Bruce Rashkow

Lecturer in Law

Office:
Email: bruce.rashkow@law.columbia.edu

Mr. Rashkow worked in the government as a career civil servant since 1970, except for the period between 1995 and 2005 during which he was with the United Nations.  He retired at the end of 2011.

After spending some 12 years with the Department of Justice, in 1982, he transferred to the Office of the Legal Adviser of the Department of State.  In 1995, Mr. Rashkow joined the UN, as the highest ranking American in the UN Office of Legal Affairs.  He served with the UN for ten years before returning to the Department of State in 2005, first as a Senior Policy Adviser in the US Mission to the United Nations and later as head of the Mission’s Management and Reform Section, before retiring. 

At the Department of Justice, Mr. Rashkow was responsible for a wide range of issues relating to the adjacent seas and seabed.  His responsibilities included litigation with the US coastal states, including in the Supreme Court, and legislation relating to the regulation and exploitation of offshore resources.  Mr. Rashkow participated on behalf of the Department of Justice in the development of the 1982 UN Law of the Sea Convention.  

In 1982, he was brought over to the Office of the Legal Adviser in the Department of State to head an office preparing the case of the United States in the World Court with Canada over rights in the adjacent seas and seabed, and stayed on afterwards to deal with other matters.   Mr. Rashkow became the principal lawyer in the office responsible for issues relating to the diplomatic privileges and immunities of foreign missions and diplomats in the United States, including in regard to the United Nations and other international organizations headquartered in the United States, as well as US missions and diplomats abroad.  Subsequently, Mr. Rashkow became the principal lawyer in the office responsible for the full range of issues relating to the UN, including the Security Council and the General Assembly, as well as issues relating generally to other international organizations.  

At the United Nations, Mr. Rashkow functioned as the In-House Counsel to the Organization, serving as the Director of the General Legal Division.

Mr. Rashkow attended the University of Wisconsin before receiving his law degree from DePaul College of Law followed by post graduate studies in international law at Oxford University.

Mr. Rashkow ‘s wife, Ilona, is a professor of comparative literature teaching at NYU and State University of New York at Stony Brook.