Y.S. (Steve) Lee

Y.S. (Steve) Lee Visiting Professor of Law



Professor Lee is a lawyer, economist, and international relations scholar with internationally-recognized authority in law and development and international trade law. He is currently Director and Professorial Fellow of the Law and Development Institute and Visiting Professor of Law, University of Nebraska College of Law. He has also taught and conducted academic research at prominent universities throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia for twenty years. He graduated with a degree in economics and 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 the United States (California and North Carolina) and the United Kingdom.

Professor Lee has published over one hundred 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/institutional economics, comparative law, and international commercial arbitration. He has developed the “General Theory of Law and Development” and the “New General Theory of Development Economics,” which examines the causal mechanisms by which law impacts development and analyzes the constituent elements of economic development, respectively. He is currently an associate editor of the Journal of World Trade and the founding editor-in-chief of the Law and Development Review.

Professor Lee 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 through over seventy speech engagements at prominent forums such as Harvard University Kennedy School of Government, Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, and the World Bank.


Contracts Law 501
The basic principles governing the creation, interpretation and enforcement of private agreements.

Contract Drafting
Contract drafting skills and the abilities to conduct negotiations are essential for attorneys serving clients in various commercial transactions. The Transactional Skills Course is designed to meet this need by providing instructions on contract drafting and negotiation for transactions. By the end of the course students are expected to understand the requirements for contract drafting and the elements of successful negotiation. The course also provides students with opportunities to play the role of a counsel in simulated transactions by planning for a transaction (e.g. performing due diligence and deal design), conducting negotiations against the opposing counsel, and producing documents in preparation for the transaction.

Law and Economic Development
Law and development addresses the impact of law, legal frameworks, and institutions (LFIs) on social and economic development. LFIs have significant impacts on development, particularly economic development. Recognizing this importance, the post-2015 development initiatives by the United Nations (“Sustainable Development Goals” or “SDGs”) includes rule of law as a development agenda.

The course explores the theories and practices pertaining to law and development. In particular, the course explains how LFIs affect economic development in several key areas relevant to economic development, such as property rights, political governance, regulatory framework for business transactions, industrial promotion, banking and financing, labor, corruption, and international legal frameworks (international economic law and international development law).

The course examines law and development issues in developing countries as well as developed countries, such as the United States. Knowledge in economics or development study is helpful but NOT required to take this course.


Weaponizing International Trade in Political Disputes: Issues under International Economic Law and Systemic Risks,  56 JOURNAL OF WORLD TRADE 405 (2022)

An Analysis of Racial Economic Disparity and the Law in the United States,  1 JOURNAL OF PUBLIC CHOICE 19 (2022)

COVID-19: Legal and Institutional Issues,  23 MINN. J. L. SCI. & TECH 1 (2021)

The Last Call for Civil Rights: Toward Economic Equality,  37 GA. ST. U. L. REV. 1265 (2021)

Law, Institution, and State Industrial Promotion,  8 INDIAN J. INT’L ECON. L. 52 (2021)

Regulatory Autonomy under the WTO Agreement on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures: Implications of Korea – Import Bans, and Testing and Certification Requirements for Radionuclides,  20 WORLD TRADE REV. 321 (2021)

The Fallacy of Contract in Sexual Slavery  (co-authored with Natsu Taylor Saito and Jonathan Todres), 42 Mich. J. Int’l L. 219 (2021)

Restrictions on Property Rights: Benevolent Intent, Disruptive Outcome? – A Conundrum of ‘Chonse’ Reform in South Korea,  15 REV. INSTITUTION & ECON. 11 (2021)

International Trade Law Post Neoliberalism,  68 BUFF. L. REV. 413 (2020)

New General Theory of Economic Development,  14 REV. ECON DEV. 402 (2020)

Property Rights and Economic Development,  14 REV. INSTITUTION & ECON. 25 (2020)

Legal Frameworks for Business Transactions and Economic Development,  44 SIU. L. J. 273 (2020)

Political Governance, Law, and Economic Development,  12 L. & DEV. REV. 723 (2019)

