Katharina Pistor

Michael I. Sovern Professor of Law

Katharina Pistor

Michael I. Sovern Professor of Law

Katharina Pistor is the Michael I. Sovern Professor of Law at Columbia Law School and Director of the Law School’s Center on Global Legal Transformation. She obtained her law degree from Freiburg University in 1988 and qualified for legal practice in 1992 after clerking for the Hamburg Court of Appeals. She obtained a Masters in Law from the University of London in 1989; a Masters in Public Administration from the Kennedy School of Government in 1994; and a Doctorate in Law from the University of Munich in 1998.

Her research and teaching spans corporate law, corporate governance, money and finance, property rights, and comparative law and legal institutions. She has published widely including in the Journal of Comparative Economics and the American Law and Economics Review, and with Chicago and Columbia University Presses. In 2012 she was co-recipient (with Martin Hellwig) of the Max Planck Research Award on International Financial Regulation; in 2014 she received the Allen & Overy Prize for the best working paper on law of the European Corporation Governance Institute; and in 2015 she was elected member of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences. She is also the recipient of research grants by the Institute for New Economic Thinking and the National Science Foundation.

Prior to joining Columbia Law School, Pistor has held academic positions at the Kennedy School of Government (Harvard University), and the Max Planck Institute for Foreign and International Law in Hamburg. She has held visiting positions at several universities, including University of Pennsylvania Law School, New York University Law School, Frankfurt University, London School of Economics, and Oxford University.

  • J.S.D., University of Munich, Faculty of Law, 1998
  • M.P.A., Harvard John F. Kennedy School of Government, 1994
  • Assessor, State of Hamburg, Second Juridical State Exam, 1992
  • LL.M., University of London, 1989
  • J.D., University of Freiburg, First Juridical State Exam, 1988
Areas of Expertise
  • Comparative law
  • Comparative corporate law and governance
  • Governing financial systems
  • Law and development
  • “Regulatory Capabilities” (with Fabrizio Cafaggi) in Journal of Regulation and Governance, 2015
  • “Legal Institutionalism: Capitalism and the Constitutive Role of Law” (with Simon Deakin, David Gindis, Geoffrey Hodgson, and Kainan Huang) in Journal of Comparative Economics, 2014
  • “Law in Finance” (Editor’s introduction to Special Issue with same title) in Journal of Comparative Economics, 2013
  • “A Legal Theory of Global Finance” in Journal of Comparative Economics, 2013
  • “Governing Interdependent Financial Systems: Lessons from the Vienna Initiative” in Journal of Globalization and Development, 2011
  • “Global Network Finance: Institutional Innovation in the Global Market Place” in Journal of Comparative Economics, 2009
  • “How Law Affects Lending” (with Rainer Haselmann and Vikrant Vig) in Review of Financial Studies, 2009
  • “Incomplete of Law” (with  Chenggang Xu) in New York University Journal of International Law and Politics, 2003
  • “Economic Development, Legality, and the Transplant Effect” (with Dan Berkowitz and Jean-Fran├žois Richard) in European Economic Review, 2003


  • Governing Access to Essential Resources (with Olivier De Schutter, eds.), Columbia University Press, 2015
Activities and Affiliations
  • Member, Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Science, 2015
  • President, World Interdisciplinary Network for Institutional Research, 2014-present
  • Member, Board of Supervisors, Italian Academy, Columbia University, 2013-present      
  • Member, Board of Advisors, Bucerius Law School, Hamburg, 2011-present
  • Research Associate, Center of Economic Policy Research (CEPR), London, 2005-present
  • Research Associate, European Corporate Governance Institute, 2003-present    
Remarks and Testimony
  • “The Legal Code of Capital: Liquidity and Globalization,” Berlin (Germany) Inauguration Lecture, delivered as new member of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Science, February, 2016
  • Dieter Heremans Fund Lecture in Law and Economics, February, 2016
  •  “The Legal Hierarchy of Global Money,” Keynote Lecture, delivered to the Conference on the Political Economy of Financial Regulation at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, June 2016
  •  “The Law, Finance and the Abyss,” Keynote Lecture, delivered to the London School of Economics (LSE), March, 2015                    
  • Address on the Legal Theory of Finance, delivered to the European Corporate Governance Institute, Brussels, Belgium, to acknowledge Allen & Overy Prize (2014), April, 2014               
  • “Law and Finance: New Directions,” Keynote Address, delivered to the University of Frankfurt, in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the university’s founding, April, 2014
  • “The Dialectics of Law & Capitalism,” Keynote Lecture, delivered to the World Interdisciplinary Network for Institutional Research (WINIR), September, 2014
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Office Hours

Tuesdays, 4 p.m.-6 p.m.

C. Law and Finance Theories
C. Law and Finance in Theory and Practice
Law and Development
Lawyering Across Multiple Legal Orders

Columbia Law School

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