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The Online Version
of the Magazine
of Cornell Law School

 

Spring 2012

 

Volume 38, No 1

Bank Globe
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Jack Clarke

 

Jack G. Clarke, LL.B. '52


Table of Contents  Featured Article

How to Fund Global Law Education and Why It Matters

by LINDA BRANDT MYERS  |  PHOTOGRAPHS by ANTHONY MASTERSON, DEVONYU & ROBERT BARKER
The stakes are high and getting higher.

Students must be equipped to live and work in a world whose chief challenges—from coping with climate change to managing the spread of infectious diseases—transcend national boundaries, affirmed Cornell president, David Skorton, in a recent white paper to deans and provosts.


Stewart Schwab, the Allan R. Tessler Dean of the Law School, concurs. “Cornell Law School has long had a reputation in international and comparative law,” he asserts. “But while it may sound trite, it’s not untrue: the world’s becoming more global and so is the practice of law, from international corporate clients to international organizations. Top-flight lawyers need to be aware of other legal systems and clients’ needs around the globe.”

 

Tim Webster ’06, who joins Case Western Reserve’s law faculty in August, comments: “Even if you never leave New York, you’ll have clients from places like China, Canada, Mexico, and the better you understand their legal systems and concerns, the better you’ll be able to talk to them and offer the best legal advice.”

 

So the need for more and better international legal education is there.

 

But with the growth of international initiatives outpacing current operating resources at Cornell Law School, where will future funding come from?

 

“The Law School and university see international programs as a funding priority and we have assumed responsibility for raising at least $1.5 million, which is fifteen percent of Cornell’s goal for international programs under its ‘Cornell Now - 2015’campaign,” says Peter Cronin, associate dean for alumni affairs and development.

At the Law School, the most significant funding source for international law efforts continues to be generous gifts from far-sighted donors, says Schwab.

 

A gift from Leo Berger ’56 and his wife, Arvilla, created the Berger International Legal Studies Program in 1992. A gift from Jack G. Clarke LL.B. ’52 and his wife Dorothea established the Clarke Center for International and Comparative Legal Studies in 2001.

 

Jack Clarke went on to fund the Clarke Program in East Asian Law and Culture, headed by Annelise Riles, the Jack G. Clarke Professor of Far East Legal Studies. He also funded the Clarke Initiative for Law and Development in the Middle East and North Africa, headed by Professor Chantal Thomas. In addition he made gifts to fund three Clarke professorships, including the first named chair in American legal education on women and the law, held by Cynthia Bowman, the Dorothea S. Clarke Professor of Feminist Jurisprudence. Bowman recently organized the conference, “Women, Sustainable Development, and Food Security/Sovereignty” that attracted participants from around the globe.

 

Those gifts and other transnational efforts enabled the school to attract and keep top faculty in several international fields, says Schwab, which led to more programs, speakers, visiting scholars, and student and faculty exchanges with universities worldwide, from Hong Kong to Paris to Tel Aviv. “It just developed in a dynamic way. Success led to success. People around the world wanted to come here as we became the place to be.”

 

Schwab continues, “Now, we’re at an interesting point at which we want to take it to a whole new level. Yes, the school will continue to build and strengthen specific programs,” he says. “But eventually transnational comparative law may not be viewed as a separate entity. Instead it will become much more a part of the central fabric of legal study,” he predicts. “In the past a lot of attention was paid to differences between, say, civil and common law. Now we can go in many more directions and be much more subtle in our study of law and culture.”

 

Future donors are critical partners in the way that the Law School will be able to move forward, says Schwab. “We want to reach out to more of them. Often these are alumni and friends of Cornell that have built wonderfully successful careers. Cornell helped launch and shape their careers, and they want to give back so that others can have opportunities to constructively shape the increasingly global world we live in.”

 

A gift from entrepreneurs Bob Diener ‘82 and David Litman ‘82, co-founders of Hotels.com and Getaroom.com, established a faculty and student exchange program with Tel Aviv University’s Buchmann Faculty of Law.

