Lesar Lecture | School of Law | SIU

Southern Illinois University



Lesar Lecture

2020 Hiram H. Lesar Distinguished Lecture

Steve Lee

Yong-Shik (Steve) Lee



Several decades have passed since the civil rights movement began. The movement achieved historic success owing to the efforts of so many who dedicated their lives to the call of justice and equality. This remarkable success has led to a more fair society that accords the legal protection of equal rights among different races, genders, and ethnic groups. Despite this important achievement, we still have a long way to fulfilling the full promise of the civil rights movement, which at its core lies the protection and promotion of equity and dignity of all people. For example, growing economic disparities that exist along racial lines and across the country pull us away from the ideals of the civil rights movement. Structural economic problems in the United States, such as chronic employment issues persisting in many regions and deepening economic polarization across the country, have exacerbated inequalities and social problems that divide the country. A fundamental change of paradigm is required to meet this challenge. These economic problems can no longer be overcome solely by individual efforts and self-reliance. The governments, including the federal, state, and local, must address them by facilitating economic development in our communities, in cooperation with the private sector, as has been successfully implemented elsewhere. Successful economic development that vitalizes economically depressed regions and bridges the economic gaps among us must be achieved before we can meet the objectives of the civil rights movement.

Thursday, April 2 at 5:00 p.m.

Lesar Law Building, Auditorium

Reception immediately following lecture in the Formal Lounge

See the invitation here

Watch Lesar Lecture here

Professor Lee is a scholar in law and development and an international trade lawyer. He is currently Director and Professorial Fellow of the Law and Development Institute and Hiram H. Lesar Distinguished Visiting Professor in Law, Southern Illinois University School of Law. He has also taught and conducted academic research at other leading universities throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia, including New York University, Emory University, Tulane University, the University of Sydney, and the University of Manchester. He graduated in economics with academic distinction from the University of California at Berkeley and received law degrees from the University of Cambridge (B.A., M.A., Ph.D). He is licensed to practice law in multiple jurisdictions, including United States (Attorney at Law: California, North Carolina) and United Kingdom (Solicitor of the Supreme Court of England and Wales).

Author of Reclaiming Development in the World Trading System (Cambridge University Press, 2nd ed. 2016), Safeguard Measures in World Trade: The Legal Analysis (Edward Elgar, 3rd ed. 2014), Microtrade: A New System of International Trade with Volunteerism Towards Poverty Elimination (co-authored, Routledge, 2013), and Law and Development: Theory and Practice (Routledge, 2019), Professor Lee has published over ninety academic articles, books, chapters, and shorter notes with leading publishers in North America, Europe, and Asia, in the areas of international economic law, law and development, development economics, comparative law, and international commercial arbitration. He has pioneered academic research on safeguard measures (emergency import restraint measures) under the World Trade Organization (WTO) system and developed the concept of “microtrade,” a new system of international trade designed to alleviate populations of the least-developed countries of extreme poverty. He has also developed the “general theory of law and development” which sets the disciplinary parameters of law and development and analyzes the causal mechanisms by which law impacts development. He is currently an associate editor of the Journal of World Trade and the founding editor-in-chief of the Law and Development Review. He has developed academic courses and programs, including the law and development specialization for Master of Laws (LLM) and Juris Master (JM) Programs and the Certificate / Diploma in Law and Development Program.

Professor Lee has participated in a number of bilateral and multilateral negotiations on international trade and investment at international forums such as the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law. He has appeared before WTO dispute settlement panels and the WTO Appellate Body as a government counsel, and advised national governments, international law firms, and consulting companies on international trade and development projects and major international commercial arbitration cases. He has frequently spoken on issues of international economic law, law and development, and the WTO at prominent forums including Harvard University Kennedy School of Government, the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, and the World Bank.

Previous Lesar Lectures