Thomas H. Lee

Thomas H. Lee

Leitner Family Professor of International Law; Director of Graduate and International Studies

Telephone: 212.636.6728

Research & Teaching Areas

International Law; Civil Procedure; Courts–Supreme Court; Federal Courts; Constitutional Law & Theory; Law of War; International Arbitration


Thomas Lee teaches and writes in the fields of civil procedure, international arbitration and litigation, comparative and U.S. constitutional law, public international law, and the U.S. federal court system. He has also been a Visiting Professor at Harvard Law School (2012-13), University of Virginia School of Law (2007), and Columbia Law School (2005-06). After receiving his J.D. in 2000, he clerked for Judge Michael Boudin of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit and for Justice David Souter of the U.S. Supreme Court. During law school, he was Articles Chair of the Harvard Law Review and a Ph.D. candidate in Government. He has also worked at Munger, Tolles & Olson; Wachtell, Lipton & Rosen; and Weil, Gotshal & Manges. He received an A.B. summa cum laude in East Asian Languages & Civilizations and Government and an A.M in Regional Studies-East Asia from Harvard in 1991, after which he served four years in the U.S. Navy as a signals intelligence officer with four submarine deployments and shore duty in Korea, Japan, and Washington DC.  Professor Lee is a member of the bars of New York, Massachusetts (inactive), and the U.S. Supreme Court, and is admitted in the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the D.C., First, and Second Circuits.  He has advised the Korean Constitutional Court and consults on U.S. federal appeals and jurisdictional issues, international arbitrations, and multi-country litigation matters. He is proficient in Korean and reads French, Japanese, and Latin.

Selected Publications

  • The Law of War and the Responsibility to Protect Civilians: A Reinterpretation, 55 Harvard Int'l L. J. (forthcoming 2014)
  • International Law and Institutions and the American Constitution in War and Peace, 31 Berkeley J. Int’l L. 291 (2013)
  • The Story of the Prize Cases: Executive Action and Judicial Review in Wartime, in Presidential Power Stories (Curtis Bradley & Chris Schroeder, eds., 2009) (with Michael D. Ramsey)
  • The Civil War in U.S. Foreign Relations Law: A Dress Rehearsal for Modern Transformations, 53 St. Louis L. J. 53 (2008)
  • The Safe-Conduct Theory of the Alien Tort Statute, 106 Colum. L. Rev. 830 (2006)  
  • University Dons and Warrior Chieftains: Two Concepts of Diversity, 72 Fordham L. Rev. 2301 (2004)
  • International Law, International Relations Theory, and Preemptive War: The Vitality of Sovereign Equality Today, 67 Law & Contemp. Probs. 147 (Autumn 2004)
  • The Supreme Court of the United States as Quasi-International Tribunal, 104 Colum. L. Rev. 1765 (2004)
  • Making Sense of the Eleventh Amendment: International Law and State Sovereignty, 96 Nw. U. L. Rev. 1027 (2002)


Harvard, A.B., A.M., J.D.; Ph.D. candidate (Political Science)