Record Seven New Faculty for Law School

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James O’Neill
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August 8, 2007 – Seven new 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 join Columbia Law School’s world-class faculty this 2008 academic year.
“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,’’ said David Schizer, dean of Columbia Law School.
“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.
The seven new hires, a record for the School, continue Dean Schizer’s strategic initiative to increase the Columbia Law School faculty by 50 percent. They include:
  • Philip Bobbitt, author of the upcoming book “Terror and Consent: The Battle for the Twenty-first Century;”
  • Matthew Waxman, a State Department official who previously advised the Bush Administration on global detainee issues as deputy assistant secretary of defense and
  • Sarah H. Cleveland, whose human rights expertise was tapped to help draft a transitional labor and employment code for post-Taliban Afghanistan.
 “We’ve hired an incredibly diverse group whose focus emphasizes the transnational future of public law,” said John Fabian Witt, Columbia Law School Professor of Law and History and co-chair of the faculty appointments committee. “Their sweeping breadth of expertise reflects the many ways of thinking about these key issues – the military perspective, the diplomatic, the human rights side, and so forth.”
The new faculty also brings muscle to traditional fields of constitutional, business and criminal law. They include:
  • Ronald J. Mann, a leading expert on electronic commerce and the global credit card industry.
  • Nathaniel Persily, whose expertise on voting rights and election law has been sought by courts and legislatures in redistricting cases;
  • Daniel Richman, a criminal law expert who sat on New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s Homeland Security Policy Advisory Committee, and
  • Christina Duffy Burnett, a legal historian whose study of the U.S. Constitution’s evolution in response to past events has relevance to the current debate about how U.S. law might change in response to global terrorism.
“These are issues of obvious import today and going forward – how to deal with terrorism, globalization and immigration pressure, and each of the new hires addresses aspects of that in their own way,’’ said Thomas Merrill, Columbia Law School’s Charles Keller Beekman Professor of Law and co-chair of the faculty appointments committee.
Brian Gibson, Columbia Law School’s assistant dean for international and comparative law, agreed. “There are new issues confronting the world of international law, and we’re blazing new pathways to address them,’’ Gibson said.
“Joining this new group to an already influential faculty encourages a cross-pollination of ideas that can lead to fresh scholarship on some of the most important new issues facing international law today, such as how to address national security concerns while preserving civil liberties,’’ Gibson said. “These issues also go beyond terrorism, to fundamental issues of the Constitution and human rights.”
The additions furthur burnish Columbia Law School’s pioneering tradition in international law, which began before the Civil War. Columbia was the first U.S. law school to establish full professorships devoted entirely to international law and diplomacy and international human rights.
The school’s first lecturer on international law, Francis Lieber, an adviser to President Lincoln during the Civil War, was responsible for the “Lieber Code,” which formed the basis for modern international humanitarian law governing the conduct of war. Over forty years ago, Wolfgang Friedmann helped establish what is now the oldest student-edited international journal in the United States, the Columbia Journal of Transnational Law. Louis Henkin, still on the faculty as an emeritus professor, is the visionary architect of human rights and foreign relations law.
Adding new faculty will also improve the ratio of faculty to students, especially in required first year classes. It will also increase the number of elective course subjects offered to second and third-year students. “We stressed that we wanted to hire people who are great in the classroom. We don’t just hire great scholars,’’ Merrill said.
Bobbitt, a key authority on constitutional and international security law and author of “The Shield of Achilles: War, Peace and the Course of History,” has served in the White House, the U.S. Senate and the National Security Council. He joins Columbia from the University of Texas. In his upcoming book, scheduled for release in February 2008, just as the next presidential campaign is likely to heat up, Bobbitt reflects on a new definition of warfare, the current domestic debate, the challenges to international law, and how a war against terrorism might be won.
Waxman, who most recently served as the principal deputy director of the policy planning staff at the Department of State, had spent nearly two years in a Pentagon post created to address the problems raised by the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal in Iraq, and pushed for new Pentagon standards on handling terror suspects to include language from the Geneva Conventions that bars cruel, humiliating and degrading treatment.
International Human Rights Law
Cleveland, who comes to Columbia from the University of Texas, has been faculty director of the Transnational Worker Rights Clinic there since 2004. She led a student investigation of working conditions in the Cambodian garment industry in Phnom Penh.
From 1994 to 1996, with Florida Legal Services, she conducted civil impact litigation on behalf of Caribbean sugar cane cutters and other migrant farm workers in the southeastern United States. “Her work is very closely tied to international human rights and how people can work outside official government channels to help displaced and indigenous peoples,” Merrill said.
Cleveland will serve as co-director of Columbia Law School’s Human Rights Institute with Peter Rosenblum, the Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann & Bernstein Associate Clinical Professor in Human Rights.
International Economic Law
Mann, who comes to Columbia from the University of Texas, has written “Charging Ahead: The Growth and Regulation of Payment Card Markets Around the World.” “He’s the most interesting guy in the country on payment systems and credit cards,” Merrill said. “He adds a major strength in the area of business law and commercial law.”
The arrival of Mann, combined with last year’s addition of Robert E. Scott, the Alfred McCormack professor of Law and a director of Columbia’s Center for Contract and Economic Organization, further bolsters the faculty’s reach in a field where it has traditionally been strong. Scott, a national expert on contract law, was dean of the University of Virginia Law School for a decade.
Transnational Law
Burnett, who spent the past year at Princeton University working on her doctorate, a history of American expansion in transnational perspective,  has studied several Supreme Court decisions that looked at whether the rights guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution carried over to new territories which came under U.S. control in 1898 after the Spanish-American War.
“Her work has investigated how the law changed to meet the needs of a nation that suddenly found itself a colonial power, raising questions of citizenship and sovereignty,” Merrill said. “There are lessons from the past as the United States today tries to fashion new laws to address the changing times, from immigration to battling foreign threats, such as terrorist groups, that work across national boundaries and are not tied to a particular nation-state.”
Domestic Policy
Richman, who comes to Columbia from Fordham University, spent over five years as an assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York under Rudolph Giuliani, handling general crimes, narcotics and organized crime cases. He was the junior prosecutor in the case of Anthony `Fat Tony’ Salerno.
He looks at the ongoing relationships between local law enforcement agencies with the FBI in domestic intelligence operations and writes about the institutional tensions within the federal enforcement divisions. He served on a federal inquiry into the initial 1993 raid by the ATF on the Branch Davidians compound in Waco, Texas.
Persily, who comes to Columbia from the University of Pennsylvania, has been a court-appointed expert for redistricting cases in Georgia, Maryland and New York, and has served as an expert witness or outside counsel in similar cases in California and Florida. He has an upcoming book on the Supreme Court.
Columbia Law School, founded in 1858, stands at the forefront of legal education and of the law in a global society. Columbia Law School graduates have provided leadership worldwide in a remarkably broad range of fields – government, diplomacy, the judiciary, business, non-profit, advocacy, entertainment, academia, science and the arts.
Led by Dean David Schizer, Columbia Law School joins traditional strengths in international and comparative law, constitutional law, administrative law, business law and human rights law with pioneering work in the areas of intellectual property, digital technology, sexuality and gender, and criminal law. The Law School offers J.D., J.S.D. and LL.M. degree programs to a diverse student body.