The 2007-08 Year in Review
Dean David M. Schizer has hired 11 faculty in just over a year to broaden course offerings, reduce class size and further improve opportunities for mentorship between faculty and students.
The newest hires are Theodore M. Shaw ’79, an active voice in civil rights who has been the Director-Counsel and President of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund since 2004; Jamal Greene, a constitutional law expert and former reporter who will teach courses on constitutional law and the federal courts; Trevor W. Morrison ’98, an expert on separation of powers, federalism and executive branch legal interpretation who comes from Cornell Law School; and Alexandra Carter ’03, an associate attorney with Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP and a mediator, who will teach in the Mediation Clinic.
Joining the faculty at the start of the 2007-08 academic year were seven full-time professors with expertise in terrorism, national security, human rights law, international economics, criminal law, elections law and other issues shaping the future of domestic and international public law: Philip Bobbitt, Christina Duffy Burnett, Sarah Cleveland, Ronald Mann, Nathaniel Persily, Daniel Richman and Matthew Waxman.
“The addition of these distinguished scholars to our faculty in areas of our traditional strengths solidifies the school’s leadership position for innovative thinking about the most fluid and pressing issues of the moment, which are changing the face of domestic and international law,” Dean Schizer said when announcing the appointments.
“Bringing these experts together under one roof with our current standout faculty will further the creative debate and scholarship on current legal issues that mark Columbia Law School. It underscores Columbia’s reputation as a school that drives new thinking and influences policy on a global scale,” Schizer said.
Faculty Website Projects
Professors Jane Ginsburg and Timothy Wu launched KeepYourCopyrights.org to help artists and writers retain control of their copyrights and manage those rights throughout their careers.
Professor Conrad Johnson worked with students to build a new Web site that documents a disturbing drop in enrollment by African-American and Mexican-American students in America’s law schools.
Aiming to make federal case law more accessible to the public – and free – Wu and Stuart Sierra joined with the University of Colorado Law School to launch AltLaw.org, which contains nearly 170,000 decisions dating back to the early 1990s from the U.S. Supreme Court and Federal Appellate courts.
James E. Tierney, director of the National State Attorneys General Program at Columbia Law School and the former attorney general of Maine, created Web resources for consumers and the media to address the subprime mortgage crisis. The site (www.law.columbia.edu/center_program/ag/predatorylend) includes links to fact sheets for consumers and scholarly articles about subprime lending and predatory lending.
Professor Philip Bobbitt’s new book, Terror and Consent, published by Alfred A. Knopf, received a major review in the New York Times in April. The Times called it “quite simply the most profound book to have been written on the subject of American foreign policy since the attacks of 9/11 — indeed, since the end of the cold war.”
In his new book from Princeton University Press, Professor Michael W. Doyle proposes refashioning international laws related to preventive war. In Striking First: Preemption and Prevention in International Conflict, Doyle strikes a balance between current international law, which holds that states may go to war only after being attacked or when facing an “overwhelming” and “imminent” threat, and the “Bush Doctrine,” which advocates the use of force to “preempt emerging threats.”
Professor George P. Fletcher and Columbia Associate-in-Law Jens David Ohlin’s new book, Defending Humanity: When Force is Justified and Why, was the focus of a symposium March 31 at Columbia Law School. The book, published by Oxford University Press, develops a legal basis for humanitarian intervention. The book offers a new interpretation of Article 51 of the United Nations Charter and the international law of self-defense, and analyzes humanitarian intervention, aggressive war, and the doctrine of preventive war.
Professor Nathaniel Persily co-edited a new book, Public Opinion and Constitutional Controversy, which takes an innovative approach to measuring how greatly U.S. Supreme Court decisions mold American public opinion. Editors Persily, Jack Citrin and Patrick J. Egan brought together political scientists and law professors who analyze 50 years of polling data to show how court decisions change or affect public opinion on a wide array of the issues that have defined the culture wars of the past several decades.
The New York Times said Professor Emeritus Louis Lowenstein is “a heck of an investigative reporter, as well as an astute financial advisor,” in reviewing his book The Investor’s Dilemma: How Mutual Funds Are Betraying Your Trust and What To Do About It, published by Wiley. It describes a current financial scandal in the mutual funds industry.
In September, Professor John C. Coffee told the Senate Banking Committee that more transparency could be created for the credit rating industry if the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) started to calculate default rates for rating agencies and make the information public. Coffee said rating agencies that are especially inaccurate could have their SEC recognition revoked. He made his suggestion during a Senate Banking Committee hearing on the subprime mortgage crisis.
Professor Daniel C. Richman cautioned the Senate Committee on the Judiciary in September against imposing legislative limits on the Justice Department’s negotiating tools when prosecuting white-collar corporate fraud cases. He also called on the committee to increase the financial resources for such prosecutions. Richman’s testimony came as Congress debated whether to impose limits on negotiations between federal prosecutors and corporate entities over attorney-client and work product privilege waivers.
