Bill Lee is a leading trial and appellate lawyer and intellectual property litigator who has represented a variety of technology-focused clients for more than 40 years. Mr. Lee has tried more than 200 cases to verdict and argued more than 100 cases to the Court of Appeals of the Federal Circuit and other appellate courts. Those have included some of the highest profile cases of the last decade.

Mr. Lee has acted as lead trial counsel for Apple Inc. in the "smart phone war" litigations; in several cases between Apple, Intel and Qualcomm; and in a number of other federal court cases involving genetically engineered products, laser optics, video compression, cellular communications, remote data storage, secure Internet communications, pharmaceutical products, high-speed chromatography and medical devices. Mr. Lee also achieved a victory as lead trial counsel for Harvard in the case challenging its admissions policies as discriminatory.

Mr. Lee was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2017. He was named a 2016 Intellectual Property Trailblazer & Pioneer by The National Law Journal, the 2015 Boston Litigation - Intellectual Property Lawyer of the Year by Best Lawyers in America, the 2014 Distinguished Law Firm Leader by The American Lawyer, and was one of eight finalists selected by The American Lawyer as "Litigator of the Year" in 2012. He has been named "Litigator of the Week" on nine occasions by The American Lawyer.

From July 1987 through June 1989, Mr. Lee served as associate counsel to Independent Counsel Lawrence E. Walsh in the Iran-Contra investigation. In that capacity, Mr. Lee was responsible for certain portions of the grand jury investigation and resulting indictments. He has also served as a special assistant to the Massachusetts Attorney General for the purpose of investigating alleged incidents of racial bias in the Commonwealth's courts. 

Professional Activities

Mr. Lee is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers.

In July 2010, Mr. Lee was appointed a Fellow of the Harvard Corporation. In 2014, he was elected the Senior Fellow of the Harvard Corporation. He previously served as a member of the Harvard Board of Overseers.

Mr. Lee has served on the Harvard Law School faculty for 15 years, first as the John A. Reilly Visiting Professor and then as the Eli Goldston Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School.

Mr. Lee has served on the Advisory Committee of the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. He has also served on the Advisory Committee of the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts on its local rules; its Committee to Evaluate Administration of the Criminal Justice Act; and its Merit Selection Panel on Magistrate Judges. The Governor of Massachusetts appointed Mr. Lee to serve on a special Judicial Nominating Committee for the selection of judges for the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial 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.

Community Involvement

A resident of Wellesley, Mr. Lee has served as chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Tenacre Country Day School.

  • Bill Lee Honored with Harvard Medal for Extraordinary Service to the University

    The Harvard Alumni Association recognized Bill Lee with the 2022 Harvard Medal. The honor, first awarded in 1981, is given to alumni, former faculty and staff, and members of organizations connected with the University who have demonstrated extraordinary service to Harvard in areas including teaching, fundraising, leadership, innovation, administration and volunteerism.

    April 25, 2022
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  • Bill Lee Featured on Trial Tested Podcast

    Featured on the latest episode of The American College of Trial Lawyers’ Trial Tested, Partner Bill Lee discusses the intricacies of intellectual property and patent case litigation from his perspective of having tried more than 200 cases to verdict. Lee delves into personal encounters with discrimination and reflects on his career, among other topics.


