The American Law Institute

William F. Lee

Bill Lee, an ALI member since 1987, is a partner in the Litigation/Controversy and Intellectual Property Departments in the Boston office of WilmerHale, began his legal career at the Boston firm of Hale and Dorr in 1976, rising to senior partner in 1984 and managing partner of the firm in 2000. He played a central role in the firm's 2004 merger with the Washington-based firm Wilmer, Cutler and Pickering. He is the first Asian American to lead a major American law firm.

Beyond his experience in managing a firm with some 1,000 lawyers and twelve offices around the world, he has risen to the front ranks of intellectual property practitioners nationwide and regularly appears on lists of America's best lawyers in his field. In 2009, the publication Managing IP named him the U.S. Intellectual Property Practitioner of the Year. His numerous trials in the federal courts have focused on such diverse matters as laser optics, video compression, cellular communications, remote storage data, secure Internet communications, pharmaceutical products, high-speed chromatography, medical devices, and genetically engineered food. He has served as a special assistant to the Massachusetts Attorney General to investigate alleged incidents of racial bias in the Commonwealth's courts. From 1987 to 1989, he was an associate counsel to Independent Counsel Lawrence E. Walsh in the Iran–Contra investigation.

Among his professional activities, Mr. Lee is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers. He has served on the Advisory Committee of the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit and on several Advisory Committees of the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts. The governor of Massachusetts appointed Mr. Lee to a special judicial nominating committee for the selection of judges for the Massachusetts Supreme Court. He has also served as a member of the Visiting Committee at Cornell Law School. He is a former member of the Board of Directors of the Broad Institute.

In 1976 Mr. Lee received an M.B.A. with Distinction from Cornell University, and a J.D., magna cum laude from Cornell Law School, where he was a member of the Order of the Coif. A 1972 magna cum laude graduate of Harvard University, he is the first Asian American appointed a Fellow of the Harvard Corporation, the seven-member governing board of the University. He is a former member of the Harvard Board of Overseers. He has served as the John A. Reilly Visiting Professor and the Eli Goldston Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School. In 2008, he was named one of the 50 most influential minority lawyers in the United States by the National Law Journal.

Mr. Lee, a weekend soccer player and an avid runner lives with his wife, Leslie in Wellesley, MA. They have three grown children.

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