Professor Harold Koh

College appointment: Honorary Fellow


Professor Harold Hongju Koh is Sterling Professor of International Law and former Dean (2004-09) at Yale Law School, where he has taught since 1985. A Korean-American, he graduated from Harvard, Magdalen College, Oxford (First Class Honours PPE Marshall Scholar 1977), and Harvard Law School, and has received 17 honorary degrees and more than thirty awards for his work in human rights and international law.

Professor Koh has served under four US presidents, as Senior Advisor (2021-present) and Legal Adviser to the US Secretary of State (2009-2013) (Secretary of State’s Distinguished Service Award), Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (1998-2001), and Attorney-Adviser at the US Department of Justice (1983-1985). He also served in the judicial branch, as a law clerk for Justice Harry A. Blackmun of the US Supreme Court, and Judge Malcolm Richard Wilkey of the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit. An Honorary Bencher of Lincoln’s Inn and associated Member of the Blackstone Chambers, he is an Honorary Fellow of Magdalen College, where he was Waynflete Lecturer in 1997,. He has also served as George Eastman Visiting Professor and Oliver Smithies Lecturer at Balliol College, Oxford, Arthur Goodhart Visiting Professor of Legal Science and Fellow of Trinity and Christ’s Colleges, Cambridge, Visiting Fellow at All Souls College, and Clarendon Lecturer in Law at the Oxford Law Faculty.

Professor Koh has argued regularly before US and international courts, and testified frequently before the United States Congress. A Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society, he is a member of the Council of the American Law Institute, and received the Wolfgang Friedmann Award from Columbia Law School and the Louis B. Sohn Award from the American Bar Association for his lifetime achievements in international law. He is married to Attorney Mary-Christy Fisher and is the father of Emily and William.

Research Interests:

International Law, Human Rights, National Security and Foreign Relations Law, Civil Procedure