Cornell Law School has over 8,000 graduates who live and work in every state in the U.S. and throughout the world. The law school’s alumni are engaged in all areas of the law, as well as in business and other non-law careers. Many are involved in international or comparative law endeavors in private practice or public service. In 2002 almost seven hundred alumni lived and worked in sixty-three countries outside the United States.
Alumni of the law school are actively involved with the school, serving as volunteers to assist with career placement, alumni affairs, fund-raising, academic programs, and other activities. The smaller size of Cornell Law School and its location in Ithaca, New York, foster lifelong friendships established while studying at Cornell. Cornell Law School alumni often gather abroad, at events such as alumni reunions in Europe and regular gatherings of alumni in Japan.
Cornell Law School International Program Graduates Around the World
(J.D., LL.M., J.S.D.)
Jacqueline Duval-Major ’92
Jacqueline Duval-Major graduated from Cornell Law School in 1992 and started her career as a tax lawyer at Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton, where she spent two years in the New York City office and then two years in the London office, focusing mainly on cross-border transactions. She joined the Washington, D.C., office of Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft for a year, before moving in-house as a tax lawyer with the U.S. investment bank Morgan Stanley, where she spent almost five years in London. In March 2002 Ms. Duval-Major joined the equities division in the London office of Goldman Sachs. Her work involves structuring cross-border equity derivative transactions. Her day-to-day focus is on the intersection of the tax laws of many jurisdictions.
I never thought about being a tax lawyer until I tried the Federal Tax’ course in my second year at Cornell and found, to my great astonishment, that I enjoyed it. I then tried International Tax’ and found a great mentor in Professor Bob Green. I would advise students to use the variety of courses offered at Cornell Law School to try something new, and one never knows, they might find a practice area they truly enjoy but had not yet explored.
Shinya Watanabe ’84
After graduating from Keio University and the Legal Training and Research Institute of the Supreme Court of Japan, Shinya Watanabe came to Cornell Law School and earned his LL.M. degree in 1984. For more than twenty years he has practiced general corporate law, cross-border transactions, and litigation in the international context. He is a partner in the Tokyo office at Jones Day Reavis & Pogue, which has fourteen offices in Asia and Europe. His cross-border work has emphasized antitrust practice and electronic commerce. Mr. Watanabe’s professional life requires a thorough understanding of U.S. laws and the use of a comparative approach to legal issues. The Japan Law Federation appointed him as a co-researcher for its comparative study on the relationship between antitrust law and intellectual property rights in Japan, the U.S., Canada, and Europe. He is a conciliator of the Tokyo District Court and a member of the advisory council of Cornell Law School.
My study at Cornell Law School of U.S. laws, and the comparative approach to U.S. laws from the point of view of Japanese law, was a necessary and invaluable experience for me. It has been a great advantage in my career.
Xavier Blanc-Jouvan ’54
Professor Xavier Blanc-Jouvan, a native of Grenoble, France, came to Cornell Law School on a Rotary Fellowship in 1953–54. While at Cornell as a “special student” (before the establishment of the current LL.M. program) he wrote his dissertation on labor law. Upon returning to France he continued his studies, writing his doctoral thesis on labor relations in the United States. He became a professor of law, first in Madagascar, then in Aix-en-Provence, and, from 1970, at the law faculty of Université Paris I until he took emeritus status in 1999. Among many accomplishments and honors, Professor Blanc-Jouvan was co-founder and director of Paris I’s Centre d’Études Juridiques Comparatives, director of scientific work at the International Association of Legal Science (an organization of lawyers under the auspices of UNESCO), secretary-general of the French Société de Législation Comparée, director and editor-in-chief of the Revue Internationale de Droit Comparé, and a member of the International Academy of Comparative Law. He has written highly acclaimed works in French and English on comparative law and labor law. In 1995 he received France’s highest civilian award, the Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur. Professor Blanc-Jouvan was instrumental in the creation of Cornell Law School’s Summer Institute of International and Comparative Law in Paris, as well as the J.D./Maîtrise en Droit program.
