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WVU Law Professor Rhee teaching

William Rhee

William Rhee

Professor of Law



  • J.D., Northwestern University School of Law, Order of the Coif, 1998
  • B.A., from Yale College in History with Distinction, 1994
  • B.A., from Yale College in Political Science with Distinction, 1994


  • Professor of the Year, 2019-20


Will Rhee is a Professor of Law at the West Virginia University College of Law, where he teaches Alternative Dispute Resolution, Civil Procedure: Jurisdiction, Civil Procedure: Rules, Evidence, Animal Law, Empirical Legal Methods, and Little Red Schoolhouse: The Scholarly Research and Writing Process (among others). Professor Rhee is a member of the West Virginia Law Institute and past Secretary of the West Virginia University Black Faculty Association. He also is the faculty advisor for a number of student organizations, including the Marlyn E. Lugar Trial Association and Trial Team, the Animal Law Society, the Asian-Pacific American Law Students Association, and the Veterans’ Law Caucus. In July 2013, Lawyers of Color magazine selected him as one of the “50 Most Influential Minority Law Professors 50 Years of Age or Younger.”

Professor Rhee’s scholarship focuses upon evidence-based policy in a deliberative democracy where both citizens and their government are expected to justify their laws with public reason. Through evidence and public reason, he hopes to increase public consensus between conflicting perspectives over divisive legal issues. Specifically, he seeks to build public consensus between conflicting perspectives in antidiscrimination law, civil procedure, and the relationship between the legal academy and legal practice. At the heart of such public consensus, he believes, lies a third way or third alternative—a higher and better way than just choosing among conflicting perspectives—informed by a practical, empirical evaluation of how real people are actually affected by individual laws.

Not surprisingly, Professor Rhee’s scholarship is informed by his practice experience as an educational civil rights attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice, a litigation associate for Debevoise & Plimpton, LLP, and a staff attorney for the National Juvenile Defender Center. Professor Rhee also has served as a U.S. Army infantry company commander and as a law clerk for Judge Sam J. Ervin, III on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

Before his clerkship, Professor Rhee received his J.D. from the Northwestern University School of Law as a member of the Order of the Coif, a recipient of the merit-based full-tuition John Henry Wigmore Scholarship, and a Senior Articles Editor of the Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology. He also received a B.A. in History with Distinction and a B.A. in Political Science with Distinction from Yale College.


  • The Trial Preparation Procedures—Civil, 73 Rutgers L. Rev. __ (2021) (with L. Richard Walker).
  • Unified in Dignified Appalachian Pride, 120 W. Va. L. Rev. (with Aaron Ferrari).
  • Using the Master’s Tool to Dismantle His House: Derrick Bell, Herbert Wechsler, and Critical Legal Process, 3 Concordia L. Rev. (2017).
  • When Fox and Dog Legislate the Hen House: National Egg-Laying Standards, Interest-Convergence, and the Clucking Theorem, 65MAINE L. REV. 277 (2013) (with Lucinda Valero).
  • Evidence-Based Federal Civil Rulemaking: A New Contemporaneous Coding Rule, 33 PACE L. REV. 60 (2012).
  • Hearing the Haters: Hip-Hop Law as Permanent Outsider in HIP HOP AND THE LAW: THE KEY WRITINGS THAT FORMED THE MOVEMENT (Donald
  • Law and Practice, 9 LEGAL COMM. & RHETORIC: JALWD 273 (2012) (peer-reviewed).
  • The Micro-Macro Legal Continuum and the Levels of Law, 8 SOCIO-LEGAL REV. 1 (2012) (peer-reviewed), selected for inclusion in 9LEGAL EDUC. EJOURNAL No. 45 (September 5, 2012).
  • Entitled to Be Heard: Improving Evidence-Based Policy Making through Audience and Public Reason, 85 IND. L.J. 1315 (2010).
  • Civil Procedure Law, in AMERICAN JURISPRUDENCE ch. 8 (Renmin University Press 2010) (chapter about American civil procedure law in a Chinese book).
  • Race at the Pivot Point: The Future of Race-Based Policies to Remedy De Jure Segregation After Parents Involved in Community Schools, 42HARV. C.R.-C.L. L. REV. 491 (2008) (with Jonathan Fischbach and Robert Cacace), reprinted in 24 CIVIL RIGHTS LITIGATION AND ATTORNEY FEES ANNUAL HANDBOOK (Steven Saltzman & Barbara Wolvovitz, eds. West 2008).
  • The Higher Price of Fiduciary Status: New Rule 206(4)-7 (Investment Adviser Compliance Programs) and Proposed Rule 204A-1 (Investment Adviser Codes of Ethics)  in PRACTISING LAW INSTITUTE, THE INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT INSTITUTE 2004: ASEMINAR FOR ‘40 ACT LAWYERS, CORPORATE LAW AND PRACTICE COURSE HANDBOOK SERIES, PLI ORDER NUMBER 2759 (April 2004) (with Kenneth J. Berman).
  • Introduction: Turning Words into Action, Juvenile Justice, and Conclusion: Addressing the Legal Needs of Children in AM. BAR ASS’N, SEC. OF LITIG., STEERING COMMITTEE ON THE UNMET LEGAL NEEDS OF CHILDREN, AMERICA’S CHILDREN STILL AT RISK (2001) (co-authored each chapter).
  • Learning from Tragedy: Representing Children in Discretionary Transfer Hearings, 33 WAKE FOREST L. REV. 595 (1998) (with Thomas F. Geraghty).
  • Comparing U.S. Operations Kingpin (1970) and Eagle Claw (1980),INT’L J. INTELLIGENCE & COUNTERINTELLIGENCE, Winter 1993.

Professional Background

  • Member, West Virginia Law Institute, 2010
  • Trial Attorney, United States Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, 2004 – 2008.
  • Associate, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, Washington, D.C. Office, 2001 – 2004.
  • Company Commander, Company A, 1-115th Infantry (Light), Maryland Army National Guard, 2002 – 2004.
  • Staff Attorney, National Juvenile Defender Center, Washington, D.C., 1999 – 2000.
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