Our inbox was peppered Friday with emails from Swellesley readers pointing us to an article in The American Lawyer headlined: “In wake of election, Wilmer’s Bill Lee reveals troubling incident.”
Lee, an intellectual property lawyer who was co-managing partner of Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr, says that back in August at a gas station near his home in Wellesley a man wearing a shirt identifying himself as a local sports parent asked Lee, who was filling up his Mercedes-Benz SUV, “Where does a guy like you get a car like that?” Lee, whose parents moved to the U.S. from China in the 1940s, replied: “From Herb Chambers [the car dealer].” That didn’t diffuse the situation, though, and the man retorted: “Why don’t you go back to your own country.” Things went on a bit longer, the man then followed Lee briefly in his car, until the lawyer pulled into a nearby police station.
Why is the incident only surfacing now? Lee, who says he was encouraged by a colleague to go public with the story, told the publication that it’s an important time for lawyers to stand up for the law in the wake of the election and concerns about racial injustice.
“I’m concerned that if this can happen in Wellesley, it’s indicative of people having similar views, whether expressed or unexpressed,” is quoted as saying in The American Lawyer article. “It’s something we have to address as a country and as lawyers.”
The article is the latest in a string of racial-related stories involving Wellesley, from this past summer’s online incident involving students to additional events at Wellesley High to Wellesley Police Chief Terrence Cunningham’s statement on historical injustices. Wellesley College and Babson College students held a peace rally earlier this week after a couple of Babson students rolled through Wellesley College to rub election results in students’ faces.