The year at Cornell (1953–54) was decisive in my life. Not only did I receive a hearty welcome in the law school, where everybody was extremely kind and helpful, not only did I learn a lot in the legal field and greatly enjoy the teaching of such wonderful professors as Rudi Schlesinger, but I also made many friends on the campus and outside. I really discovered a new world. The atmosphere at Cornell was already very international, and it was the first time in my life that I could meet so many students coming from all parts of the United States and from all countries of the world. My stay at Cornell Law School, almost a half century ago, has had a decisive influence on the course of my career as a law professor. I should add that this influence has been equally important in other aspects of my life.
Mitsuru Claire Chino ’91
Claire Chino received her J.D. degree from Cornell Law School in 1991. She lives in Tokyo, where she is corporate counsel at Itochu Corporation, a global trading company headquartered in Japan. Prior to joining Itochu, Ms. Chino was a partner in a major U.S. law firm and worked in its California, Hong Kong, and Tokyo offices. Her practice primarily involved advising Japanese and U.S. clients in cross-border transactions, including joint-venture and infrastructure projects in Asia and the U.S. Ms. Chino has taught a course, “East West Negotiations,” to J.D. and LL.M. students at Temple Law School’s Tokyo campus, and teaches negotiation skills to M.B.A. students at Hitotsubashi Business School. She is active in the foreign legal community in Tokyo and serves on the board of the Foreign Women Lawyers Association.
Cornell Law School has opened so many doors in my life. The solid legal training I received has equipped me with the necessary skills to apply various legal disciplines in cross-border transactions, and today serves as a foundation of my international practice. It has also been an empowering experience to be part of the Cornell legal community and have the support of internationally recognized scholars and practitioners all over the world.
Mutheu Maitha ’00
Mutheu Maitha was born and raised in Nairobi, Kenya, and came to the United States to pursue her higher education. While completing her undergraduate degree she wrote an honors thesis on ethno-political conflict in Nigeria, Sudan, and Eritrea/Ethiopia. She also was the production manager for a documentary on AIDS, and the assistant coordinator for an emergency food program for the African Medical and Research Foundation in Kenya. Ms. Maitha decided to go to law school because she wanted to gain a better understanding of African development issues within the context of international law and comparative studies. After graduating from Cornell Law School in 2000, she joined the Washington, D.C., office of the international law firm Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton. Her practice is primarily in the areas of corporate law, securities, and other financial transactions representing major investment banks and other financial institutions--an experience that she believes will enhance her understanding of how multinational corporations and financial institutions operate within the global system. She hopes to translate her experience into assisting African countries in the creation of efficient regional trading networks and financial institutions.
Cornell Law School’s international and comparative law program taught me that the establishment of viable legal and economic systems in developing countries requires not only an appreciation for the successes of these countries and a critical look at their mistakes, but also an examination of the successes and failures of other nations. That is the only way peoples in developing countries will be able to understand why and how their institutions came to be the way they are today. Cornell Law School has a rich array of programs to facilitate this kind of learning.
Kittipong Kittayarak ’83
Kittipong Kittayarak received his first law degree from Chulalongkorn University, Thailand. He earned the LL.M. degree at Cornell Law School in 1983 and returned to Thailand, where he qualified for the Thai bar. He subsequently studied at Harvard Law School and Stanford, where he obtained another LL.M. degree and a J.S.D. degree in 1988 and 1990 respectively. Dr. Kittipong has been instrumental in shaping judicial reform in his country and serves as secretary to the Justice Reform Commission. His responsibilities include, among other things, oversight of new drug diversion programs designed to transform the handling of addicts from criminal punishment to treatment, and supervision of the major organizational reform of the Ministry of Justice of Thailand. He was recently promoted to director-general of the Department of Probation, Ministry of Justice, making him the youngest civil servant serving as director-general. Dr. Kittipong is also an advisor to the Thai Senate’s Committee on Administrative and Judicial Affairs, a lecturer at the Bar Association of Thailand, Chulalongkorn University, Thammasat University, and Ramkamhaeng University, and a frequent visiting expert at the United Nations Asia and the Far East Institute for the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders (UNAFEI) in Tokyo, Japan. He is on the board of directors of Transparency International Thailand, is Thailand’s councilor at the Law Association of Asia and the Pacific (LAWASIA), serves on the National Research Council—Legal Branch, and is on the board of trustees of Bangkok University. Among his many honors, he was selected Man of the Year by the Association for the Promotion of Women’s Status Under the Royal Patronage in 2000, was a Fulbright Scholar in 1987–90, and an Eisenhower Fellow in 2001.
