SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — May is Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month and once again this year, NewsChannel 9 is paying tribute to members of the AAPI community making a difference throughout Central New York.

This week on Asian Americans Standing Strong, Adrienne Smith introduces us to Donghoo Sohn, a Korean American attorney working at Melvin & Melvin in Syracuse.

Before Donghoo became a corporate lawyer in Central New York, he spent most of his life in South Korea. He was born in Seoul, the nation’s capital, and lived in various parts of the country growing up.

Donghoo even served in the Korean Army when he was 20 years old, a requirement for all Korean men between the ages of 18 and 35.

After serving in the Korean Army, Donghoo attended and graduated from Sejong University‘s MBA school in 2010.

One year later, Donghoo came to Central New York for the very first time to attend the Syracuse University College of Law.

He’s one of the first graduates of the L.L.M program, a Master of Laws program designed specifically for aspiring lawyers from different countries.

“I wanted to practice law in the United States and Syracuse was the only place I knew. I graduated Syracuse Law School in 2013. I went back to South Korea in 2014 and came back to Syracuse again in 2017.


Currently working as an associate with Melvin & Melvin, Donghoo specializes in real estate transactions and corporate law.

Donghoo regularly represents clients in a variety of areas including:

  • LLC Formation
  • Personal Injury
  • DWI/Traffic Matters
  • Liquor Licensing
  • Real Estate and Land Use Planning
  • Real Estate Litigation
  • Foreclosures and Workouts

“I practice normally for the commercial side and businesses,” Donghoo said, “It sounds very boring!”

On top of his day-to-day responsibilities, Donghoo has a passion for helping local refugee and New American communities as a legal advisor.

He’s actively involved in the New American Forum, CNY Blessing Box and the Riina Education for Innovation. Donghoo also serves as the Treasurer/Executive Director of the Central New York chapter of Asian American Pacific Islander American Public Affairs (APAPA).

By providing legal consulting, Donghoo values the importance of charities and nonprofit organizations that are striving to make positive change in Central New York.

“When I see that there is growth of these nonprofit organizations, I feel very accomplished because we grow together within our same society.”


Donghoo not only decided to move to Syracuse to advance his career as an attorney, but to build a better life for his wife, Nagyung Kim, and 9-year-old son, Yeonghoon, who has autism.

Donghoo says there’s still a social stigma surrounding people with disabilities in South Korea and other Asian countries.

“We do not have that kind of understanding. I cannot change my society by myself, but I know that there is a really good society here in the city of Syracuse. I could not imagine a better place to raise my son, have the diversity and inclusive education, and you can respect other cultures.”


Donghoo’s son, Yeonghoon, is currently a second grade student at Syracuse City School’s Webster Elementary. He and his wife, Nagyung, are members of the Korean Church of Syracuse.

In South Korea, Donghoo is a member of Blockchain Technology Law Association and an advisor for the Korean Disability Law Association.

Here in Central New York, Donghoo is a member of the Onondaga County and New York State Bar Associations. Additionally, he serves as a board member of the Syracuse University Law Alumni Association.

You can learn even more about Donghoo Sohn by reading his attorney spotlight on the Melvin & Melvin website.