This fall, Brooklyn Law School welcomed seven new members to the faculty. The group includes three tenure-track faculty professors, Frederic Bloom, Brian Lee, and Minor Myers; two legal writing instructors, Joy Kanwar and Tom Lin; and two new members of its Visiting Assistant Professor Program, Patricia Judd and Charles Korsmo. These professors not only bring considerable professional experience, but an impressive body of legal scholarship in the areas of corporate finance and governance, real property, intellectual property, civil procedure, international environmental law, and the law of war.
“We continue to add to our energetic and productive faculty,” said Dean Joan G. Wexler. “Already these new members of our community are fine teachers and scholars. It will be exciting to watch their careers develop.”
Frederic Bloom: Expert in Civil Procedure
Frederic Bloom joined Brooklyn Law School as Associate Professor of Law and is teaching Civil Procedure and Evidence. He most recently taught at the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law as a Visiting Professor, and previously at Saint Louis University School of Law. His background also includes clerkships with Judge Sidney R. Thomas of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and Judge Marilyn Hall Patel of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. A graduate of Washington University in St. Louis (where he triple majored and played soccer), Bloom received his J.D. from Stanford University Law School.
Professor Bloom began his teaching career as a Junior High School teacher in his native Colorado, where he taught English and History. A natural in the classroom, Bloom said that his approach to teaching is a “soft” Socratic method. His goal is to get students to answer the questions succinctly and with confidence, and acquire a set of essential legal tools. “I hope that my students learn how to unpack cases, how to put policy together with application, and walk away with a coherent set of skills that they can apply to any set of legal problems with appropriate confidence. From a big picture perspective I hope they see that these are really terrific puzzles that aren’t easy to solve but are fun to engage.”
Bloom has also produced an impressive record of scholarship that focuses on procedural issues and modern federal courts. His articles have appeared in the Cornell Law Review, Washington University Law Review, and the Saint Louis University Law Journal. His most recent article, “Jurisdiction’s Noble Lie,” published in the Stanford Law Review, recounts jurisdiction’s foundations—its tests and motives, its histories and rules -- and then seeks out jurisdictional reality, critically examining a side of jurisdiction he argues we too often overlook. “Legal jurisdiction may portray itself as fixed and unyielding, as natural as the force of gravity, and as stable as the firmest ground,” explained Bloom, “but jurisdiction is in fact something different. It is a malleable legal invention that bears a false rigid front.” In his article, Bloom explains the historical reasons for the veneer of logic behind jurisdiction. He concludes:
“This study does not mean to excuse the inexcusable. It hopes instead to offer new insight on an old problem. And it helps to make sense of why jurisdiction’s lie has so long endured.”
|Prof. Brian Lee|
Brian Lee: Philosophy Scholar
Brian Lee joined Brooklyn Law School as an Assistant Professor teaching International Law and Property following a year-long clerkship with Judge Ralph K. Winter of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
He is a graduate of Yale Law School and holds two degrees in philosophy: a Masters from University of California, Los Angeles; and a Ph.D. from Princeton University. His undergraduate degree is from the University of California, Berkeley in Classical Civilizations. He is the recipient of multiple honors and awards, including the Nathan Burkan Prize at Yale for the best paper in copyright law, selection as a Ramsey Fellow at Princeton, the Wooden Fellowship at UCLA, and highest distinction in general scholarship as an undergraduate at Berkeley. During law school, he was a book reviews and features editor for the Yale Law Journal.
Professor Lee’s research interests include property, intellectual property, and international law. He recently published “Preventive War, Deterrent Retaliation, and Retrospective Disproportionality,” which grew out of questions arising from the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Published in the Brigham Young University Law Review, the article examines the intrinsic moral and strategic logic of preventive war strategies and deterrence strategies in international affairs. “There’s been a great deal of debate in the wake of 9/11 about the legal and moral permissibility of preventive war. That debate occurs on a background assumption that deterrence strategies are legally straightforward and relatively unproblematic,” he explained. “What this paper does is call that into question. I argue that deterrence and preventive war have more in common than is typically noticed and that the issue is more complex than previously recognized.”
Professor Lee’s current research project explores the analytical underpinnings of statutes granting moral rights to artists in the United States. He argues that there is a moral duty of respect that is driving these statutes. Another work in progress relates to government compensation for the emergency destruction of private property.
While he is no longer formally involved in the study of philosophy, Lee explained that a background in philosophy has motivated him to analyze the role of morality in shaping the law. “Part of what I find interesting about the law is exploring areas where there is a moral component taking place, and trying to bring it to the front so we can see what the implicit moral principles are in a body or system of beliefs. Philosophy helps open up new possibilities for analysis. It shows us that there are dimensions of problems that may have been overlooked, which in turn can shape debates about whether a law is a good idea or not.”