In March, Professor Alex Raskolnikov gave testimony on the tax treatment of derivatives before a U.S. House subcommittee. Raskolnikov told members of the House Ways and Means Committee’s Subcommittee on Select Revenue Measures that “financial derivatives offer unprecedented opportunities to reduce or eliminate capital income taxation.” The hearing was related to the introduction of a bill to revoke the tax benefits of exchange-traded notes, a form of retail derivative.
In testimony before the New York State Commission on Sentencing Reform in November, Professor Philip Genty said New York State should update its parole practices and increase resources for prison rehabilitative programs so it can promote public safety and ensure successful re-entry of prisoners into society.
Earlier this month Professor Peter Strauss testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary’s Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law concerning rulemaking process and the unitary executive theory. He referred to his work on the President’s constitutional relationship to the agencies on which Congress has conferred regulatory authority and his recent writing on the subject, an essay in the George Washington Law Review entitled “Overseer or ‘The Decider’ – The President in Administrative Law.”
Faculty Awards and Appointments
Professor Zohar Goshen in January was tapped by Israeli Finance Minister Ronnie Bar- On to become the new chairman of the Israeli Security Authority.
Professor Harvey Goldschmid ’65 was named in September to the board of the Center for Audit Quality, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to improve the reliability of public audits and boost investor confidence.
Professor Suzanne Goldberg received the 2008 Public Interest Faculty of the Year Award in April. The award, given by students, recognizes “a faculty member or administrator who has supported and inspired a significant portion of the public interest law student community at the Law School.”
Professor Jeffrey N. Gordon was named on April 11 a fellow of the European Corporate Governance Institute, an international scientific non-profit association that provides a forum for debate among academics, legislators and practitioners. He joins two other Columbia Law professors at the institute: John C. Coffee and Ronald J. Gilson.
Professor Jane M. Spinak was presented the 2008 Howard A. Levine Award for Excellence in Juvenile Justice and Child Welfare April 24 at the New York State Bar Center in Albany. The award recognizes individuals who have done outstanding work and have led the effort to improve New York’s child welfare and juvenile justice system.
In March, the works of professors Coffee and Gordon were included on the 2007 list of “10 Best Corporate and Securities Articles,” a list compiled each year by the legal journal Corporate Practice Commentator. This marks Coffee’s seventh article to be cited on the annual list and Gordon’s third. Columbia professors have made the list for five consecutive years, and 11 of the 14 years since the journal first started publishing the list in 1994. In all, 22 articles written by Columbia Law School faculty have made the lists.
Faculty Conferences, Symposia and Lectures
Professor Philip C. Bobbitt and Sir Lawrence Freedman, Vice-Principal and Professor at King’s College, London, offered diverging views on the feasibility of a war on terror in a lecture titled, “Does the War on Terror Make Sense?” The event took place at Brooks’s Club in London, England last October.
In October nearly a dozen ambassadors, academics and representatives from the United States and Europe visited Columbia for a symposium to mark the 10th anniversary of the Chemical Weapons Convention. Diplomats and international legal experts agreed that the convention was a legal and diplomatic success story, but they warned that the treaty’s effectiveness was threatened by non-signatory nations, as well as non-state actors such as terrorists. Professors Lori Damrosch and Richard Gardner moderated discussions at the event, hosted by the Law School’s International Programs.
Professor Matthew Waxman, who served in a Pentagon post to address prisoner abuse created in the wake of the Abu Ghraib crisis, gave a lecture on Oct. 11 titled “Are We At War? Trans-Atlantic Perspectives on Combating Terrorism,’’ sponsored by the Columbia Law School Association.
The Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC), provider of pro-bono legal services to protect and advance Free and Open Source Software, hosted a Legal Summit for Software Freedom on Oct. 12 at Columbia Law School. Speakers included Professor Eben Moglen, Executive Director of SFLC.
On Oct. 30, Professor Katharina Pistor guided a roundtable discussion on international investment agreements at the Second Columbia International Investment Conference. Opening the discussion, Karl P. Sauvant, executive director of the Columbia Program on International Investment, said that most countries stood to profit from foreign direct investment (FDI). But recently, firstworld countries, the traditional advocates of FDI, have begun to re-examine this position, he said.
Dean Schizer, an expert on tax policy, was a featured speaker at “Taxing Philanthropy,’’ a day of discussion on Nov. 9 that probed U.S. tax law as it applies to charitable donations.
Students took advantage of the Deals Workshops on The Art of the Deal, Mergers and Acquisitions, Transactional Legal Studies and Deals Litigation taught by expert practitioners. Since 2002 the Deals Workshops have explored the lawyer’s role in structuring and implementing business deals to create value, manage risks, and promote client interests in a complex business, legal, and regulatory environment. Instructors this year included Arthur S. Kaufman, a partner resident in Fried Frank’s New York office; James B. McHugh, of counsel at Goldman Sachs & Co.; Scott Semer, a partner of the New York office of Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg; Igor Kirman, Trevor S. Norwitz and William Savitt, partners at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz.; and Ilan Nissan, a partner at O’Melveny & Myers’ New York office.
Columbia University President Lee Bollinger, Professor Susan Sturm, former NAACP President and new Columbia Law Professor Ted Shaw and Visiting Professor Lani Guinier were among those debating the uses of law and litigation in promoting equal educational opportunity at a symposium co-sponsored by Teachers College and Columbia Law School Nov. 12 and 13.