    March 26, 2024
    Read More


  • Award Text

    Listed as a Leading Lawyer and Recognized Among the Nation's Best

    Chambers USA


  • Award Text

    Selected for the Lifetime Achievement Award

    The American Lawyer


  • Award Text

    Named the 2022 Mark T. Banner Award Honoree

    The American Bar Association


  • Named the 2022 Mark T. Banner Award Honoree by The American Bar Association Section of Intellectual Property Law.
  • Named a "Litigation Star" and "Top 100 Trial Lawyers" by Benchmark Litigation in 2021, 2022 and 2024.
  • Named to Boston Magazine’s inaugural Top Lawyers list in 2021 in the area of civil litigation/defense and in 2022 and 2023 in the area of intellectual property rights.
  • Named a 2019 Lifetime Achiever by The American Lawyer.
  • Recognized in 2019 as a Legal Pioneer and in 2022 as one of Boston’s Most Influential Asian-American Pacific Islanders by Get Konnected!
  • Elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences' 2017 Member Class.
  • Named to the inaugural The Legal 500 US Hall of Fame list in 2017, 2022, 2023 and 2024 and recognized by The Legal 500 as a leading trial lawyer in 2022. Also recognized in The Legal 500 United States as a "Leading Lawyer" for intellectual property: patent litigation in the 2009–2019 editions.
  • Highly recommended as a leading lawyer in the IP industry in the 2017 edition of Patents Expert Guide.
  • Recognized as a 2017 "Winning Litigator" and a 2016 Intellectual Property Trailblazers & Pioneers by The National Law Journal  (NLJ), as profiled among the NLJ's “Winning” lawyers in a 2015 special feature focusing on winning attorneys and their strategies.
  • Named an Icon of Intellectual Property in 2016 by Law360.
  • Recipient of Concurrences Review and the Competition Law Center's 2016 Academic Article Award for his article "Breaking the Vicious Cycle of Patent Damages".
  • Named a leading IP practitioner in the 2016–2018 World Intellectual Property Review guides.
  • Named to Law360's list of Intellectual Property's MVPs in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015.
  • Recognized by Law360 in 2015 as a Trial Ace for his talents and victories in intellectual property litigation.
  • Named a 2014 Distinguished Law Firm Leader by The American Lawyer for his exemplary management of the successful merger and formation of Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr.
  • Named to the Boston Business Journal's 2014 Power 50 list, honoring the region's 50 most influential business people; this is the fourth consecutive year Mr. Lee has been included on this list.
  • Named a 20132024 leading practitioner in patent law (International Trade Commission; Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit; Litigation) by IAM Patent 1000: The World's Leading Patent Practitioners.
  • Selected as one of The National Law Journal's 2013 "100 Most Influential Lawyers in America".
  • Named as the 2017–2019 Massachusetts Outstanding IP Litigator by Managing IP as part of its annual North America Awards, was recognized as a 20132024 IP Star, and was named to Managing IP's 2015 shortlist for Massachusetts IP Litigator of the Year, the 2013 Massachusetts Outstanding IP Litigator of the Year, the 2012 Outstanding IP Practitioners of the Year and the Top 10 Litigators in the life sciences patent industry, and the 2009 Outstanding US IP Practitioner of the Year.
  • Named the 2015 and 2012 Boston Litigation - Intellectual Property Lawyer of the Year, 2014 Boston Litigation - Patent Lawyer of the Year, 2013 Boston Patent Law Lawyer of the Year and 2010 Boston Appellate Practice Lawyer of the Year by the Best Lawyers in America. He has also been recognized in every edition since 1995/1996 for his work in appellate law, bet-the-company litigation, commercial litigation, copyright law, litigation - intellectual property, litigation - patent, patent law and trademark law. 
  • Named a "Life Sciences Star" in the 20122023 editions of LMG Life Sciences for intellectual property, and named to its 20232018 and 2016 shortlists for General Patent Litigator of the Year (New England) and Hatch-Waxman Litigator of the Year in 2022.
  • Included in BTI Client Service All-Stars 2016 for combining "exceptional legal expertise with practical advice, business savvy and innovative, effective solutions—all of which help make your clients' lives easier."
  • Recognized as a 2012 and 2019 "Lawyer of the Year" by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly.
