This biography is no longer current; at present, no other official Department of State biographical information is available.
Harold Hongju Koh is the Legal Adviser of the Department of State, the 22d to serve in that position. He is one of the country's leading experts on public and private international law, national security law, and human rights. He is on leave from Yale Law School, where he is the Martin R. Flug ’55 Professor of International Law at Yale Law School. From 2004 to 2009, Koh served as the 15th Dean of Yale Law School. From 1993 to 2009, he was also the Gerard C. & Bernice Latrobe Smith Professor of International Law at Yale Law School. From 1998 to 2001, Koh served as Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor.
He previously served on the Secretary of State's Advisory Committee on Public International Law. A Marshall Scholar, Koh graduated from Harvard, Oxford, and Harvard Law School, and has received eleven honorary degrees and more than thirty awards for his human rights work, including awards from Columbia Law School and the American Bar Association for his lifetime achievements in International law. Following clerkships with Judge Malcolm Richard Wilkey of the D.C. Circuit and Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun, he served as Attorney-Adviser at the Office of Legal Counsel, Department of Justice and practiced law at Covington & Burling. As a Yale law professor since 1985, Koh has taught courses, authored or co-authored eight books, published more than 170 articles, testified before Congress, and litigated numerous cases involving international law issues.
A Fellow of the American Philosophical Society and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a member of the Council of the American Law Institute, he has served on the Board of Editors of the American Journal of International Law and as a Counselor of the American Society of International Law. He has sat on the boards of Harvard University, the Brookings Institution, Human Rights First, the American Arbitration Association, and the National Democratic Institute. He has been named one of America's "45 Leading Public Sector Lawyers Under The Age of 45" by American Lawyer magazine and one of the "100 Most Influential Asian-Americans of the 1990s" by A Magazine.