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Building on Strength - Part 4

Law of the International Economy

The intensified trade of goods, capital, and services between countries raises many questions about international trade and, with that, the profile of the WTO as a key arbiter in world affairs. Prof. Petros Mavroidis brings a deep expertise in WTO affairs. He not only worked in the legal division from 1992-96, but has co-authored two books and written numerous articles on the organization and its predecessor, GATT. One course he has taught (with Prof. Bhagwati) is International Trade Law, which examines the interplay between international trade rules and domestic law and regulations governing trade. Prof. Gardner, former ambassador to Italy and Spain, teaches the Law School's longest running seminar, Legal Aspects of U.S. Foreign Economic Policy, created in 1957.

A number of other faculty members work in related areas. Professor Mark Barenberg is writing a book on global labor rights informed by his fieldwork in Mexico, Indonesia, and Thailand. The book evaluates transnational initiatives to enforce labor rights and offers proposals for new institutions to promote labor rights at the regional level in the Western Hemisphere. Much of Prof. Barenberg's research flows into his classes, including Labor Rights in a Global Economy, which looks at the regulation of labor markets and workplaces from the local to the international level. 

The Internet has thrust itself into the international arena by sparking issues involving intellectual property, the specialty of Professor Jane Ginsburg. She currently serves as a reporter on the American Law Institute's project on international intellectual property. Prof. Ginsburg is also co-director of the Kernochan Center for Law, Media and the Arts which, hosted an international conference of the Association Littéraire et Artistique Internationale (ALAI). The event brought more than 200 academics and lawyers to Columbia to discuss the challenges facing copyright law on the world's fast-changing technological landscape.

Corporations and capital markets play a critical role in the development of the global economy; Prof. Merritt Fox  expands the Law School's commitment to these areas of study. Prof. Fox, who taught at the University of Michigan Law School for 15 years, is an expert in international securities regulation and comparative corporate governance. He has devoted considerable time to the study of corporate governance in Russia and Eastern Europe and the broad lessons learned during the transition of these countries from socialism to capitalism. He suggests, for example, that it would be a mistake to privatize the larger business enterprises in Iraq too soon, before the legal institutions of a modern capitalist economy have had a chance to develop. Among the courses Prof. Fox teaches is International Securities Law. Other faculty emphasizing the comparative study of corporate governance, and the role of corporate institutions in transitional societies, include Professors John Coffee, Ron Gilson, Jeff Gordon, Curtis Milhaupt '89, Katharina Pistor, and Andrzej Rapaczynski.

Certainly, courses with the word "international" in their title are not the only ones that include an international dimension. Prof. Ginsburg gives first-year students a taste of international law from the start in her Legal Methods class, in which she includes comparative law perspectives. Antitrust and Trade Regulation, taught by Prof. Rapaczynski, covers both domestic and international issues, as does Securities and Capital Markets taught by Profs. Coffee and Fox. Prof. Mavroidis, whose work spans the public and private spheres of law, teaches on the subject of comparative and international antitrust, while Prof. Milhaupt's Regulation of Banks and Other Financial Intermediaries closely examines "the new international financial architecture." Prof. Milhaupt is editor of Global Markets, Domestic Institutions: Corporate Law and Governance in a New Era of Cross-Border Deals (Columbia University Press, 2003), a collection of papers by some of the leading scholars in the world. 


Giuliano Amato, former prime minister of Italy and vice-president of The Convention on the Future of Europe speaks at the Law School.

The study of contracts that span borders is also a critical part of the international economic environment. Professor E. Allan Farnsworth '52, has long served as the American member of the Working Group on UNIDROIT's Principles of International Com-mercial Contracts and has written extensively on contract law, both domestic and international. On the opposite side of the coin - when international transactions end in disputes - the Columbia faculty has a strong presence in private international dispute settlement and litigation. Professors Hans Smit '58 and George Bermann '75 LL.M. are among the world's leading experts in international arbitration. Prof. Smit conducts a class called National and International Conflicts of Law and Jurisdictions and serves as editor of the American Review of International Arbitration. Prof. Bermann is the author of textbooks on international litigation and arbitration and teaches the course Transnational Litigation and Arbitration.