His philosophy schooling has also influenced his teaching. He said that he tries to get his students to search for what is controversial or unknown in the law. “If you open a commercial outline you might get a comforting sense that the law is straight-forward, and that if you learn the outline, you know the law. But in the real world, law is not straight-forward. I want my students to reach for the point where things are unclear, where positions are controversial. Even if it’s less satisfying, it’s more accurate, and in the long term, more interesting and exciting.”
|Prof. Minor Myers|
Minor Myers: Corporate Lawyer Turned Professor
Minor Myers first joined Brooklyn Law School in 2007 as part of the Visiting Assistant Professor Program, which offers young legal minds an opportunity to prepare for a career in teaching law. Professor Myers spent two productive years at the Law School, receiving mentoring and feedback from colleagues in his teaching and scholarship. After his term was up, he was invited to stay on as Assistant Professor of Law teaching Corporate Finance, Advanced Topics in Corporate Law, and Property.
A graduate of Connecticut College and Yale Law School, Myers was in private practice in the Corporate and Litigation Departments at Debevoise & Plimpton prior to teaching. Following law school, he clerked first for Judge Peter W. Hall and then Judge Ralph K. Winter, both of whom sit on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
Myers’ research interests are in the areas of corporate law and local government law. His most recent paper addresses the decisions of corporate special litigation committees. The article, which was published in the Indiana Law Journal (2009), examined the decisions of about a hundred special litigation committees and found that these committees behave more responsibly than previously thought. “My research validates the position of the courts, who defer to these committees,” said Myers. “It’s not the sham that some commentators thought.”
Myers said his future scholarship will focus on executive compensation and proposals for salary reform, and the history and development of corporate law. He is also interested in researching and writing about using the framework of corporations and corporate law and applying that to local governments. “In many ways these local governments are similar to business organizations where everyone is a shareholder,” he said. “I think there is a lot to learn by thinking of the issues in the same way.”
Myers is enjoying life as a professor at the Law School. “The students are great -- they are bright and hard-working,” he said. “And the life of the law school is phenomenal. The faculty are supportive, and it's especially nice to have so many other junior faculty as colleagues.”
|Prof. Joy Kanwar|
Joy Kanwar: Litigation Attorney Joins Legal Writing Faculty
Professor Joy Kanwar joined the legal writing faculty this fall from private practice where she was a senior staff associate at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP. She practiced at that firm from 2001-2008 and focused on the areas of complex mass torts and insurance litigation, general litigation, products liability, securities litigation, and general torts and contract law. Prior to work at Skadden, she was a legal information analyst at lawnavigator.com.
Professor Kanwar is a graduate of New College and Vermont Law School, where she was the editor of Res Communes, the school’s environmental law journal. Her article, "Preserving Gypsy Culture through Romani Law in America," was published in the Vermont Law Review. Kanwar also holds an M.S.E.L (Masters of Studies in Environmental Law) from Vermont Law School.
Her research interests are in the areas of comparative domestic and international environmental law, torts, and products liability, and she hopes that in addition to her legal writing courses she will have the opportunity to teach a course in environmental law or comparative international environmental law in the future.
Kanwar said that she enjoys bringing the real world into the classroom by having one or two colleagues from the field join the classroom discussion and run simulations with students. “They grill the students and treat them just like they would in an office setting. It’s instructive for students to deal with real attorneys, and they see that it’s not just about the answer, but that it’s about how we think about this problem in terms of a possible settlement.” Kanwar noted how her students really light up on these days. “They are excited about the prospect of joining the legal profession and seeing that what they do makes a difference.”
|Prof. Tom Lin|
Tom Lin: Legal Writing Instructor Focuses on Corporate Law
Tom Lin joined the legal writing faculty from the Investor Protection Bureau of the New York State Attorney General’s Office. Before that he was an associate with the Corporate Department of Davis Polk & Wardwell. Professor Lin received his undergraduate degree in Economics and Metropolitan Studies from New York University and his law degree from the University of Pennsylvania. In his third year of law school he was awarded an Arthur Littleton Fellowship to teach legal writing. He also was a senior editor of the Journal of Constitutional Law and the Journal of Law & Social Change.
Lin is excited to return to academia and is looking forward to devoting more time to scholarly writing. His most recent article, “Undressing the CEO: Disclosing Private, Material Matters of Public Company Executives,” published in the University of Pennsylvania Journal of Business Law, concerns the privacy rights of public company executives. Lin argues that while more information has become available about publicly traded companies, not enough information is available about the executives who run them. “The growing regulatory spotlight on public companies has created a penumbra over their boardrooms and executive suites, leaving investors without critical information. To deal with this regulatory gap, he advocates for “increasing regulated disclosure of private, material information concerning public company executives based on an examination of the changing investor landscape, the elevated position of the executive, and equalizing role of regulated disclosure in the modern information age.” The article sets forth a model for sensitive disclosures that “works within the current federal securities apparatus with minimal burdens on the disclosing party and increased information to the investing public.”
