Skip to main content

Thomas H. Lee

Fordham Law Professor Thomas Lee

Leitner Family Professor of International Law

Telephone: 212-636-6728
SSRN (academic papers)

Faculty Assistant: Emma Mercer

Research and Teaching Interests

International Law; Laws of War; U.S. Foreign Relations Law; Federal Courts; Legal History; Cyberlaw; National Security Law; International Commercial and Investor-State Arbitration; Civil Procedure; Constitutional Law; Law and Political Theory


Thomas H. Lee joined the faculty in July 2002, was Director of Graduate and International Studies from 2006 to 2019, and has been the Leitner Family Professor of International Law since 2009. From May 2019 to August 2020, he took leave from Fordham to serve as Special Counsel to the General Counsel of the U.S. Department of Defense; he was awarded the Secretary of Defense Medal for Exceptional Public Service for his service. He has also been a Visiting Professor at Columbia Law School, Harvard Law School, and the University of Virginia School of Law; an Adjunct Professor at New York University School of Law; and Adviser to the Constitutional Court of Korea (2006-11). He has published many articles and book chapters on international law, the laws of war, international arbitration, U.S. constitutional law and legal history, and the U.S. federal courts. His forthcoming book, Justifying War (Oxford University Press, 2022), examines the modern history of legal grounds for war and their connection to moral justifications, global politics, and policy decision making.  

Professor Lee holds A.B. (summa cum laude), A.M. (Regional Studies—East Asia), and J.D. degrees from Harvard, where he was Articles Chair of the Harvard Law Review and a Ph.D. candidate (ABD) in Government. Before his academic career, 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, and worked at Munger, Tolles & Olson and Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz. From 1991 to 1995, he served as a U.S. naval cryptology officer aboard warships and submarines in the Western Pacific and Indian Oceans, and ashore in Korea and Japan and with the National Security Agency. He is Of Counsel at Hughes, Hubbard & Reed, and a Member of the Panel of Conciliators of the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) and of the American Law Institute (ALI).

Professor Lee also maintains an active Supreme Court practice in matters of public interest implicating constitutional rights, data privacy, federal courts and jurisdiction, and U.S. foreign relations and national security.  He filed the following briefs in the 2017 October Term:

Selected Publications


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