When Professor Walter Gellhorn '31 went to Japan in the 1950s at the invitation of Tokyo University's School of Law, he planted the seeds of Columbia Law School's current courses and programs in Asian law. In the post-war years, Japan's leaders realized that to become a democratic nation and economic power, the country would need a body of administrative law. Who better to call upon than Prof. Gellhorn, considered one of the architects of U.S. administrative law?
Since that first visit, the Law School has responded to the expanding influence of Asia's most powerful nations, particularly in the past 25 years, as Japan, China, and Korea have transformed themselves into economic powerhouses. With that growth, legal systems have had to change, and the Law School and its faculty have played an important role in helping these nations adapt and succeed on the world stage. In this article, we report on Columbia's current endeavors in Asian law, embodied in the work of the centers for Japanese, Chinese, and Korean legal studies.