Joshua D. Lee

Partner ( Chicago | Los Angeles / Irvine | New York | San Francisco ) General Litigation Team (Co-Lead)

Direct 312.471.8788 LinkedIn


 When clients face bet-the-company issues, they turn to Josh Lee because his “extraordinary intellect, enormous amount of credibility and likeability, and ingenuity under pressure” lead to solutions that align legal strategy with business goals. They describe him as “a warrior who is willing to engage his opponents on whatever battlefields he is required to take.”

High-Stakes Cases

Josh partners with his clients to manage risk, protect their interests, and create opportunities for growth. For his entire career, Josh has served in the trenches for his clients: setting strategy; litigating and resolving thousands of disputes across the country and internationally; managing regulatory affairs; and negotiating deals. His experience ranges from class actions to mass torts involving product liability, environmental contamination, and consumer fraud to intellectual property to collective bargaining agreements to constitutional law and First Amendment issues. His cases have involved pharmaceuticals, chemical exposure, genetic engineering, traumatic brain injury, crop science, misappropriation of trade secrets, civil conspiracy, consumer products, catastrophic fires and explosions, and agricultural equipment.

Because of Josh’s depth of experience and his exceptional success rate, client’s often call upon him to join trial teams just before or even during trial to reshape and set the pace of the litigation. Josh is regularly asked to analyze and brief complex legal issues even in matters where he is not the primary trial attorney.

Exit Strategies

Josh always takes the long view of litigation and always provides several options for resolution. Josh’s early involvement in cases often saves his clients from protracted litigation. He regularly negotiates complex legal issues to efficient resolutions. He has a reputation for being “tough, yet practical” in reaching his clients’ goals.

Trusted Advisor

Josh’s best results come in close collaboration with his clients. Whether in the courtroom or boardroom, clients turn to Josh because his “leadership skills, broad knowledge base, and practical solutions” are assets to their “outside general counsel” team. Josh has advised C-suite executives from start-ups to some of the largest corporations in the world in all aspects of their businesses. Josh serves as national and regional counsel responsible for development, budgeting, coordination, and implementation of comprehensive legal strategies. Josh also leads internal investigations and represents clients in regulatory matters.

Josh is the Co-Lead of the firm’s General Litigation Practice Team.



Hon. Marilyn Kelly, Michigan Supreme Court (2002-2003)

Representative Engagements

  • Josh effectively managed a criminal investigation by European regulators. Despite missteps before he was retained, Josh’s clients avoided both criminal prosecution and civil penalties.
  • Josh’s last-minute trial retention threatened to up-end an entire mass-tort scheme. As a result of Josh’s work, his client negotiated a favorable long-term resolution.
  • Josh’s trial work dismantled long-running civil conspiracy litigation against his client. An appellate court upheld the result.
  • After taking over from prior counsel, Josh put an end to litigation that had held his client hostage for nearly a decade. An appellate court upheld the victory Josh obtained for his client.
  • Josh defeated a motion to consolidate litigation, eliminating his client’s involvement in a mass-tort scheme.
  • In California, Josh defeated a plaintiff’s novel theory of liability. Josh’s victories there, and in Illinois, Michigan, Alabama, Wisconsin, and elsewhere, have extinguished plaintiffs’ attempts to expand his clients’ liability.
  • Josh’s civil rights work led to significant changes in the treatment of civilly-committed individuals.



University of Michigan Law School, J.D., 2002
Valparaiso University, B.A., B.S., 1998, Christ College Scholar in Humanities

Bar Admissions

New York
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado
U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois (Trial Bar)
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan
U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin
U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin

Professional Memberships

American Bar Association
Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section
Ethics and Professionalism Special Standing Committee, Past Chair
Continuing Legal Education Board, Chair
Toxic Torts and Environmental Law Committee, Past Chair
Asbestos Litigation Task Force

International Association of Defense Counsel
Defense Research Institute (DRI)

Honors & Awards

The Best Lawyers in America, Best Lawyers® (Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions-Defendants, 2023)
Illinois Leading Lawyer, Law Bulletin Media Leading Lawyers (2014-2023)
Chicago’s Notable Gen X Leaders in Law, Crain’s Chicago Business (2019)
Chicago’s Notable Minority Lawyers, Crain’s Chicago Business (2018)
Illinois Super Lawyers, Thomson Reuters (2016-2023)
Illinois Rising Stars, Thomson Reuters' Illinois Super Lawyers (2008-2015)
Illinois Emerging Lawyer, Law Bulletin Media Leading Lawyers (2015-2016)
Top Rated Litigators, Martindale-Hubbell and ALM (2021)
Edmund S. Muskie Pro Bono Service Award, American Bar Association, Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section (2015) 
Law in Public Service Honor Roll, American Bar Association, Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section (2014)
Outstanding Young Alumnus, Valparaiso University (2014) 
Peer Reviewed AV® Preeminent™ Martindale‐Hubbell (Since 2014) 
40 Illinois Attorneys Under Forty, Law Bulletin Media (2013)
Excellence in Pro Bono and Public Interest Service, Judges of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois and the Chicago Chapter of the Federal Bar Association 

Publications & Presentations

“Medical & Scientific Literature Update on Asbestos & Mesothelioma,” (co-panelist) Perrin Conferences National Asbestos Litigation Conference, Charleston, SC (September 13, 2023)
“Class Action, MDL or Bankruptcy: What is the Best Option for Global Resolution?,” (panelist) Perrin Conferences Mass Tort Litigation Conference (June 24, 2021)
“Elevating Black Excellence Regional Summit,” (panelist) Black In-House Counsel (BIHC) (June 17, 2021)
“The Use of Genetic Testing in the Courtroom,” (panelist) International Association of Defense Counsel 2020 Virtual Annual Meeting (July 8, 2020)
“What Constitutes the Effectiveness of Settlements?,” (panelist) Perrin Conferences Mass Tort Global Settlement Architecture Conference, Washington, DC (May 2, 2019)
“Judicial Spotlight: What Is Effective Advocacy?,” (moderator) ABA-TIPS Section Conference (2017)
“The Role of DNA in Asbestos Litigation,” (panelist) Perrin Conferences Cutting-Edge Issues in Asbestos Litigation Conference, Beverly Hills, CA (March 6-7, 2017) 
“Epigenetics in the Courtroom,” (panelist) IADC Mid-Year Meeting (2016)
“Recent Developments in Appellate Advocacy” (co-author) Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Law Journal (Winter 2015)
“Epigenetics and Causation in Toxic Tort and Environmental Law,” (moderator) Toxic Tort and Environmental Law Committee of the Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section of the American Bar Association’s 24th Annual Spring CLE Meeting (April 2015)
“A Cautionary Note for Lawyers in Asbestos Litigation,” (co-author) Law360 (March 7, 2014)
“Recent Developments in Appellate Law,” (co-author) Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Law Journal (Fall 2013)
“Recent Developments in Toxic Torts and Environmental Law,” (co-author) Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Law Journal (Fall 2013)
“Jury Selection and Jury Persuasion in Federal Trials: It Isn’t as Limited as You Might Think,” (panelist) HarrisMartin Federal and State Asbestos Litigation Conference, Naples, FL (Feb. 21, 2012)