Anthony Lapham, former general counsel to the Central Intelligence Agency, has been hired as a special consultant to the Justice Department's inquiry into possible criminal violations stemming from publication of articles on the theory of the hydrogen bomb.

Phillip B. Heymenn, head of the department's criminal division, said yesterday that Lapham was asked to join attorneys examining the case because of his expertise in national security issues. Lapham was the CIA's top lawyer for three years until he resigned in May.

The review was started last month when the department announced it was dropping efforts to stop Progressive magazine from publishing an article about the theory of the H-bomb because the essential secrets already, had beeen exposed in another publication.

Lapham said yesterday he expects to need about a month to review the files on the department's civil suit against the Progressive and the article containing similar information, which was published in the Madison, Wis., Press Connection.

Some department officials think it unlikely that the review will lead to any criminal charges. But the Department of Energy has been pushing for the criminal-investigation, in part because its experts believe government scientists exposed classified material by helping the two writers in the case.