At the forefront of my work at academic institutions on both sides of the Atlantic the first priority lies with issues of “The Global Lawyer”, the second priority lies with “Law and Innovation” and “The Role of the Corporate Sector in International Governance” and thirdly, on a longer-term perspective, with the “Concept and outline of a US-Swiss cultural exchange”. I (Prof. Jens Drolshammer) teach exclusively at the University of St. Gallen, specifically on the subjects of “American Legal Culture”, “Legal Professions” and “Professional Service Firms”. After retiring in 2009, my work on the “Anthology of Swiss Legal Culture” project and an oral history project on “Die Internationalisierung der Schweizerischen Rechtskultur” are in the foreground.
The “play” element (as in work & play) consists of having moved the focus of my academic research to the Anglo-Saxon world, initially to Cambridge, Mass., where the Graduate Schools of Harvard University and MIT are located. This came out of an invitation I received to be a Visiting Scholar and Fellow at Harvard Law School in the spring term of 1999. The period I spent working there was both intense and creative; much of my professional life had been compressed into the narrow confines of a large commercial law firm, and rather late in the day, I found my eyes and senses opened to new and different things again. As I (Prof. Jens Drolshammer) had intended, this move led to a kind of actual and virtual semi-migration on the level of academic issues, mainly in the area of research, with the emphasis on specific themes and particular projects. The opportunities in terms of infrastructure, contacts, co-operation and work in the widest sense offered by these – and other – U.S. academic institutions are tempting. The versatility, the degree of networking, the level of ambition and the realistic attitudes of these institutions appeals to me at this stage of my life, as does their cultural, spiritual and intellectual openness — regardless of the fact that all this is happening — in the eye of the hurricane — at a time when the U.S., even in the academic world, is going through an inward-looking phase.
Jens Drolshammer is fortunate to be able to work regularly as a Visiting Research Professor and Senior Fellow at the European Center for Law Research with Professor David Kennedy, where I am surrounded by other teachers and researchers who have become friends, such as Detlev Vagts, Mary Ann Glenden, William Alford, Arthur Miller, Reinier Kraakman, Peter Murray and Harry S. Martin III, and am able to participate actively in the life of this institution. The Kennedy School for Government is of particular interest to me because of its coherent policy approach and the wide-ranging manner in which it has dealt with the phenomenon of globalization, and I am working there in co-operation with the Center for Business and Government headed by Professor John Ruggie alongside the former Academic Dean Fred Schauer, Louis Branscomb and Viktor Mayer-Schönberger. I am especially interested in issues relating to the emancipation and the integration of the corporate sector into the theory of international governance, as proposed by Joseph Nye, Jr., the former Dean of the Kennedy School for Government.
In addition to teaching at Harvard University’s graduate schools, I will have the opportunity to spend time at other universities over the coming years, e.g. the University of Michigan law school, where I myself was a student, and the Global Law Program at the New York University law school. In both cases, I have enjoyed a close professional and personal relationship with various professors over many years and have also received invitations to take up a fellowship. Whether I take these up must, however, depend on whether this can be reconciled with my first priority: the needs of my family and young children.
In Switzerland, too I will be working together with specific academic institutions, in an issue-focused way. Professor Günter Mueller-Stewens, has arranged personal and professional access for me as a Senior Fellow at the Institute for Management at the University of St. Gallen, where I am particularly interested in the thinking about company theory. I also have the opportunity to join in the work of the Chair of Security Policy of Professor Andreas Wenger at the Center for International Studies at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich, based on the fact that I contributed ideas and otherwise helped in producing Andreas Wenger and Daniel Möckli’s book, “Conflict Prevention, the Untapped Potential of the Business Sector”. Here, the main topics of interest will be issues in international relations and security policy, whereas my work with Prof. Thomas Cottier at the World Trade Institute at the University of Berne focuses on questions of international commercial law. As a senior Fellow I have access to libraries, researchers and scholars as well as to the activities of various institutions. In that sense, these institutions are part of a tailor-made network that will ensure I maintain a sense of home in my work. Those who are in charge of the Institute have long since become friends.
Time will tell
Presently Jens Drolshammer institutionally is only affiliated with Harvard University. Since 2014 He is a faculty associate of the Berkman Klein center for Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University. He works under the direction of professor Dr. Urs Gasser, the executive director of the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society of Harvard University and Professor of Practice at Harvard Law School.