I’m very pleased to announce a major appointment by the our law school: starting next year, international arbitration scholar and arbitrator extraordinaire (and repeat University of Miami Visiting Professor) Jan Paulsson, will join our faculty as the first holder of the new Michael Klein Chair in Law.
This is a big deal for us in several ways.
First, Jan is globalization personified: born a Swedish national, he grew up in Africa but attended high school in California, eventually wound up at Yale Law School. He has worked primarily in Paris, most recently as the head of the Paris-based arbitration practice of one of London’s (and Europe’s) leading law firms, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer. He has extensive contacts and experience in Europe, the Middle East, Latin America, and the Caribbean (and for all I know the rest of the world too).
Second, Jan is arguably the leading arbitration advocate, and arbitrator, of his generation although Jan himself would be far too modest to claim any such thing. Multi-lingual, he is also an incredible multi-tasker, holding or having held many of the key jobs in the international arbitration world, including the Presidency of the London Court of International Arbitration and the World Bank Administrative Tribunal while moonlighting every few years as an on-the-spot arbitrator for the Olympic Games (someone has to be on tap to decide doping challenges). He has also written very extensively in the field, authoring two scholarly books and a slew of articles, as well as editing or contributing to the major practitioner works in his field. Indeed, I'm told that when he joins us Jan will be the most-cited member of the faculty.
Third, he’s coming to Miami to head up a new institute that will focus on international arbitration, with a particular focus on Latin America. I will have more to say about this in the future, but I think there's every reason to believe that under his leadership we should be able to build something world-class.
International arbitration is something of a poor stepchild in the US academy – we in the US are neither the primary users of it nor do we supply a particularly large share of the leading advocates (at least in private law), arbitrators, or scholars – although we do have a few domestic stars. But my sense is that US legal academics in particular do not have a visceral sense of the extent to which arbitration has come to play an essential role in the settlement of international commercial and financial disputes. (This may be because we have a reasonably functional domestic legal system or because historically so much of our trade was domestic.)
At UM we already have a healthy international arbitration curriculum, but bringing Jan Paulsson to Miami as the head of a new center will put us in the first rank of the US institutions focused on this increasingly important area of transnational law. Starting next year we will be offering an LL.M. concentration in arbitration as part of our comparative and international LL.M programs.
But to top it all, it turns out that Jan Paulsson is a very nice person – so when I say it's going to be a pleasure to have him on our faculty, that's no formality.
Formality can, however, be found below, where I quote the official announcement being issued by the law school today.