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California Life Fellow Robert Lutz

August 15, 2014, Fellows in the news

Professor Robert Lutz Honored as International Lawyer of the Year by the State Bar of California International Law Section

The State Bar of California International Law Section has selected Professor Robert E. Lutz to receive the 2014 Warren M. Christopher International Lawyer of the Year Award. The honor is bestowed by the International Law Section on "legal practitioners who render extraordinary service to our profession in the field of international law." The first award was presented posthumously to former U.S. Secretary of State Warren Minor Christopher in 2011, and the annual award was then named in his honor.

According to S. Elizabeth Foster, Chair of the International Law Section and a partner in the Los Angeles office of the global law firm Dentons, "Professor Lutz was chosen to receive this award based on his long and distinguished service as a practitioner and teacher of best practices in international legal matters and a stalwart promoter of the international rule of law. We are truly delighted to be presenting this award to Professor Lutz. He is an inspiration to his peers and students alike."

A reception honoring Professor Lutz will be held during the State Bar's Annual Meeting in San Diego, California, at the Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel on Saturday, September 13, 2014 from 6:00 to 7:30 pm. The reception is open to all Annual Meeting attendees as well as special guests.

Upon learning of his selection, Professor Lutz said, "I am especially pleased to receive the award that by its name honors Warren Christopher. His many contributions as a great international lawyer, public servant and diplomat reflect qualities I have admired and attempted to emulate throughout my career. As an academic and practitioner, I have dedicated myself to advancing the rule-of-law through my academic work and service to the profession. And Southwestern - with which I have been associated as a professor of law for over 36 years - has been a steady financial and institutional supporter of my many forms of service to the profession. Being recognized by my practitioner peers is a very special honor. I am deeply grateful to the Section, Southwestern, my family and my teachers and mentors for this honor." 

One of legal education's foremost authorities on international public and private law, Robert Lutz has held the top posts in several of the most influential organizations in the international law community. He brings extensive real-world experience to the classroom and wants to ensure that his students "understand the cross-cultural concerns that come into play in transnational negotiations, performing international agreements, and in resolving international disputes."

"Through his prolific leadership in the major international law organizations and service on many influential advisory boards, Professor Lutz has done so much to further a focus on international law and business, not only here in California but throughout the U.S. and beyond," Dean Prager said. "Of course, legal education has benefitted greatly from his influence as well. At the time he began teaching well over three decades ago, around the country there were few senior law professors working in international or comparative law, and even fewer who were focused on international business and trade. At Southwestern over the years, Bob has been an irrepressible, enthusiastic driving force, playing a major role in the development of our international and comparative law curriculum of more than three dozen courses and seminars, the Journal of International Law, and award-winning interscholastic student advocacy teams, as well as numerous externships and summer study and exchange programs throughout the western hemisphere and abroad. On behalf of Southwestern, I want to thank the International Law Section of the California State Bar for recognizing Professor Robert Lutz with this tremendous and well-deserved honor."

Professor Lutz chaired the American Bar Association's Section of International Law (now 25,000 members), as well as the international law sections of the Association of American Law Schools and the Los Angeles County Bar Association, and was a co-founder of The State Bar of California International Law Section and the first editor of two of its international publications - the California Bar International Law Section Newsletter and the California International Practitioner (now The California International Law Journal).

The U.S. State Department, the World Trade Organziation (WTO), the U.S. Trade Representative and other entities often seek Professor Lutz's counsel. He serves as a member of the State Department Legal Adviser's Advisory Committee on International Law and of the NAFTA Advisory Committee on Private Commercial Dispute Resolution. He has been a member of arbitration panels under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the U.S.-Canada Free Trade Agreement, was founding Board of Directors chair of the Center for International Commercial Arbitration, and a member of the WTO panel on goods and services disputes. He arbitrates private commercial and public (e.g., NAFTA and WTO) disputes.

As the Chair of the ABA's International Trade in Legal Services Task Forces (ITILS), he led the U.S. legal profession's efforts to liberalize access for U.S. lawyers to a large variety of foreign jurisdictions. He participated in the work of the ABA Commission on Ethics 20/20, an effort to assess the impacts of technology and globalization on the legal profession and to propose reforms. He currently serves on the Standing Committee on Professionalism and organized efforts - with the support of the ABA Center of Human Rights' Executive Council on which he was a member - to have the American legal profession represented at the Business and Human Rights Forum of the UN Council on Human Rights in Geneva in 2012 and 2013. As a Life-Member of the American Law Institute, he is chairing a Blue Ribbon Working Group on the Restatement of Foreign Relations Law of the United States (Fourth), and he remains an active member of the American Bar Foundation Fellows' Research Advisory Council.

As a law student at the University of California, Berkeley ("Berkeley Law"), Professor Lutz was a co-founder of the Ecology Law Quarterly, the first environmental law journal in the U.S. He is the author or editor of several books as well as a myriad of book chapters and hundreds of law journal articles on a broad range of international legal topics. He served as editor-in-chief of leading periodicals including The International Lawyer (1983-87) ("TIL") and organized and was the first editor (1996-97) of the influential "Year-in-Review," published annually in TIL. He is also a member of nearly a dozen editorial advisory boards of international law publications, and has presented papers at scores of legal conferences and public hearings around the world. Professor Lutz led or participated in legal exchanges with the bars and law societies of China, Cuba, Scotland, Ireland, India, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Brazil, South Africa, Lebanon, Syria and Iran. He also hosted summits of legal bar leaders from the regions of Asia, Latin America and Europe.

At Southwestern, Professor Lutz teaches Public International Law ("Transnational Law"), International Business Transactions, International Litigation and Arbitration, and International Trade Law, and has co-designed a new skills and writing course to be taught with practitioners entitled "International Law in Practice." He has taught the advanced legal writing seminar for the Southwestern Journal of International Law, for which he also serves as Faculty Advisor. In addition, he has coordinated a number of Journal-sponsored symposia, the most recent of which examined the future of international law. He teaches regularly in the Summer Law Consortium program in Guanajuato, Mexico, has taught in Southwestern's Buenos Aires program, organized and directed the first ABA-accredited law study program in China, and was instrumental in establishing Southwestern's LL.M. program.

 Professor Lutz began his legal career as a judicial clerk to Chief Judge Edward Schwartz of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California. He subsequently practiced law with the firm of Pillsbury, Madison & Sutro, served as Deputy Regional Counsel of the Federal Energy Administration, directed the Institute of Coastal Law and Management at the University of Southern California, and served on the faculties of USC, UCLA, and McGeorge Law Schools. Professor Lutz joined Southwestern in 1978, and has since been the recipient of the law school's Irwin R. Buchalter, Paul E. Treusch and Justice Marshall F. McComb Professorships. He has also received the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Fellowship at the Universities of Munchen and Augsburg.

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