The night before I flew to Ithaca in August 1981, I went with friends to Top of the Town in Washington, D.C. A singer was singing ‘New York, New York,’ the great Frank Sinatra hit. Not realizing at that moment that Ithaca, New York, is completely different from New York, New York (it was my first U.S. trip), I had the feeling, as in the lyrics to Sinatra’s song, if I can make it there [at Cornell], I’ll make it anywhere.’ And that feeling has proved to be so true!
Rejina Bhat, J.S.D. candidate
Rejina Bhat received her bachelor’s degree in law from Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu, Nepal, in 1994, earned her LL.M. from the University of Pune, India, in 1999, and was admitted to the Bar Council of Delhi, India. She is a member of the Supreme Court Bar Association of the Supreme Court of India. She is also a member of the advisory board of the Social Development, Environment Preservation, and Research Centre, Kathmandu, Nepal, and is a legal advisor to the Family Aid Program in Kathmandu. Before coming to Cornell Law School Ms. Bhat worked as an associate in Ajit K. Pande and Associates, Solicitors and Advocates, Supreme Court of India, from 1999–2001. She is a Clarke Scholar at Cornell; her area of research is the protection of women’s reproductive rights under international human-rights instruments. Her dissertation focuses on sexuality and sexual relations, marriage and family relations, reproduction, abortion, and gender discrimination. Realizing the importance and necessity of women’s freedom and empowerment, Ms. Bhat is emphasizing the central role of reproductive rights in creating autonomy in women’s personal, social, and economic conditions.
I am very impressed with Cornell Law School’s academic atmosphere, where students can get the best education as well as the opportunity to achieve their personal academic and professional goals. The professors and the administrators are friendly, helpful, and accessible. In addition, I have found that the libraries here have a magnificent collection of research materials. I am very proud to be a Cornell student and to do my J.S.D. research under the supervision of Professor Fineman.
Peter-Christian Müller-Graff ’70
Peter-Christian Müller-Graff is from Bavaria. After studying at the Universities of Göttingen, Berlin (Freie Universität), and Tübingen, and passing his first state examination in law, he came to Cornell Law School in 1969. He received his doctorate in law from Tübingen University in 1973, passed the second state examination in law in 1974, and earned his Habilitation in 1982. Dr. Müller-Graff has taught at the Universities of Tübingen, Köln, Trier (as dean of the faculty 1990–91) and, since 1994, Heidelberg, where he has been the dean of the faculty since 1999. Dr. Müller-Graff is a professor for civil law, commercial law, economic law, european law, and comparative law, the director of the Heidelberg University Institute for Economic Law and European Law, and, since 1985, a judge at the Court of Appeals. His many honors and teaching accomplishments include visiting professorships at Dresden University, Zürich University, the University of Nancy (France), Cornell Law School, the University of Bordeaux--Montesquieu (France), Georgetown University Law Center, and Nihon University (Japan). He was also named professor iuris prudentiae honoris causa at Eötvös Loránd University (Hungary), and is an honorary member of the European Community Law Moot Court Society. Dr. Müller-Graff is an Honorary Jean Monnet Professor, a European Commission designation that recognizes accomplished professors whose full-time teaching is devoted to European integration.
Cornell opened my eyes not only to the specific characteristics of American law, but also to the potential for a common core within different legal orders (in particular in contract law and commercial law). The stimulating lectures and personal advice of the faculty, as well as the cloistered atmosphere of the Cornell Law Library, made me aware of the living idea of the law beyond national frameworks. My first close personal contact with the Legal Service of the European Commission took place at Cornell, when one of its members gave a guest lecture on the developing European Community law--an area that became, and remains, one of my main research areas. The Cornell Law School experience forms an inalienable part of my evolving professional and personal biography.
Gordon G. Chang ’76
A 1976 graduate of Cornell Law School, Gordon Chang has lived and worked in China and Hong Kong for almost two decades, most recently in Shanghai, as counsel to the American law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison. His writings on China have appeared in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Far Eastern Economic Review, International Herald Tribune, Weekly Standard, and The South China Morning Post. Mr. Chang is the author of The Coming Collapse of China (Random House 2001). He has served two terms as a trustee of Cornell University.
