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Building on Strength - Part 5

The Comparative Perspective

Prof. Mavroidis brings a European perspective in trade and competition law, thus enhancing the extensive group of Columbia faculty who emphasize the study of foreign law as part of their teaching and scholarship. The European Legal Studies Center (ELSC) hosted a conference titled Law and Governance in an Enlarged Europe, which attracted scholars and diplomats from EU member nations and the United States to discuss issues such as legal foundations of the EU, regulating labor markets, and corporate governance. Prof. Bermann, director of the ELSC, has long held leadership positions in the field, including serving as president of the American Society of Comparative Law and co-editor of the American Journal of Comparative Law. Additional depth in European law is provided by the scholarship and teaching of Profs. Mavroidis, Katharina Pistor, and Charles Sabel, as well as visiting professors each year from across Europe.

The Law School also supports a wide range of opportunities that enrich the learning experience of students interested in European law. These include double-degree programs with the University of Paris and the University of London, student exchange programs in The Netherlands and Germany, internships at the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg, and a faculty exchange program with the European University Institute (EUI) in Florence.

Columbia's strength in comparative law stretches to Asia as well. The Center for Chinese Legal Studies, headed by Professor Benjamin Liebman, devotes its energies to the growing economic power of China and other issues. Among the center's endeavors was a conference on legal cooperation between the United States and China to celebrate the career of Columbia Professor Emeritus R. Randle Edwards, who taught Chinese law at Columbia for 30 years. The center also sponsors the Edwards Fellowships, which bring promising Chinese legal scholars to Columbia to conduct research and study. Prof. Milhaupt serves as director of the Center for Japanese Law, which sponsored a major conference in Tokyo in June on the legal and policy implications of hostile takeovers and defensive mechanisms in Japan. The Center for Korean Legal Studies, under the directorship of Jeong-ho Roh '88, focuses on the Korean legal system as it addresses economic and diplomatic issues in the highly charged atmosphere of the Korean peninsula.

Looking to yet another continent, Assistant Dean Alice Haemmerli offers a course on International Business Transactions in Latin America. Dean Haemmerli has also created of a tri-national course on NAFTA, in which his classroom in New York is connected with classrooms in Mexico and Canada.


Louise Arbour, justice of the Canadian Supreme Court, speaks with students at the Law School.

The Expanding World of Law

International law, in its broadest sense, is not just the law of nations which governs diplomacy and war. Once a tightly defined specialty in legal practice and at law schools, its presence has dramatically expanded to meet the needs of a rapidly changing world. In past years, the world community has struggled with questions on U.S. involvement in Iraq, the treatment of Islamic combatants at Guantanamo Bay, agricultural subsidies on the world market, and challenges to internationally recognized drug patents to help poor nations fight serious diseases. International law can no longer be neatly divided into categories such as public and private.

Today, as before, Columbia Law School is responding to important international issues. The Law School's strength is derived from its faculty, who work and teach in traditional and new areas of international law, as well as from the depth of its curriculum, the activities of its centers, its array of programs, and the truly international composition of the student body. All this makes, Columbia an unrivaled center for the study of international law.