Cynthia Lee

Professor Cynthia Lee
Edward F. Howrey Professor of Law
2000 H Street, NW
Washington, District Of Columbia 20052
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Professor Cynthia Lee is the Edward F. Howrey Professor of Law at the George Washington University Law School where she teaches Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, Adjudicatory Criminal Procedure, and Professional Responsibility. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Stanford University and a JD from UC Berkeley Law School. Upon graduating from law school, she clerked for Judge Harold M. Fong, then Chief Judge for the U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii. She then served as an associate with Cooper, White & Cooper in San Francisco, California, where she was a member of the firm's criminal defense practice group. Professor Lee started teaching at the University of San Diego School of Law in 1993, where she received the Thorsness Prize for Excellence in Teaching. She joined the GW Law faculty in August 2001.

Professor Lee has published in the California Law Review, the University of Illinois Law Review, the UCLA Law Review, the North Carolina Law Review, and the Minnesota Law Review, among other journals. She is the author or editor of four books, including Criminal Law: Cases and Materials (West 2019) (with Angela Harris); Criminal Procedure: Cases and Materials (West 2018) (with L. Song Richardson & Tamara Lawson); Searches and Seizures: The Fourth Amendment, Its Constitutional History and the Contemporary Debate (Prometheus Books 2011); and Murder and the Reasonable Man: Passion and Fear in the Criminal Courtroom (NYU Press 2003). Professor Lee served as chair of the AALS Criminal Justice Section in 2008. Key provisions from a model statute on police use of deadly force she proposed in an article published in 2018 in the Illinois Law Review were incorporated into police reform legislation enacted by Connecticut, Virginia, and the District of Columbia in 2020.


BA, Stanford University; JD, University of California, Berkeley

In the News

"The “Angry Black Woman” Stereotype at Work"

January 31, 2022

Cynthia Lee’s research in overcoming implicit bias was cited by Harvard Business News about negative stereotypes in the workplace.

"When It Comes to Guns and Claims of Self-defense, Juries Need Guidance"

December 06, 2021

Cynthia Lee wrote for the Boston Globe about jury instruction in cases involving self-defense.

"‘Long Way To Go’ After Conviction of Ahmaud Arbery’s Murderers, Say Legal Experts"

November 29, 2021

Cynthia Lee spoke to WDET-FM about the convictions in the Ahmaud Arbery trial.

"Ahmaud’s Killers Are Guilty, But Trayvon’s Shooter Went Free. Here’s Why"

November 26, 2021

Cynthia Lee writes for Politico about the prosecution highlighting racial bias during the Ahmaud Arbery trial.

"Rittenhouse Case Puts Spotlight on the Election of Judges"

November 22, 2021

Cynthia Lee was cited in the Bulwark on the judge’s decision to strike the weapons and curfew charges against Kyle Rittenhouse.