 

“We thought it would be a great thing to expose Cornell Law students and faculty to Israel,” says Litman. “Israel is an economic powerhouse, especially in areas like software development, and is one of the top four countries in the world for launching high-tech business in the United States.

 

“The Tel Aviv program has been a huge success,” notes Diener. “We had a great symposium there on empirical legal studies and the Israeli Supreme Court, involving Professor Ted Eisenberg, which has led to important publications.”

 

“My experience at Cornell Law was unforgettable,” says Ofer Reish, a Tel Aviv- Buchmann student who studied at the Law School in fall 2010 as part of the student exchange program. “I improved my legal and intellectual skills in areas from persuasive oral presentations to animal law, and made some great friends.”

 

“I am so glad I stepped out of my comfort zone and went to Israel because it was an unbelievable experience,” says Chang Lim ’11, who studied at Tel Aviv-Buchmann in spring 2011 and credits it with teaching him the economic theories behind intellectual property rights.

 

“I think giving our students an international dimension is like adding extra wings that will help them fly higher and farther on their journey,” says Xingzhong Yu, a renowned scholar who holds a professorship in Chinese law at the Law School, established by a gift from Anthony ’68 and Lulu Wang.

 

“Offering a course in Chinese law at Cornell [he teaches one such course] will prepare [students] to be more competitive in the China market, which is important now that China has become a significant player in the world market,” says Yu. It will help them understand the Chinese legal system better and gain the practical legal skills they’ll need to work with law firms that have practices or projects in China, he adds.

 

Ryan Delaney, a second-year J.D./LL.M. student in comparative and international law, who has taken Yu’s Chinese law course and enrolled in the Law School’s Paris Summer Institute, comments: “In China, with its emphasis on mediation and arbitration, an American lawyer must be more prepared to interact with ‘lawyers’ in those arenas, and not necessarily with litigators in court. Knowing more about different cultures can help make interactions much smoother and more effective in an increasingly global world.”

 

Law firms with an interest in expanding the study of international law at premier law schools have emerged as another important funding partner for international programs, says Schwab. One current example: the Tokyo-based international law firm Mori, Hamada, and Matsumoto sponsors faculty exchanges between Cornell Law School and leading Japanese universities. Schwab hopes for more involvement by law firms and businesses.

 

International students in the Law School’s graduate programs and other visitors from overseas are a tremendous resource for the school’s constituents, says Mitchel Lasser, the Jack G. Clarke Professor of Law and comparative law scholar who directs them. “Almost one hundred people come to the Law School every year from abroad—professors, students, administrators—and they arrive with differences in experience, perspectives, cultures, and personalities that are of great educational value to everybody in the school. That’s a really significant educational opportunity for us, as well as them,” Lasser says.

 

“It’s important for the Law School to be welcoming to them. We need to take full advantage of the richness they bring to the school even as we give them as much as possible to take back with them,” counsels Lasser. “If we are all to be lawyers in the best sense, that matters.”

 

Reflecting on this reciprocal richness, Schwab points to foundations as another valuable resource for the Law School. Their funding “can offer us an opportunity to do good in the world,” says Schwab. “These groups don’t necessarily have an affiliation with Cornell but might like our vision and see that it matches their goals.” He cites the Avon Global Center for Women and Justice, established by a grant from the Avon Foundation, as an excellent example. The center works to curtail violence against women and girls in India and other countries around the globe by improving their access to justice.

 

The Center’s efforts led to an affiliation with Jindal Global Law School in New Delhi, which co-hosted the Second Annual Women and Justice Conference in fall 2011 (see p. 52). “This semester Cornell students are doing distance learning with law students at Jindal in a human rights law course co-taught by Professor Sital Kalantry, director of the Avon Center,” Schwab notes. Under the direction of Kalantry, students are collaborating with the Rural Governance Clinic of Jindal to teach villagers how to use the tools of legal accountability to claim, and receive, basic human rights. The Leo Nevas Human Rights Fund, endowed by the late Leo Nevas ’36 and supported by his daughter, Jo-Ann Nevas Price, is making this field work, and the advocacy-oriented report the students are writing based on it, possible.

