Global Outreach: Asia
Columbia Law School Dean Gillian Lester began the new year with alumni and students in Tokyo and Beijing, celebrating the Law School’s deep ties to Asia and its vibrant and growing community in the region.
A Columbia Law School delegation traveled to Japan and China earlier this year to meet with members of the school’s ever-growing alumni and student communities in Tokyo and Beijing. The trip, which included receptions in both cities hosted by Gillian Lester, Dean and the Lucy G. Moses Professor of Law, showcased the Law School’s sustained commitment to furthering legal scholarship and the exchange of ideas across borders. The dean shared a vision for the future of the Law School, which builds on its long tradition of active engagement with the world’s most pressing issues.
Dean Gillian Lester, President Lee Bollinger and Professor Benjamin Liebman at the Beijing Alumni Reception on January 7, 2016.
“Columbia Law School has a far-reaching global presence, and all of you are evidence of a powerful…circulation of both people and ideas that help to shape some of the world’s most powerful actions and institutions,” Dean Lester said. “Looking toward the future, the Law School is poised to build upon this global reach, and is charting an ambitious new course toward continued innovation and dynamism.”
Professors Benjamin L. Liebman and Curtis J. Milhaupt ’89, the Law School’s preeminent scholars in Chinese and Japanese law, respectively, lent their expertise to the events, serving as touchstones of the Law School’s strong connections to the laws of Asian nations.
“This is a very interesting and important time for legal development in China and thus for legal study of the Chinese system,” offered Liebman, the Robert L. Lieff Professor of Law and director of the Center for Chinese Legal Studies. “The range of recent Law School–sponsored events centered around Chinese law also highlights our commitment to engaging our alumni in China, as well a broad range of academic colleagues in China, in Beijing, Zhengzhou, and elsewhere.”
Professor Curtis J. Milhaupt and Hon. Itsuro Terada ’76 at the Tokyo Alumni Reception on January 5, 2016.
Milhaupt, the Fuyo Professor of Japanese Law and director of both the Parker School of Foreign and Comparative Law and the Center for Japanese Legal Studies, introduced Dean Lester to the large and enthusiastic group of Japan-based alumni. The dean’s visit to Tokyo, he said, “served to underscore the Law School’s deep and longstanding engagement with the Japanese legal system and profession.”
Just after she began her tenure at the Law School in 2015, Dean Lester commissioned a task force on global initiatives to examine ways in which the school engages with global issues, as well as how to better apply its strengths toward solving problems on an international scale. (Both Liebman and Milhaupt serve as members of this task force.)
Dean Lester meets with alumni in Beijing.
Now entering her second year at the helm of the Law School, Dean Lester used her time with alumni and students in Asia to highlight the ways in which the school is building upon its global presence—through the recruitment of world-renowned faculty, the further infusion of an international perspective into the Law School’s curriculum, the creation of additional overseas training opportunities for students, and the funding of new, cutting-edge research and scholarship.
Underlining the importance of the Law School’s relationships in Asian countries, Columbia University President Lee C. Bollinger ’71 was on hand to address the nearly 70 alumni, students, and visiting faculty at the Beijing reception. Itsurō Terada ’76 LL.M., chief justice of the Supreme Court of Japan and a longtime member of Japan’s judiciary, spoke to guests at the Tokyo reception about the vital need for lawyers to address the world’s most critical problems.
“Columbia Law School’s success as a global innovator rests on our ability to identify and anticipate the evolving demands on legal professionals in an increasingly global world,” Dean Lester added. “Solving problems on a global scale squarely, decisively, and without delay will be the single greatest challenge of the next generation.”
View the Tokyo Alumni Reception photo gallery
View the Beijing Alumni Reception photo gallery