Assume nothing when it comes to international matters. That’s the most important lesson I learned at Cornell. Except for the first three years, my practice has been exclusively devoted to international commercial transactions and litigation, and most of my career as a lawyer has been spent in Shanghai and Hong Kong. I’ve seen so many practitioners, Americans as well as others, make mistakes when they assumed that the laws of another country resembled those of their own country. Some of those mistakes were minor and others were more serious, but they all could have been avoided had they learned the lessons I was taught in Ithaca.
Sol M. Linowitz ’38
Sol Linowitz graduated from Cornell Law School in 1938, ranked first in his class and having served as editor-in-chief of the Cornell Law Review. His fellow students included William Rogers, later Secretary of State, and Edmund Muskie, later Senator, Secretary of State, and candidate for President of the United States. After law school, Ambassador Linowitz practiced law in Rochester, New York, where he was instrumental in the development of the Xerox Corporation, rising from general counsel to chairman of the board. In the course of a distinguished career he was appointed U.S. ambassador to the Organization of American States by President Johnson, practiced law at Coudert Brothers, co-negotiated (with Ellsworth Bunker) the treaty with Panama that restored Panamanian sovereignty over the Panama Canal, was chairman of the President’s Commission on World Hunger, and served as President Carter’s personal representative to the Middle East peace talks. He has been active in starting and developing a number of nonprofit organizations, including the National Urban Coalition, the International Executive Service Corps, and the Inter-American Dialogue. He is the honorary chairman of the Academy for Educational Development, which sponsors educational initiatives around the world. In 1998 Ambassador Linowitz received the United States’ highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
The test of our system of justice will be whether we learn how to serve those whose need is great by their own measurement if not ours. The pride of the profession must be that it stands ready to serve not only the rich and the mighty, but also the poor and the powerless. The program at the Cornell Law School showed us students the larger role of the law in human affairs. We were stimulated to think about the law as a tool for achieving things that couldn’t be achieved in any other way.
Nicolas Michon ’02
Born in Lyon, France, Nicolas Michon grew up in a French village. He graduated with honors in public law from the government department of the Institut d’Études Politiques de Paris before enrolling in the Cornell Law School-Université Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne joint degree program. He interned on construction sites in eastern Germany and studied in the Netherlands before coming to Ithaca. While in law school Mr. Michon clerked for Sullivan & Cromwell in their Paris office during his first summer, for Debevoise & Plimpton in New York during his second and third summers, and worked part-time in their Paris office while studying at Paris I. He also interned with a judge of the Tribunal de Commerce de Paris in his final semester at Paris I. Following his graduation with the J.D. and Maîtrise en Droit degrees, he was one of the few non-U.S. citizens to be accorded the honor of clerking for a U.S. judge, the Honorable Reginald C. Lindsay, District of Massachusetts. Following his clerkship, Mr. Michon intends to pursue a career in international litigation.
Cornell definitely made a difference in my life. Its nurturing environment, especially the faculty and the other students, allowed me to grow professionally, intellectually, and as a person. The J.D./Maîtrise en Droit program is an excellent training for those wishing to engage in international practice, because it is one of the few programs that allow students to learn how to function in two radically different legal systems.
Delphine Simon ’02
Delphine Simon was born in Paris and grew up in its suburbs. Before coming to Cornell Law School in 1998 to begin the J.D./Maîtrise en Droit program, she studied law for two years at Assas in Paris. While a law student, Ms. Simon worked in several international human-rights nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), including a project for Human Rights Watch, under the direction of Professor David Wippman, involving an indictment for crimes against humanity. She also worked on the issue of the International Criminal Court for the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights. Upon her graduation from the joint degree program in 2002, she expects to work for a large firm but hopes to continue her human-rights activities.
Cornell has been the most important and enriching experience of my life. I learned about a different culture, a different language, a different judicial system. But most importantly, I met extraordinary people--professors and students--who changed my way of looking at the world.
Mark Brewer ’03
Raised in Guntersville, Alabama, Mark Brewer graduated from Samford University, Birmingham, Alabama, and was a Rotary Scholar at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, for a year. Named a Truman Scholar, he studied at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, earning a doctorate in international relations. He then received a Robert Bosch Foundation fellowship and worked for a year in Germany for the Federal Finance Ministry and the Bundesrat. Mr. Brewer was attracted to Cornell Law School specifically because of its unique joint degree program with Humboldt University in Berlin. After his first two years at Cornell, during which he attended the Paris Summer Institute and was the articles editor of the Cornell International Law Journal, he went to Berlin as the first United States J.D./M.LL.P. student. He clerked with Linklaters in its London office during his second law school summer and worked in the firm’s Frankfurt office during his first internship in the M.LL.P. program. Mr. Brewer received a DAAD scholarship from the German government in support of his studies at Humboldt. Upon graduation in 2003, he expects to pursue a career in securities law, capital markets, and European law.