 

Riles has even higher future ambitions for the role law schools might play globally in the future. “We’re at an exciting moment in international law in which a lot is changing,” she says. “The relative status and stature of various countries is in flux, and old alliances are shifting. But it’s also a dangerous moment because there’s a lot of instability in the world.”

 

In this shifting environment, she says, American law schools can have a special mission because, “we are able to engage broad thinkers, policymakers, and lawyers and are less bound by constraints” than other players. We are well situated to play a valuable role in conversations about difficult unresolved international law issues—for example, acknowledgement by Japan of its role in using some Korean women as “comfort women” (sex slaves) for Japanese soldiers during World War II. Such a conversation might be able to take place, “in a procedurally regulated way, at a law school,” she suggests.

 

Should such ambitious goals become reality, it is imperative that needed funds be there, says Schwab. Only with continuing support can the Law School persevere in doing its part to make the world a better place. n

 

JACK G. CLARKE:
A PASSION FOR INTERNATIONAL LAW
An early gift, made with his wife, Dorothea, endowed a scholarship honoring his most influential professor, the late Rudolf Schlesinger, whom scholars credit with inventing the field of comparative law in the 1950s. “He stimulated and excited his students,” recalls Clarke, who went on to earn an advanced degree in international law studies at Harvard and rose to become general counsel, then senior vice president and member of the management committee and board of directors at Exxon.

Clarke’s gifts have also created great excitement. When he and his wife funded the Center for International and Comparative Legal Studies in 2001, they “demonstrated their extraordinary generosity and great wisdom about the centrality of international law,” wrote Dean Emeritus Russell Osgood

Other Clarke centers and initiatives (notably, East Asian Law and Culture, and Law and Development in the Middle East and North Africa) and the scholars who lead them have launched important conversations about the changing forms of law in different parts of the globe and the impact they are having. 

“Jack makes people feel that they have a purpose and can do good in the world—a rare gift,” says Annelise Riles, the Jack G. Clarke Professor of Far East Legal Studies and director of the Clarke Program in East Asian Law and Culture. “He travels a great deal, often with our faculty and Dean Schwab, to places like China, East Asia, and the Middle East,” reports Riles. “He sees his role as encouraging us, with the gentlest of touches, to become more global in our outlook, to get a broader picture of the world today, and to think of Cornell’s mission of outreach in light of what we’re seeing.

“Not only has he supported the Clarke Program financially but he’s the spirit behind it,” Riles says. “He’ll ask a quiet question that gets me thinking and eventually profoundly reshapes things. After a conference we’d organized in Hong Kong, he told me: ‘The discussions are so fascinating and the people you bring together so important, it’s a shame
you don’t reach a broader audience.’” That led to plans for the newly launched Meridian 180, an online, transpacific, multilingual community of thinkers, scholars, and problem solvers, Riles says [see p. 33].

“Jack Clarke’s generosity has been an enormous boost to our international programs,” says Jack Barceló, the William Nelson Cromwell Professor of International and Comparative Law and Elizabeth and Arthur Reich Director of the Berger International Legal Studies Program. “He also is extremely intellectually gifted and curious—so interesting to talk to, and so interested in ideas.”

Barceló recalls Clarke joining him and other professors and alumni on a 2006 trip to Beijing University (Beida) for a major conference on World Trade Organization law. “On the plane, while the rest of us were trying to sleep, Jack stayed up and read a book on the life of Lincoln.” And during the conference, while other alumni were out touring the city, “Jack was in the front row at every proceeding, and he was interested in everything.”

“Jack has made an indelible mark on the structure and capacity of the Law School’s international programs, our transforming capacity,” says Mitchel Lasser, a Clarke professor who heads the Cornell Institute of International and Comparative Law in Paris as well as the Law School’s graduate programs. “It’s unusual to have a single person play such a capital role.”

But even more significant, “he cares,” says Lasser of Clarke. “He’s interested in the work you produce, and he wants to talk it over with you. He really reads things with an intelligent and critical eye that’s enormously useful and thought provoking. And he is enormously trusting that the capacities he’s made available to you will be put to good use.” n


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