signer, friends, mentors, and classmates who allowed me to once again excel in my studies graduating with honors and serving as Editor in the Chapman Law Review. Looking back, I wish I had more fully appreciated that my time with Grandma was actually a precious gift I would yearn so very much for now.
In law school, I trained to become a trial attorney clerking for the Gang Unit of the Orange County District Attorney’s Office but when I graduated in 2010, there were hiring freezes across all counties as a rippling effect of the 2008 financial crisis. My father once analogized life to a river in that if one way gets blocked off, the river still flows in another direction. That other direction for me was Civil Litigation. For the next ten years, I went on to advocate at the trial level from intake to case resolution on behalf of various clients in a myriad of industries, including national financial institutions (e.g., Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, U.S. Bank, Bank of New York Mellon, Wells Fargo), national title insurers (e.g., Fidelity National Title), international broadcasting corporations (e.g., Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation, Seoul Broadcasting System, Korean Broadcasting System), public companies (e.g., Toshiba, ABM Industries, Fannie Mae), large developers (e.g., Warmington), closely held corporations, and high level executives. During this time, I was blessed to have represented clients with deep pockets enabling me to work countless hours experiencing the full spectrum of state and federal civil procedure, including appellate advocacy. Most of all, throughout my journey from Associate to Partner, I was blessed to have worked side by side with colleagues who remain dear friends at the boutique litigation firm of Ross Wersching & Wolcott LLP (now Ross Wolcott Teinert & Prout LLP), including Hon. Eric J. Wersching.
With my life facing back up on the trajectory, I reached the pinnacle of my lifetime in 2016 when I married my beautiful wife, Arielle. She gave me a Home again and our love multiplied with little children we call Eliana and Elijah. As my everyday stabilized though, there was still a tug at my heart calling me to use my talents with purpose. The endless hours of work consuming so much of my life as well as all the victories and learning lessons were mainly all to the benefit of corporations, not people. As my luck would have it, I was again blessed in this reflective period to have found a brother, excellent lawyer, and now my partner, Christopher T. Kim, who with a similar professional background defending corporations and government entities, was looking to shift his vocation into a calling for the service of people.
Together, we established Lee & Kim LLP with the mission of serving as a beacon of hope and, to the extent possible, achieving peace of mind for our clients so that they can carry on from unfortunate disruptions in their personal lives. We now represent the everyday people. We help those who have been injured recover for what they lost. We can’t turn back time, but we can maximize monetary compensation for what was taken away such as freedom from physical pain, peace, emotional stability, ability to earn, mobility, enjoyment of life, financial loss, companionship, and dignity. We challenge insurance companies that act in bad faith against beneficiaries, filling their corporate greed by shortcutting their obligations. We help the injured without health insurance receive necessary medical treatment. We secure justice for those discriminated and retaliated against based on their protected qualities. We serve as righteous indignation in the court of law for the wronged, abused, and neglected. We now use our talents to become blessings in the lives of others, as we were so blessed throughout our past, and we Love what we do.
God bless you for reading my story, and for all those who played a part, thank you—your graciousness to me will be lived forward. With much gratitude, hope, and sincerity, I humbly ask you all to be witnesses to the next chapters to come.