Bill Lee will become the Harvard Corporation's senior fellow next summer, succeeding Robert D. Reischauer, the University announced today. Lee, a member of the Corporation since 2010 and a distinguished intellectual property expert, was elected by his Corporation colleagues to become senior fellow as of July 1, 2014.
"Bill Lee's wisdom and humanity, his blend of imagination and pragmatism, and his savvy about organizations and about people make him an exceptionally effective and admirable leader," said Harvard University President Drew Faust. "His interests, concerns, and relationships range across the University, and he knows that innovation is one of Harvard's proudest traditions. All of us on the Corporation consider ourselves fortunate to have, in Bill Lee, so worthy a successor to Bob Reischauer."
"I am deeply honored and humbled to have been chosen to serve as senior fellow," said Lee. "Harvard is the most extraordinary academic institution in the world, and I look forward to working with our president, my fellow Corporation members, and the broader Harvard community to ensure that it remains so. Bob Reischauer has been a wonderful leader, pioneering fundamental changes in our governance. I can only hope that we will build upon all he has accomplished."
Lee is a leading intellectual property (IP) litigator who has represented a wide range of technology-focused clients over more than 35 years. His scores of trials and appeals have focused on such diverse matters as smartphones, laser optics, secure Internet communications, pharmaceutical products, medical devices, and genetically engineered food.
Among his many honors, Lee has been named one of the country's 100 most influential lawyers (National Law Journal, 2000, 2006, 2013), outstanding US IP practitioner of the year (Managing IP, 2009, 2013), and one of the nation's litigators of the year (American Lawyer, 2012).
A member of Harvard's Board of Overseers from 2002 to 2008, Lee was chair of the board's committee on finance, administration, and management; vice chair of its executive committee; and one of the Overseer members of the presidential search committee in 2006-07. He joined the Corporation in 2010 and serves as chair of the Joint Committee on Inspection; he is also a member of the Corporation committees on governance, facilities and capital planning, and shareholder responsibility. He has taught intellectual property litigation at Harvard Law School (HLS), as well as the January problem-solving workshop that HLS introduced in 2010.
After graduating from Harvard College in 1972, Lee received his JD and MBA degrees from Cornell in 1976. He joined the Boston law firm Hale and Dorr and went on to become chair of the litigation department and then managing partner of the firm. He steered the firm's 2004 merger with Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering, then served for seven years as the new firm's co-managing partner.
A fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, Lee maintains an active trial practice nationwide. He has served on numerous advisory committees to federal and state courts, was associate counsel in the Iran-Contra investigation from 1987 to 1989, and in 1988 served as special assistant to the Massachusetts attorney general for purposes of investigating alleged racial bias in the courts.
The Harvard Corporation, formally known as the President and Fellows of Harvard College, is Harvard's principal fiduciary governing board and the smaller of Harvard's two boards, the other being the Board of Overseers.