Columbia Law School has established three new academic centers focusing on international arbitration, constitutional law and global markets.
The Center for International Commercial and Investment Arbitration Law will allow Columbia Law to expand its current international arbitration offerings, which include courses, student organizations and a scholarly journal. New opportunities include a distinguished speaker and workshop series, a formal annual lecture and accommodations for visiting scholars interested in conducting research.
“The center will enable Columbia to consolidate and enlarge its role in this burgeoning area of law,” said George Bermann, a Columbia Law professor who will lead the center. International arbitration, he added, appeals to students because it is an “intensively cosmopolitan experience” that allows attorneys to step outside the boundaries of a single legal system.
The Center for Constitutional Governance will provide a forum for constitutional scholars to further develop their expertise on government structure and relationships, including separation of powers, federalism and aspects of the presidency. It will bring in experts through conferences and workshops, as well as produce books and other scholarship on public governance issues.
By harnessing the shared interests and knowledge of Columbia Law faculty, the center will help “produce from overlapping interests something greater than what we would individually produce,” said Gillian Metzger, a Columbia Law professor and vice dean who will co-direct the center with colleague Trevor Morrison. Metzger added that the center hopes to reach out to individuals with areas of expertise that differ from the present faculty, including comparative constitutional law experts and government attorneys.
The Ira M. Millstein Center for Global Markets and Corporate Ownership will study how investors and the companies they invest in interact with each other. Through its Project on Investment, Ownership and Control in the Modern Firm, the center aims to find out who owns American companies and discover what is important to investors so companies can better communicate with their owners.
The center also plans to use SEC filings to generate a database to provide investors with basic information on a company’s board of directors, executive pay or other areas that may be subject to a vote.
“We want to give investors a public source of information about the companies they own so they can make their own judgment,” said Robert Jackson, who will co-direct the center with Columbia Law’s Jeffrey Gordon.
Students, Jackson said, will play a large role in research and creating the database, providing a unique opportunity to “dig into key governance questions companies are facing and see what investors think about these things.”
“It allows us to give our students a practical edge that can make all the difference when they get to a firm,” Jackson added.
In addition to Jackson and Gordon, the center will draw on the expertise of Ira Millstein, a government regulation and antitrust partner at Weil, Gotshal & Manges.