The reason I went to Cornell is its international program. It is exactly what I was looking for. The depth and breadth of the international program is phenomenal, and provides exactly the type of education I hoped to find.
Juan Carlos Esguerra ’73
Juan Carlos Esguerra, the son of a law professor who was Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Colombia, came to Cornell Law School in 1972, after receiving his law degree at the Universidad Javeriana in Bogotá, Colombia. The recipient of a Fulbright-Hays travel grant and a Benito Juarez grant, he was the first Colombian student to enroll in Cornell Law School. While at Cornell, the chairman of his thesis committee was Professor John J. Barceló, whom he describes today as a mentor and a friend. Returning to Bogotá, Ambassador Esguerra took a teaching position on the law faculty at Universidad Javeriana and accepted a position at the Ministry of Communications in 1974, becoming Vice Minister before going into private practice in 1977. Today he is a senior partner in Esguerra, Gamba, Barrera, Arriaga & Asociados, where he has a vigorous practice in administrative and constitutional law. He served as the dean of the law faculty at Universidad Javeriana from 1992 to 1995 and has also taught at the Universidad Externado de Colombia and the Colegio Mayor de Nuestra Señora del Rosario. Called again to public life, he served as Colombia’s Minister of Defense from 1995 to 1997 and was Colombia’s ambassador to the United States from 1997 to 1998. In 1991 he was elected to the Constitutional Assembly, effectively a people’s congress, that drafted a historic new constitution for Colombia.
While at Cornell Law School I especially loved the library. I would say to anyone, if you are in need of recharging your batteries, intellectual and spiritual, you have only to step into the library, breathe in deeply and fill your head with that air.
Franci J. Blassberg ’77
Raised in Greenfield, Massachusetts, Franci Blassberg majored in history at Cornell and graduated from Cornell Law School in 1977 magna cum laude. She is a partner at Debevoise & Plimpton in New York City, specializing in corporate mergers and acquisitions, as well as capital markets, securities, and financing. She was named one of the leading lawyers in New York City in private equity, buyouts, and investments in Chambers Global: The World’s Leading Lawyers 2002–03. She co-chairs the annual Advanced American Law Institute-American Bar Association course of study on corporate mergers and acquisitions. Much of her practice involves cross-border transactions.
Studying at Cornell Law School broadened my world-view. It helped me learn to think strategically and globally. People are sometimes misled by the law school’s location in Ithaca; there is nothing insular about Cornell. The view from Ithaca is of our global legal environment, and I’m proud to have been introduced to its scope and possibilities as a student there.
Stephen Yale-Loehr ’81
Stephen Yale-Loehr grew up in Ithaca, where his father taught engineering at Cornell. After high school he studied in Japan for a year before attending Cornell for undergraduate studies and law school. He was editor-in-chief of the Cornell International Law Journal and received his J.D. degree with specialization in international legal affairs. After clerking for a U.S. district judge, he worked in Washington, D.C., practicing international trade and immigration law, editing immigration law and policy news publications, and serving as a nonresident senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, where he co-authored Balancing Interests: Rethinking the Selection of Skilled Immigrants. He has taught immigration and refugee law at Cornell Law School as an adjunct professor since 1991, having previously taught in that capacity at Georgetown University Law Center. Mr. Yale-Loehr now lives and works in Ithaca, where he is of counsel at True, Walsh & Miller, specializing in a national practice of immigration law. He is the co-author of Immigration Law and Procedure, the leading multi-volume treatise in the field, and received the Elmer Fried Excellence in Teaching Award from the American Immigration Lawyers Association in 2001. He is frequently quoted in the national press and has testified before the U.S. Congress on immigration policy issues.
Cornell Law School has played a pivotal role in my legal career. Its breadth of international courses and the focus on policy aspects of the law really have stood me in good stead over the years. I am glad I can give back to my alma mater by teaching at the law school and contributing to its international reputation.