Professor Jane Ginsburg addressed current threats to authors’ rights and discussed whether new business models benefit authors more than investors in a speech given at the 2007 Congress of the Association Littéraire et Artistique Internationale in Uruguay last fall. Ginsburg also spoke on “The Author’s Place in 21st Century Copyright as Updated by the TRIPs [Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights related to Commerce] and WIPO [World Intellectual Property Organization] Treaties.”
Professors John Coffee, Jeffrey Gordon, Curtis Milhaupt and Richard Gilson took part in a conference Dec. 7 to mark the 75th anniversary of the groundbreaking book on business law which the late Columbia Law School Professor Adolph Berle co-authored with economist Gardiner Means, The Modern Corporation and Private Property.
The globalization of financial markets was discussed at the “Cross Border Securities Market Mergers Conference” presented jointly by the Law School and the Business School on Dec. 19. Christopher Cox, Chairman of the SEC, gave the keynote address. Professors Merritt B. Fox, Lawrence Glosten and Harvey J. Goldschmid, a former SEC commissioner, as well as Meyer Eisenberg, Adjunct Senior Research Scholar and Lecturer-in-Law, organized the event.
Professor Philip Hamburger addressed how different forms of Christianity and Islam have affected the development of free and open societies at a symposium hosted by the Council on Foreign Relations on Mar. 25. “Religion is fundamental to the very liberty that we think we sometimes need to protect from religion,” said Hamburger, who emphasized the interconnectedness between a society and its religion.
As disturbing cases of violence on American college campuses continue to make headlines, the Law School hosted a conference on the trend. “Violence on Campus: Prediction, Prevention and Response,” was organized by Professors Elizabeth S. Scott and Jeffrey A. Fagan. The April 4th event featured academic experts from law and the social sciences, policy makers and practitioners. Sessions covered predicting violence, how college violence differs from such incidents at the K-12 level, understanding and preventing campus suicide, media coverage of campus violence, the legal issues around privacy vs. public safety, and translating theories into practice.
In April, Columbia hosted a Corporate Social Responsibility panel featuring Professor Mark Barenberg and moderated by Ellen P. Chapnick, Columbia Law School Dean for Social Justice Initiatives.
The annual Wolfgang Friedmann Conference, held April 8 and sponsored by the Columbia Society of International Law, was titled “Reform and Challenges Confronting Regional Human Rights Regimes,” and critically compared two regional human rights courts. Professor Lori Damrosch, the luncheon speaker, said the two regions’ human rights systems affect the United States, despite the fact that Washington is party to neither court. For example, the U.S. Justice Department and federal courts have leaned on these international courts’ findings in their efforts to thwart terrorism and also to strike down state sodomy laws, Damrosch said. Professor Sarah Cleveland, codirector of Columbia’s Human Rights Institute, led the first panel in examining the structure and reform of one of the bodies, the ICHR. Professor George Bermann, director of the European Legal Studies Center, moderated the second panel in a discussion of the European human rights regime.
Other Academic and Research News
Students had a rare opportunity Oct. 4 to watch real cases argued before judges Arthur J. Gajarsa, Alan D. Lourie and Sharon Prost of the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. It was the court’s first visit to Columbia Law School, where the audience of 300 students and faculty heard lawyers argue the appeals of three very disparate cases. The court is based in Washington, D.C., but traditionally travels the first week of October.
Karl Sauvant, executive director of the Columbia Program on International Investment, announced a $1.5 million grant over the next five years from Vale, the world’s second largest diversified mining company in market capitalization, to create the Vale- Columbia Center on Sustainable International Investment.
Professor Mark Barenberg released a report that condemned the free trade agreement between the United States and Peru that passed in the U.S. House of Representatives in November. “On close inspection, the Agreement’s labor provisions lack teeth,” Barenberg said. “There is no meaningful mechanism for continuous verification that Peru is complying with basic labor rights. It won’t help real workers in real workplaces.”
The Federal Communications Commission held a historic auction in January under rules first proposed by Professor Tim Wu. The government agency accepted bids for some of the nation’s most valuable airwaves, requiring the winners to adhere to “wireless Carterfone” principles that Wu recommended last year. Under auction rules, wireless companies – which have traditionally restricted network usage – must keep the bandwidth open to any device that does not harm the network. This could include everything from better cell phones to devices not yet invented. Wu proposed opening the wireless network in a 2007 paper, “Wireless Net Neutrality: Cellular Carterfone and Consumer Choice in Mobile Broadband,” first published by the New America Foundation.
Columbia Law School’s new Center for Contract and Economic Organization, a year-old entity focused on examining the contracts and business structures created when a corporation goes global, plans to analyze how economic theory and contract law affect real corporations. “The technological revolution brought on by access to less expensive, but skilled labor around the world has created opportunities for innovation in how firms structure themselves,” said Professor Robert Scott, co-director of the center. That, in turn, has created a demand for more innovation in contracts, Scott said. “What we are seeing are new forms of economic organization in response to the need to rapidly adapt.”