  • Received a 2012 National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) Trailblazer Award, NAPABA's highest honor, which recognizes individuals who have demonstrated vision, courage and tenacity, and those who have made substantial and lasting contributions to the Asian Pacific American (APA) legal profession, as well as the broader APA community.
  • Named "Litigator of the Week" by The American Lawyer in April 2023 for a Federal Circuit victory vacating a half billion-dollar patent infringement for Apple; April 2021 for Intel in a multi-billion dollar patent victory decided in the Western District of Texas; in October 2019 for a victory defending Harvard University’s race-conscious admissions system; in March 2017 in a $2 billion patent infringement victory for Intel; in October 2016 in the 7-year-long historic patent battle between Apple and Samsung; in December 2015 for a Federal Circuit reversal of $74 million judgement in favor of Cisco; in June 2013 representing Pfizer in what was said to be the largest patent case settlement of its time—$2.15 billion; in August 2012 for representing Apple in its $1.05 billion trial victory against Samsung; and in September 2008 for back-to-back victories for Broadcom and Targus.
  • Named a "Litigator of the Year Finalist" by The American Lawyer 2012 and singled out as "Mr. IP."
  • Recipient of the 2011 Founders Award on behalf of the Asian American Lawyers Association of Massachusetts for his significant contributions in business, academics and the community in relation to the law.
  • Recognized as a "Most Admired Attorney” by Law360 for his success rate in the court room as an IP litigator.
  • Named one of "The 50 Most Influential Minority Lawyers in America," by The National Law Journal in 2008.
  • Named one of "The 100 Most Influential Lawyers in America" by The National Law Journal in June 2000 and again in June 2006.
  • Recognized in the Intellectual Property: Patent, International Trade: Intellectual Property (20062024) and Life Sciences: IP/Patent Litigation categories (20062018 and 2020–2024) and named among the leading Litigation: Trial Lawyers (2013–2024) by Chambers Global. Sources describe him as "just excellent," "a leader in the legal space" and "the guy you'd call up to win the big case for you."
  • Regularly recognized by Chambers USA Guide since 2003 in Massachusetts and USA: Nationwide for intellectual property, life sciences: IP/patent litigation, international trade: intellectual property (Section 337) and litigation: trial lawyers. Sources dub him as "easily one of the best patent trial lawyers in the United States," "pillar of the Bar for patent work," and "fantastic at every level from trial to appeal and just really great to work with." 
  • Highly recommended in the PLC Cross-border IP in Business Transactions Handbook 2008/09.
  • Listed in the 2006–2007 of the PLC IP & IT Cross-Border Handbook as both a "leading" lawyer for intellectual property in Boston and for patent litigation in the US.
  • Ranked as one of the nation's most highly recommended intellectual property attorneys in the 2006/07, 2007/08 and 2009/2010 editions of the PLC Cross-border Life Sciences Handbook.
  • Selected as a "patent law expert" in Legal Media Group's Guide to the World's Leading Patent Law Practitioners 2007 and a "litigation expert" in The Best of the Best 2011.
  • Recognized as one of Boston's top lawyers in the dispute resolution and intellectual property, and as national leader in patent litigation in the PLC Which Lawyer? Yearbook 2006. Also listed as one of four "star" lawyers of the firm in the 2005 edition.
  • Selected as one of The National Law Journal's 2005 "Top Ten Lawyers with Successful Trial Strategies".
  • Selected by clients and peers as a leading intellectual property lawyer in the 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 editions of The International Who's Who of Life Sciences Lawyers. He's also recognized in the patents, life sciences - patent litigation and litigation practice areas. 
  • Consistently recognized as a Massachusetts Super Lawyer.
  • Named to the Lawdragon 500 Leading Litigators in America list.

Insights & News


  • Education

    • JD, Cornell Law School, 1976

      magna cum laude Order of the Coif
    • MBA, Cornell University, 1976

      with Distinction
    • AB, Harvard University, 1972

      magna cum laude
  • Admissions

    • Massachusetts

    • US Supreme Court

  • Government Experience

    • Special Investigations: Independent Counsel to the Federal Government

      Associate Counsel to Independent Counsel Lawrence E. Walsh, Iran-Contra investigation
    • State and Local Government

      Special Assistant to the Massachusetts Attorney General



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