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Former Legal Adviser, US Department of State; Sterling Professor of International Law, Yale Law School

Lloyd Cutler Distinguished Visitor - Class of Spring 2013

Harold Hongju Koh is a lawyer and legal scholar who was chief Legal Adviser to the Department of State. Koh departed as the State Department’s legal adviser in January 2013 and return to Yale as a law professor. In public service, Koh previously served in the United States Department of State during the Clinton administration as Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor. In academia, he served as a member of the faculty of Yale Law School, and later as its dean.


Koh is the author of several books, among them The National Security Constitution: Sharing Power after the Iran-Contra Affair (Yale,1990); Transnational Legal Problems (with Harry Steiner and Detlev Vagts; Foundation Press, 1994); Deliberative Democracy and Human Rights (with Ronald C. Slye, Yale, 1999); and Transnational Litigation in United States Courts (Foundation Press, 2008). A prominent advocate of human rights and civil rights, Koh has written over 175 law review articles and has argued and written briefs on a wide number of cases before US appellate courts and has testified before the Congress more than a dozen times.


Among his numerous awards, medals, and honorary degrees are the prestigious George W. Wickersham Award, presented by the Friends of the Law Library of the Library of Congress, which he received in 2010.

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