The Steel and Aluminum Quota Agreements: A Question of Compatibility with WTO Disciplines and Their Impact on the World Trading System,  52 J. WORLD TRADE 811 (2019)

Are Retaliatory Trade Measures Justified under the WTO Agreement on Safeguards?,  22 J. INT’L ECON. L. 439 (2019)

State Industrial Promotion and Law,  13 REV. INSTITUTION & ECON. 11 (2019)

Three Wrongs Do Not Make a Right: The Conundrum of the U.S. Steel and Aluminum Tariffs,  18 WORLD TRADE REV. 481 (2019)

Current Development in Law and Development Studies (in Korean),  13 REV. INSTITUTION & ECON. 15 (2019)

General Theory of Law and Development: An Overview,  12 L. & DEV. REV. 351 (2019)

Law and Economic Development in the United States: Toward a New Paradigm,  68 CATH. U. L. REV. 229 (2019)

Law and Development: Lessons from South Korea,  11 L. & DEV. REV. 433 (2018)

Sung-Hee Jwa, A General Theory of Economic Development: Towards a Capitalist Manifesto – A Critical Review,  10 L. & DEV. REV. 643 (2017), revised and republished in REV. INST. & ECON. 121 (2018)

Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement: A Commentary on Developing/Developed Country, Divide and Social Considerations,  9 TRADE, L. & DEV. J. 21 (2017)

General Theory of Law and Development,  50 CORNELL INT’L L. J. 415 (2017)

Future of Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement: Just a Dead Trade Initiative or a Meaningful Model for the North-South Economic and Trade Integration?,  51 J. WORLD TRADE 1 (2017)

Should China be Granted Market Economy Status?: In View of Recent Development,  3 CHINA AND WTO REV. 319 (2017)

Trade and Development: Lessons from Korea,  25 KOREAN J. INT’L TRADE & BUS. L. 51 (2016)

The Long and Winding Road – Path Towards Facilitation of Development in the WTO: Reflections on the Doha Round and Beyond,  9 L. & DEV. REV. 437 (2016)

China’s Trade and Development Policy under the WTO: An Evaluation of Law and Economics Aspect  (co-authored with Xiaojie Lu), 2 CHINA AND WTO REV. 339 (2016)

The Eagle Meets the Dragon – Two Superpowers, Two Mega RTAs, and So Many In Between: Reflections on TPP and RCEP,  50 J. WORLD TRADE 479 (2016)

Regional Trade Agreements in the WTO System,  8 J. E. ASIA & INT’L L. 353 (2015)

Call for a New Analytical Model for Law and Development,  8 L. & DEV. REV. 1 (2015)

WTO Disciplines and Economic Development: Reform Proposal,  1 J. INT’L & COMP. L. 293 (2014)

Legal Issues in the Promotion of Microtrade: From the Perspective of International Economic Law  (co-authored with J.M. Lee), 6 L. & DEV. REV. 1 (2013)

Study on Law and Development: Its Significance in the Korean Context  (in Korean), 38 CHONBUK L. REV. 375 (2013)

Book Chapters

WTO (Procedural Rules), in ENCYCLOPEDIA OF LAW AND ECONOMICS 2166 (Giovanni Battista Ramello and Alain Marciano eds., 2019; 2d ed. 2021)

State Capitalism and the Law, in OXFORD HANDBOOK OF STATE CAPITALISM (Geoffrey Wood at al. eds., forthcoming 2021)

Pandemic and the Law: A Lesson from COVID-19 (co-authored with Hye S. Mun), in REPORT ON THE LEGAL EXPERIENCE AND GLOBAL BEST PRACTICES OF COVID-19 (World Bank, forthcoming 2021)

Public Administration IN LAW AND DEVELOPMENT ENCYCLOPEDIA 240 (Koen De Feyter, Stéphanie De Moerloose & Gamze Erdem Türkelli, 2021)

Safeguards IN ENCYCLOPEDIA OF INTERNATIONAL ECONOMIC LAW 263 (Krista Nadakavukaren Schefer and Thomas Cottier eds., 2017)

