Thomas R. Lee

Rex J. and Maureen E. Rawlinson Professor of Law

Thomas R. Lee was appointed to the Utah Supreme Court by Governor Gary Herbert in July 2010. Before joining the Court, Justice Lee was the Rex & Maureen Rawlinson Professor of Law at the BYU Law School, where he continues to serve on a part-time basis as Distinguished Lecturer in Law. Justice Lee graduated with high honors from the University of Chicago Law School in 1991. After law school, he served as a law clerk for Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson, III, of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and then for Justice Clarence Thomas of the United States Supreme Court. Justice Lee then joined the law firm now known as Parr, Brown, Gee & Loveless, where he became a shareholder before joining the law faculty at BYU. During his years as a full-time law professor, Justice Lee maintained a part-time intellectual property litigation practice with Howard, Phillips, & Andersen. He also developed a part-time appellate practice, arguing numerous cases in federal courts throughout the country and in the United States Supreme Court. In 2004 - 05, Justice Lee served as Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Civil Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.


  • B.A., Brigham Young University
  • J.D., University of Chicago
  • The Corpus and the Critics, 88 U. Chi. L. Rev. 275 (2021).
  • Data-Driven Originalism, 167 U. Pa. L. Rev. 261 (2019).
  • Judging Ordinary Meaning, 127 Yale L. J. 788 (2018).
  • Corpus Linguistics & Original Public Meaning: A New Tool To Make Originalism More Empirical, 126 Yale L.J. F. 21 (16 May 2016).
  • An Empirical and Consumer Psychology Analysis of Trademark Distinctiveness, 41 Ariz. St. L.J. (2009) (with Eric D. DeRosia, & Glenn L. Christensen).
  • Sophistication, Bridging the Gap, and the Likelihood of Confusion: An Empirical and Theoretical Analysis, 98 Trademark Rep. (2008) (with Eric D. DeRosia, & Glenn L. Christensen).
  • Trademarks, Consumer Psychology, and the Sophisticated Consumer, 57 Emory L.J. 575 (2008).
  • Demystifying Dilution, Boston University 84 L. Rev. 859 (2004).
  • Eldred v. Ashcroft and the (Hypothetical) Copyright Term Extension Act of 2020, 12 Tex. Intell. Prop. L.J. (2003).
  • The Original Understanding of the Census Clause: Statistical Estimates and the Constitutional Requirement of an ‘Actual Enumeration’, 77 Wash. L. Rev. (2002).
  • To Promote the Progress Of Science: The Copyright Clause and Congress’ Power to Extend Copyrights, 16 Harv. J.L. & Tech 1 (2002) (with Orrin G. Hatch).
  • Preliminary Injunctions and the Status Quo, 58 Wash. & Lee L. Rev. 109 (2001).
  • The Anastasoff Case and the Judicial Power to “Unpublish” Opinions, 77 Notre Dame L. Rev. 135 (2001) (with Lance S. Lehnhof).
  • In Rem Jurisdiction in Cyberspace, 75 Wash. L. Rev 97 (2000).
  • Stare Decisis in Economic Perspective: An Economic Analysis of the Supreme Court’s Doctrine of Precedent, 78 N.C. L. Rev. 643 (2000).
  • Stare Decisis in Historical Perspective: From the Founding Era to the Rehnquist Court, 52 Vanderbilt L. Rev. 647 (1999).
  • Pleading and Proof: The Economics of Legal Burdens, 1977 BYU L. Rev. 1 (1997).
  • Comment: The Standing of Qui Tam Relators Under the False Claims Act, 57 U. Chicago L. Rev. 543 (1990).