STANFORD, Calif., February 14, 2008—Stanford Law School today announced that O’Melveny & Myers law firm and a number of its current and retired partners have committed $1.5 million over five years to permanently endow the Warren Christopher Professorship of the Practice of International Law and Diplomacy. The gift is one of the largest from a law firm to fund a faculty position at the law school.
The joint appointment between Stanford Law School and the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI) was first established as a visiting position in fall 2003 to pay tribute to Warren Christopher, a former Secretary of State of the United States and an alumnus of Stanford Law School. Christopher is considered by many to be the consummate lawyer-statesman—multifaceted and unsurpassed in his ability to bridge the gap between national interests and global affairs, and public service and private enterprise. Among his many accomplishments, his negotiations played a key role in the release of American hostages in Iran; he chaired the commission that investigated the Rodney King assault and subsequent riots in Los Angeles; and he served on the California Hate Crimes Task Force. Today he continues as a senior partner at O’Melveny & Myers, and is co-chair—along with former Secretary James A. Baker III—of the National War Powers Commission.
“This gift, in honor of one of the nation’s greatest statesmen, provides a lasting endowment to support the study and teaching of international issues that impact the world and its future,” said Stanford Law School Dean Larry Kramer. “What we teach our students about practicing law in a global context—whether it’s about easing relationships between governments, or conducting cross-border transactional work for private parties—has been profoundly shaped by all that Warren Christopher has accomplished over his lifetime.”
Because most lawyers have a multinational dimension to their practice today, the law school is expanding its international law program and shaping its entire curriculum to better prepare its graduates to practice across national borders. The Warren Christopher chair is a key part of that transformation.
“We are delighted to support the Christopher chair and thereby to recognize Warren Christopher’s many accomplishments, and his continuing example and service,” said A.B. Culvahouse, chairman of O’Melveny & Myers. “The values that Chris represents are those of our firm, and we are pleased that the Christopher chair will continue to honor Warren Christopher’s excellence, leadership and citizenship.”
Stanford Law School’s innovative curriculum immerses students in the theory and practice of international law through combined legal, business organization, and policy studies. The faculty approaches international law not just as a subject for academic inquiry but also as a force for change in the world. They fundamentally understand how law operates in relation to governments, international organizations, and the global economy because they have practiced international law in these contexts. For example, faculty who teach public international law and international human rights have served as lawyers in the U.S. Department of State and litigated terrorism cases before the Supreme Court of the United States. Faculty who teach international deal making and arbitration have completed complex international transactions and litigated disputes over international agreements. Along with teaching international human rights law, international criminal law, and international administrative law, the law school also teaches international trade, international business, comparative law, international tax, international administrative law—and the interplay between public and private law in the global arena.
The idea for the Christopher chair was driven by Stanford Law School alumnus Richard L. Morningstar, former U.S. Ambassador to the European Union, and his wife Faith Morningstar. Many other supporters joined the Morningstars in initially underwriting the professorship, including Edison International and the Carnegie Corporation of New York, of which Christopher is a former chairman. O’Melveny & Myers partner Steve Warren spearheaded the firm’s gift effort.
"We are so pleased that O’Melveny & Myers has chosen to give this magnificent gift in honor of one of the most inspirational statesmen of the 20th century," said Coit D. Blacker, director of FSI. "This gift will ensure that Warren Christopher's legacy, his commitment to public policy, and his exemplary service to our nation will live on for generations of Stanford students."
In 2003, Allen S. Weiner was appointed as the inaugural Warren Christopher Professor of the Practice of International Law and Diplomacy as a visiting chair, both to Stanford Law School and the Stanford Institute for International Studies (the precursor to FSI). Weiner is a former State Department attaché and legal counselor for the U.S. Embassy in The Hague, and is involved in the effort to stop global proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. During his tenure as Warren Christopher Professor of the Practice of International Law and Diplomacy, Weiner taught and conducted research in the fields of public international law and foreign relations law of the United States. Weiner remains at Stanford Law School as a senior lecturer in international law, co-director of the Stanford Program in International Law, and co-director of the Stanford Center on International Conflict and Negotiation (SCICN).
Following Allen Weiner, William H. Taft IV was appointed to the Warren Christopher Professorship of the Practice of International Law and Diplomacy through the 2007-2008 school year, teaching Contemporary Issues in International Law and Diplomacy and Foreign Relations Law. Like Weiner, he also joined FSI at Stanford as a visiting scholar. Taft is a former Deputy Secretary of Defense and U.S. Ambassador to NATO. He served at the Federal Trade Commission, in the Office of Management and Budget, was general counsel at the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare, and was the U.S. Department of State's Legal Advisor, the highest legal position in the department. Taft also worked for several years in private practice, and is currently of counsel in the Washington D.C. office of Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson.
About Stanford Law School
Stanford Law School is one of the nation’s leading institutions for legal scholarship and education. Its alumni are among the most influential decision makers in law, politics, business, and high technology. Faculty members argue before the Supreme Court, testify before Congress, and write books and articles for academic audiences, as well as the popular press. Along with offering traditional law school classes, the school has embraced new subjects and new ways of teaching.
About the Freeman Spogli Institute
The Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI) is Stanford University's primary center for rigorous and innovative research on the major international issues and challenges of our time. FSI builds on Stanford's impressive intellectual strengths and exacting academic standards through interdisciplinary research conducted by its university-wide faculty, researchers, and visiting scholars.