US-Korea Free Trade Agreement, in BILATERAL AND REGIONAL TRADE AGREEMENTS: CASE STUDIES 1 (Simon Lester, Bryan Mercurio, and Lorand Bartels eds., Cambridge University Press, 2016)

Tripartite Free Trade Agreement among China, Korea, and Japan: A Step Towards Economic Integration in Northeast Asia? (co-authored with Kwangkug Kim), in REGIONAL COOPERATION AND FREE TRADE AGREEMENTS IN ASIA 123 (Jiaxiang Hu and Matthias Vanhullebusch eds., Brill Publishers, 2014)


Safeguard Measures in World Trade: The Legal Analysis (4 editions: Kluwer Law International, 2003, 2d ed. 2005, reprint 2007; Edward Elgar, 3d ed. 2014, 4d ed. forthcoming 2024)
Sustainable Peace in Northeast Asia (Anthem Press, forthcoming 2023)
Law and Development: Theory and (2 editions: Routledge, 2019, reprint 2020, 2d ed. 2022)
On Ramseyer’s Response to the Critics of “Contracting for Sex in the Pacific War,”,” 15 LAW & DEVELOPMENT REVIEW 201-214 (2022)
Law and Justice in a Developing Country—An Intricate Question (foreword), in Law and Justice in Malaysia 2020 and Beyond(Salim Farrar and Paul Subramaniam eds., 2021)
Introduction: Law and Development in High-Income Countries (co-authored with Hans-Bernd Schäfer), 14 LAW & DEVELOPMENT REVIEW 323-325 (2021)
Trade and Politics in Recent Trade Measures by the United States and Japan: An Effect on South Korea, 6 KOREAN YEARBOOK OF INT’L L. 175 (2020)
COVID-19: Public Access to Information - Legal and Institutional Frameworks (co-authored with H.S. Mun), 13 L. DEV. REV. 535 (2020)
Law and Development in the United States: A Nexus with the Civil Rights,44 SIU. L. J. 433 (2020)
Mimicking President Trump? – Trade and Politics in Japan’s Recent Export Measure, 14 REV. INSTITUTION & ECON. 1 (2020)
Law and Development: Three Irreconcilable Interests – Call for a New Beginning, 13 L. & DEV. REV. 321 (2019)
Sustainable Development and the SDGs: A Note on Current Development, 13 KLRI J. L. & LEGIS. 193 (2019)
South Korean Economy at the Crossroads: Structure Issues under External Pressure–An Essay from a Law and Development Perspective12 L. & DEV. REV. 865 (2019)
A Comment on “Law and Development: Forty Years after ‘Scholars in Self-Estrangement’ ” by David Trubek,12 L. & DEV. REV. 627 (2019)
Law and Development: Approaches and Disciplinary Distinction, 13 REV. INSTITUTION & ECON. 5 (2019)
A Note on Economic Development of North Korea: Call for a Comprehensive Approach, 12 L. & DEV. REV. 247 (2019)
Reclaiming Development in the World Trading System (3 editions: Cambridge University Press, 2006, 2009, 2d ed. 2016, reprint 2018)
A Response to Prof William Habbard on “Yong-Shik Lee, ‘Call for a New Analytical Model for Law and Development’: A Comment,"10 L. & DEV. REV. 81 (2017)
Microtrade: A New System of International Trade with Volunteerism towards Poverty Elimination(Routledge, 2013, reprint 2015)
Law and Development Perspectives on International Trade Law(with Gary Horlick, Won-Mog Choi, and Tomer Broude, Cambridge University Press, 2011, reprint 2013)


The Korean Institution & Economics Academic Award: Grand Prize for Article  (2021)

University of Manchester Strategic Investment Research Fund  (2013-2014)

Shim Dhang Academic Award in International Trade and Business Transactions  (2010)

University of Sydney Faculty of Law Redesign Grant  (2009)

University of Hong Kong Faculty of Law Visiting Research Fellowship Grant  (2008)

St. John’s University School of Law Summer Research Grant  (2007)

University of Tokyo Institute of Social Science Research Grant  (2004)

Oakland University Faculty Research Fellowship Grant  (2002)