William F. Lee


Lee, William F.

Bill Lee is a leading intellectual property litigator who has represented a variety of technology-focused clients for more than 35 years. Mr. Lee has tried more than 100 cases to verdict and argued more than 75 cases to the Court of Appeals of the Federal Circuit and other appellate courts. Those cases have included some of the highest profile patent cases of the last decade. He also has been a member of the faculty at Harvard Law School for more than ten years.


Mr. Lee continues to concentrate his practice primarily on intellectual property and commercial litigation. His trial and appellate experience is extensive. Mr. Lee has tried more than 100 patent cases, both jury and jury waived, to judgment and argued more than 50 appeals before the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit and other Courts of Appeals. He was named the 2014 and 2015 "Lawyer of the Year" for litigation/patent 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.

Mr. Lee has acted as lead trial counsel for Apple Inc. in the "smart phone war" litigations and in several cases between Broadcom 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. 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.

Honors & Awards

  • 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, meant to honor the region's 50 most influential business people; this is the fourth consecutive year Mr. Lee has been included on this list 
  • Named a 2013 and 2014 leading practitioner in patent law 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 an "IP Star" and to Managing IP's 2015 shortlist for Massachusetts IP Litigator of the Year
  • Named as the 2013 Massachusetts Outstanding IP Litigator of the Year and an "IP Star" by Managing IP magazine and was also named "Outstanding US IP Practitioner of the Year" by the magazine in 2009
  • Named the 2013 and 2014 Boston "Patent Law Lawyer of the Year" by the Best Lawyers in America
  • Named a "Life Sciences Star" in the 2012, 2013 and 2014 editions of LMG Life Sciences for intellectual property
  • Recognized as a "2012 Lawyer of the Year" by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly
  • Named to Law360’s list of “Intellectual Property's MVPs” in 2011, 2012 and 2013
  • 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 Litigation Daily, an American Lawyer Media affiliate providing breaking news, for his lead role in representing Pfizer in its $2.15 billion settlement with generic drug makers. This is the third time Mr. Lee has been recognized by Litigation Daily as a Litigator of the Week. In 2012, Mr. Lee was recognized for his lead role in representing Apple in its $1.05 billion trial victory against Samsung. In 2008, he was recognized for back-to-back victories for clients Broadcom and Targus.
  • Included on Managing IP magazine's 2012 exclusive list of “Outstanding IP Practitioners of the Year,” and also named among the "Top 10 Litigators" in the life sciences patent industry
  • 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
  • Listed as a "Leading Lawyer" in the areas of intellectual property: patent litigation in the 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 editions of The Legal 500 United States
  • 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 for his exceptional intellectual property practice (2006-2015) and named a leading litigation: trial lawyer (2013-2015) by Chambers Global: The World's Leading LawyersSources 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."
  • Recognized as a Massachusetts leader in the area of intellectual property and a national leader in the area of life sciences: IP/patent litigation in the 2010-2015 editions of Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business. In 2013-2015, Mr. Lee was also recognized in the area of litigation: trial lawyers and international trade: intellectual property (section 337).
  • Listed in each edition of Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business since 2003 and was the only Massachusetts lawyer awarded the "star" ranking in life sciences: IP/patent litigation and intellectual property (a stand-alone award above the number one ranking) in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015
  • 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 peers for inclusion in every issue of the Best Lawyers in America since 1995/1996 and was named the 2011, 2012 and 2015 "Boston Intellectual Property Litigation Lawyer of the Year"
  • Selected by clients and peers as a leading intellectual property lawyer in the 2013, 2014 and 2015 editions of The International Who's Who of Life Sciences Lawyers. Mr. Lee was also selected for inclusion in the 2014 edition of Who's Who Legal: Litigation

Publications & News


July 6, 2015

Managing IP Recognizes WilmerHale, Attorneys in 2015 IP Stars Handbook

Managing Intellectual Property has released the third annual edition of its IP Stars Handbook—a guide that identifies the leading IP firms and lawyers in the United States—prominently ranking WilmerHale and 18 of its partners.

July 1, 2015

WilmerHale Named a Leading National Firm in the United States by The Legal 500

The Legal 500 United States has released its annual rankings, selecting WilmerHale as one of the preeminent law firms in the country.

May 19, 2015

WilmerHale Practices, Lawyers Ranked Among Nation’s Best by Chambers USA

Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business announced its final rankings for the 2015 edition, with WilmerHale ranking among the nation's best in 46 practice area categories. Chambers also ranked 86 WilmerHale attorneys as leaders in their respective fields.

March 20, 2015

Managing IP Recognizes WilmerHale at Annual North America Awards Dinner

The firm received the Supreme Court Milestone Case of the Year award, and was shortlisted as one of the Patent Contentious Firms of the Year, the Copyright Northeast Firms of the Year and the Pharma IP Litigation Firms of the Year.

March 12, 2015

WilmerHale Lawyers, Practices Recognized in 2015 Edition of Chambers Global

Thirty-two WilmerHale lawyers are named among "The World's Leading Lawyers for Business" in the 2015 edition of Chambers Global. In addition to these individual accolades, the firm is recognized in 17 practice areas that span six different regions.

March 8, 2015

Leading Boston Law Firms Join Forces to Challenge Public Charter School Cap, Ensure Students' Rights

In an unprecedented joint legal effort, three leading Boston law firms—WilmerHale, Goodwin Procter, and Foley Hoag—announced this morning that they plan to file a pro bono lawsuit on behalf of Boston school students to lift the state's cap on public charter schools and ensure every student's constitutional right to an adequate education.

December 2, 2014

Bill Lee is Named Among Law360's IP MVPs of the Year for the Fourth Consecutive Year

Law360 has again named Partner Bill Lee as an IP MVP of the Year, highlighting his "superstar" status as the only attorney to earn the title in the IP category for four straight years. The annual MVP contest recognizes the most elite attorneys in a wide range of practice areas who have had the most impressive successes in high-stakes litigation, record-breaking deals and complex global matters.

November 20, 2014

Prominent Lawyers Publish Essay Defining and Shaping Ethical Responsibilities of Lawyers

Harvard Law School's Center on the Legal Profession and Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP are pleased to announce the publication of an essay calling for lawyers, as professionals and as citizens, to balance concerns about the current economic transformation of lawyering with a strong commitment to four ethical responsibilities: to clients/stakeholders, the legal system, their own institution and society. The essay is co-authored by three internationally renowned lawyers representing corporate, law firm and academic environments.

August 28, 2014

LMG Life Sciences Honors Firm, Attorneys with Top Rankings for Third Consecutive Year

The 2014 edition of LMG Life Sciences has been released, and it includes the recognition of nine WilmerHale practice areas and 17 attorneys.

August 27, 2014

Former Co-Managing Partners Lee, Perlstein Honored by The American Lawyer as Distinguished Law Firm Leaders

WilmerHale announced today that former Co-Managing Partners William F. Lee and William J. Perlstein received the 2014 Distinguished Law Firm Leaders Award from The American Lawyer for their exemplary management of the successful merger and formation of Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr.

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. He is a former member of the Harvard Board of Overseers.

Mr. Lee has served as the John A. Reilly Visiting Professor and 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 the 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.


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JD, magna cum laude, Cornell University Law School, 1976, Order of the Coif

MBA, with Distinction, Cornell University, 1976

AB, magna cum laude, Harvard University, 1972

Bar Admissions


United States Supreme Court