Merritt Fox, the Michael E. Patterson Professor of Law, came to Columbia from the University of Michigan Law School, where he taught for 15 years. He also served there as faculty director of the Center for International and Comparative Law.
Prof. Fox's belief that law is importantly informed by the social sciences led him to pursue a Ph.D. in economics at Yale (where he also obtained his J.D.) in 1980 as a way of more deeply understanding his chosen field. Prior to entering teaching, he practiced law with Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton, an experience which continues to inform his teaching and scholarly work. One of his areas of practice was international lending to Latin America, which led him to spend time in Brazil.
"At the time, banks were awash with cash derived from oil country depositors after the dramatic OPEC-induced increase in petroleum prices," says Prof. Fox. "Many thought this was a good new way of financing the capital needs of developing countries. It wasn't. Among other problems, the rigid hard currency repayment requirements of Eurodollar loans were not a good match for the fluctuating export revenues experienced by these countries."
Prof. Fox uses such experience to help students understand the variety of considerations that go into designing workable vehicles for the international transfer of capital.
Prof. Fox, who was a visiting professor at Columbia in the fall of 2001, teaches International Securities Law, Corporate Finance, and Securities and Capital Markets. He also expects to be active in the Center for Law and Economics. He is past chair of the Business Associations section of the American Association of Law Schools and he is co-director for corporate governance research at the William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan Business School.