Lin’s current research is in the area of reconfiguring securities risk. As part of his research, Lin reviewed risk factor disclosure of key players in the financial meltdown. “The paper I am writing discusses the shortcomings of the current disclosure framework and how we should address those shortcomings in light of studies on cognitive limitations that challenge the rational man assumption in securities regulation.”
Visiting Assistant Professors Judd and Korsmo Join the Faculty
Brooklyn Law School’s Visiting Assistant Professor Program offers the country’s brightest legal minds a unique opportunity to prepare for a career teaching law. The Law School’s VAPs, as they are known, typically spend two academic years in residence, teaching one course each semester. During this time they not only gain teaching experience, but they also are offered the rare opportunity to devote substantial time to scholarly research and writing projects. During their stay, they receive valuable feedback and are mentored by Brooklyn’s faculty members and have the opportunity to participate in colloquia, conferences, and other BLS programs. This year the Law School welcomes Patricia Judd and Charles Korsmo to the VAP program.
|Prof. Patricia Judd|
Patricia Judd joins the Law School after seven years with the Association of American Publishers in Washington, D.C., where she most recently served as Executive Director, International Copyright Enforcement and Trade Policy. Prior to that, she was a trademark attorney with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and an international consultant to the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission in Sydney, Australia.
While Professor Judd speaks very fondly about her tenure at the Association of American Publishers, she said she is thrilled to have the chance to work in academia. “I remember when I was in law school asking one of my teachers, ‘How do I get your job?’ The advice I received was, ‘Go do something that you are passionate about and build a reputation in your field and then you can bring that knowledge to your teaching.’ So this idea of teaching has been percolating for a while.”
Judd, who is also a writer and a musician (she plays piano, guitar, and the flute), began her term as a VAP this fall teaching International Intellectual Property Law. Next semester she will teach Copyright Law. Her coursework draws on years of experience as an international trade attorney who holds an L.L.M. in intellectual property law from George Washington University Law School and a J.D. from Vanderbilt University School of Law.
Judd’s scholarship interests concern the intersection of intellectual property rights protection and international law, with a focus on international trade. Her current project concentrates on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs) implementation in emerging and developing economies, and how particular provisions in the agreement provide either clarity or ambiguity in the quest for World Trade Organization (WTO) compliance by countries with varying socio-economic, cultural or legal norms and priorities.
As a professor of international law, she hopes that her students learn to be comfortable with the law as pliable and ever-changing. “Law students tend to categorize things too much,” she said. “They want to put everything in these neat little boxes, and the one thing I love about the world of international law is that lines are dotted not solid. Students are used to a U.S. common law where there is a case, and a holding, but international law doesn’t work that way. I want them to be comfortable with unanswered questions, because that is the crux of the fascinating work.”
|Prof. Charles Korsmo|
Charles Korsmo also began his term as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Law, teaching Torts this semester and Land Use Controls in the spring. Korsmo holds a B.S. in Physics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a J.D. from Yale Law School. He was a litigator with Sullivan & Cromwell, where he worked on multi-billion dollar lawsuits in the areas of real estate, shareholder derivative actions, and tax disputes. Prior to private practice, he clerked with Judge Ralph K. Winter of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. His background also includes work as a special assistant with the Environmental Protection Agency and work with several U.S. House of Representatives committees, including the House Policy Committee and the Homeland Security Committee, where he was one of its four founding policy analysts.
In a previous life, Korsmo was a professional actor. Between the ages of ten and thirteen, he appeared in several major motion pictures including Dick Tracy, What About Bob?, and Hook. His last hurrah was in college when he starred in Can’t Hardly Wait. Korsmo admits that he does occasionally draw upon his experience as an actor in the practice of law. “It helps with the stage fright of standing in front of almost one hundred first-year students,” he joked. “I hope that my acting training helps my lawyering. It certainly makes me a bit more comfortable in front of crowds. The only thing is that as a lawyer I have to write all my lines.”
Korsmo has indeed been writing his own lines, so to speak. He has authored works in the areas of securities law, the history of corporate law, and corporate governance. In his recent article, “The Financial Crisis and the Business Judgment Rule,” published in Corporate Governance Advisor, Korsmo summarized two circuit court opinions involving bank mergers that were decided in the wake of the current financial crisis. “The boards of directors of these banks rushed through merger decisions and were later sued by creditors and banks and shareholders for hurriedly accepting deals,” explained Korsmo. “The courts refused to question the judgment of the boards in light of both the extraordinary circumstances and government pressure. This was the first indication that the Business Judgment Rule is in full flower, and that courts will not undo the mergers and other actions that took place.”
Korsmo is also interested in the intersection of securities law and tort law. He is researching the Fraud on the Market Doctrine in securities class action lawsuits and arguing against the gate-keeping requirement of an efficient market for claims of market manipulation.