Ross graduated from Modesto High School in 1980. After working on his family's dairy and almond farm for several years, he went on to earn a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in Finance. Ross graduated Summa Cum Laude from California State University, Stanislaus in 1989. He received his Juris Doctorate, with Great Distinction, Order of the Coif from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law in 1992. He was admitted to the California Bar in 1992. In 2005, Ross completed Pepperdine University School of Law's "Mediating the Litigated Case," a 42-hour Mediation Training. In 2017, Ross and his wife, Gina, completed Introduction to Theology for Ministry with the Catholic Diocese of Stockton.
Ross began practicing law in 1992 with what was formerly known as the Cardozo, Curtis & Arata law firm. In 1999, Ross became a shareholder with Curtis & Arata, and thereafter served as its Chief Financial Officer until his departure in 2006.
Ross was an Adjunct Professor of Business Law II at California State University, Stanislaus from 1993-2002. Many local accountants are his former students.
Ross is a member of the Business Law Section of the State Bar of California. He is a former member of the State Bar Agribusiness Committee, which he co-chaired in 2002-2003.
Joined by longtime paralegal Maureen Harrity, Ross opened Ross W. Lee, Inc., A Professional Law Corporation in December 2006. His practice was originally located at the Salter Building on 14th Street. In 2015, Ross and his close friend Joe Swain purchased the office building at 611 Thirteenth Street, where his law practice now resides.
Ross is a committed Catholic Christian. He serves as a lector, Eucharistic minister, and Confirmation teacher at St. Stanislaus Parish. He served on Pastoral Council for six years, and served as its Chair for the last five years. Ross was also part of the founding group of Pinnacle Forum in Modesto. Pinnacle Forum is a national ecumenical movement for connecting and equipping Christians of various denominations. The Wednesday noon Pinnacle Forum meets at the 611 Thirteenth Street office.
Ross has been an active member of Modesto Rotary since 1999. He has served two terms on the Rotary Board of Directors and has served on the Modesto Rotary Foundation Board of Trustees. Ross proudly served as the President of Modesto Rotary in 2014-2015.
Ross served on the Board of Directors for Community Hospice, Inc., from 2007-2015. He served as Board Chair in 2012-2013. He continues to serve Community Hospice on its Advisory Council.
In 2017, Ross was appointed to the Stewardship Council of County of Stanislaus Focus on Prevention initiative. He represents the Faith Sector on the Council, and along with other community leaders seeks to improve the quality of life of all Stanislaus residents and families through coordinated prevention efforts that work across multiple sectors to promote health and well-being.
In 2018, Ross was appointed as a Director of the Westport Volunteer Fire Department.
In 2022, Ross was appointed to the Catholic Diocese of Stockton, Diocesan Finance Council.
Past community or nonprofit involvement includes:
- Modesto Chamber of Commerce
- Harvest Luncheon Committee
- Ag Aware Luncheon Committee
- McHenry Mansion Foundation - Board and Chair
- Youth for Christ Central Valley - Board and Chair
- Stanislaus County Legal Professionals Association - Honorary Member
Ross has been married to his wife, Gina, since 1988. They have two adult daughters, Jenna Rose and Caroline. The Lees live on a nine-acre ranch on Vivian Road, west of Modesto, where they raise Registered Holstein dairy cattle and farm almonds. The Lee Family came to Modesto in 1915 and have continuously resided on Vivian Road for over 100 years. Ross and Gina enjoy farm life, travel, sports, family events, reading, and growing in their faith.