Thomas R. Lee
Lecturer on Law
Thomas R. Lee is a principal in Corpus Juris Advisors (a consulting firm) and in Lee Nielsen (a law firm). He is a former Justice of the Utah Supreme Court, a former law clerk to Justice Clarence Thomas and to Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson III, and a graduate of the University of Chicago Law School.
Lee has been an innovator at the intersection of law and linguistics. His judicial opinions and scholarship advocate the use of theories and tools used by linguists in interpreting the language of the law. Through theories and tools of “corpus linguistics,” Lee has sought to bring rigor and precision to the law’s search for the “ordinary meaning” of the words of statutes and regulations. See Judging Ordinary Meaning, 127 YALE L. J. 788 (2018); The Corpus and the Critics, 88 U. CHI. L. REV. 275 (2021) (both co-authored with Stephen Mouritsen).
Lee has also written in defense of originalism. His work also proposes to use the theories and tools of corpus linguistics to bring more rigor to originalist practice. See Data-Driven Originalism, 167 PENN. L. REV. 261 (2019) (co-authored with James Phillips).
In making the move to private practice, Lee is seeking to cement the practical applications of his academic and judicial work. His consulting firm provides expert guidance on the use of corpus linguistic tools in a broad range of cases—both public law (statutes and constitutional provisions) and private law (contracts, trademarks, and patents). His law firm is an appellate boutique with a sub-specialty in interpretation.