The Center, directed by Professor Curtis J. Milhaupt, embodies Columbia’s leadership in the field of Japanese law. It initiates and administers a range of research projects, academic exchanges, and informal programs designed to enhance understanding of the Japanese legal system among the Columbia University community and beyond. Among the Center’s programmatic offerings are courses, faculty and student exchanges, speaker series, a public interest fellowship, assistance with student legal employment in Japan, and conferences in Tokyo.
Columbia Law School's Center for Japanese Legal Studies turns 35 this year, a coming of age that coincides with enormous changes in the Japanese legal system, many influenced by the exchange of ideas and professionals the Center has fostered. Columbia Law School, the first law school in the United States to offer courses in Japanese law, now has about 400 graduates - both Japanese and American - working in Japan as lawyers, academics, judges, and government officials. These Columbia graduates have been instrumental in reforming the judicial system and modernizing the practice of law in Japan, reforms that are shaping the future of Japanese society.
The Center maintains extensive ties to Columbia’s Weatherhead East Asian Institute and the Business School’s Center on Japanese Economy and Business.