Academic Encounters - The Salon

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[ Cultural Encounters ]  

Where good opportunities arise we invite acquaintances and colleagues who are also friends to come to Switzerland with a selected group of their friends. Generally speaking, the guests consist of visiting professors who are teaching in Switzerland and are special guests at universities in Switzerland, are holding lectures at Swiss societies or are traveling during their university vacations. Each invited speaker is given free reign in choosing what guests to invite. The host will normally invite between 5 and 20 friends and colleagues of his choice. Most of the guests and friends and acquaintances of Jens Drolshammer.

The emphasis is on direct engagement. The discussions are informal and not open to the public. These encounters aim to contribute to providing hosts with an international presence in Zurich and attempt to expand and improve on existing networks. We want guests who have come to this country to enjoy their stay with us.

In the past, the following encounters have taken place.

  1. Prof. David Kennedy, Harvard Law School, 1 July 2005

    Prof. David Kennedy had been invited by the Swiss society for foreign policy (Schweizerische Gesellschaft für Aussenpolitik) to hold a lecture. At "The Salon" he held a talk before professors of public international law, those qualifying as professors and assistant professors in the field of public international law about aspects of change in modern public international law in the age of globalization.

  2. Prof. Arthur Miller, Harvard Law School, 11 January 2006

    Prof. Arthur Miller was invited by, amongst others, the Foundation for the Masters program in Law and Economics at the University of St. Gallen to contribute to the class on Legal Reasoning headed by Professor Jens Drolshammer (winter term 2005/06). He introduced 30 students on the masters program into the approach and style of American legal thinking. At the encounter in The Salon he answered questions from a group of leading trial lawyers from Swiss law firms about the latest developments in American procedural law, in particular in the field of class actions. Prof. Arthur Miller also returned to the Legal Reasoning class in the winter term 2006/07 and held a series of talks among selected groups from Swiss law firms and legal departments of Swiss multinational corporations.

  3. Prof. Dr. Mathias Reimann, Law School of the University of Michigan und Co-editor in Chief of the American Journal of Comparative Law, 4. Juli 2006

    On his European tour during the university vacation, Prof. Mathias Reimann spoke on the interesting subject of "Chaos as a local competitive advantage: why US lawyers are better at dealing with today’s legal world than their European colleagues”.

    The discussion was mostly focused around one central thesis: that US lawyers (or more precisely, those educated at US law schools) are better at dealing with today’s legal world, particularly with the consequences of globalization, than their continental European colleagues. This was said not to be due to the more interdisciplinary focus of US law, but mostly because the whole structure of US legal thinking is a better “fit” with contemporary law (at least in western industrial nations) (compare download link with thesis and illustrative image "from modernism" to "post modernism"). Approximately twenty professors and fellow attorneys, who had for the most part also studied in the USA and were teaching and practicing in the sphere of international law, engaged in a debate with Matthias Reimann and his counterintuitive thesis. There was an evening meal for a small group of colleagues who know Professor Matthias Reimann or are friends of his.

  4. Professor Shimon Shetreet, Greenblatt professor of Public and International Law and Director of Sacher Institute of Comparative Law, Hebrew University, 20 July 2006

    In the summer term of 2006 Professor Shimon Shetreet was a visiting professor at the universities of St. Gallen and Zurich. Shimon Shetreet, who alongside his university career has also been prominent in Israeli politics – he was a member of the cabinet of Yitzhak Rabin, spoke on the subject "A View from the Israeli Cabinet, Reflections on The Executive and Legislative Decision Making Process with a Focus on Reforms and Major Issues". There were 20 guests who had mostly been chosen by Shimon Shetreet himself, some of them from the Jewish communities in Switzerland.

  5. Prof. Alan Dershowitz, Harvard Law School, 5.-7. June 2006 (postponed)

    After Professor Alan Dershowitz was interviewed in a video conference in front of students at the University of St. Gallen as part of the class "US legal culture from a European perspective – a tour through the history of US law based on the book by Prof. Alan M. Dershowitz, America on Trial, Inside the legal battles that transformed our nation", Alan Dershowitz altered the itinerary of his holiday travel to Greece and planned to visit Switzerland for the first time in his life. Sadly his visit had to be postponed because of sudden health problems. Two lectures to Jewish communities in Zurich, a meeting with students at the University of St. Gallen, various talks with journalists and a private dinner at The Salon as well as visits to the art collections of the Bührle Foundation and the Oscar Reinhart Foundation had been planned for his visit. The subject of the lectures would have been, "Why is the case for Israel so much more difficult in Europe?"

    With the students he would have carried out a debriefing from the class. At the informal dinner the discussion was to have been about developments in US legal policy and US foreign policy in the middle east. (Download Program Visit Prof. Alan Dershowitz in Switzerland).

    The visit will take place as soon as Professor Alan Dershowitz’s diary permits.

  6. Prof. Arthur Miller Harvard Law School, 30 January – 3 February 2006

    As part of a work assignment, Prof. Arthur Miller held "Special Workshops” in the The Salon – High End Issues in International Litigation Involving the United States directly affecting leading Swiss Law firms and legal departments of leading Swiss multinational enterprises in actual cases and actual strategic planning activities". He took part in three in-house events at sponsoring law firms and taught in the Legal Reasoning class at the University of St. Gallen.

  7. Working dinner with Dr. Beat Hess, Chief Legal Officer Shell International, 8 March 2007

    As part of the informal General Counsel’s Network of the major Swiss multinational corporations the occasion arose to hold a working dinner with Dr. Beat Hess, formerly General Counsel at ABB, now Chief Legal Officer of Shell International on the back of a lecture that he was holding in Switzerland. Beat Hess is usually a passive member of this group, although he mostly works abroad. There was a friendly and very interesting dialogue, in which Dr. Peter Kurer (UBS), Dr. David Frick (Nestlé), Dr. Bruno Meier (Roche), Dr. Martin Henrich (Novartis) und Prof. Dr. Karl Hofstetter (Schindler) took part.

  8. Encounter with Prof. Andrew Moravcsik, Professor of Politics and International Affairs, Director European Professor of Politics and International Affairs, Director, European Union Program, Department of Politics and Woodrow Wilson School Princeton University, 17 June 2007

    Professor Andrew Moravcsik gave a lecture on 18 June at the Swiss institute for foreign/external research (Schweizerische Institut für Auslandforschung). On the evening before this he made himself available for discussions with Swiss specialists in the field of international relations and constitutional and public international law. The discussion centred around possible arguments for his lecture on the purported democratic deficit in EU institutions. Afterwards we went with Andrew Moravcsik on a brief visit to the graves of James Joyce and Elias Canetti. As a professional opera critic, he spent the evening – as he usually does when travelling – at the Zurich opera house.


  9. Encounter with Member of the Ständerat Dr. Eugen David, Attorney am 27. August 2007

    As part of the work of the institutionalised General Counsels Club we held an off-the-record discussion with Member of the Ständerat Eugen David about issues related to the orgination and realisation of commercial statutes. This led to an extremely interesting dicussion about recent developments in the status of the Swiss federal government, the consultation procedure for legislative proposals, the parliaments and the procedure for the making of administrative law. At every other meeting of the General Counsels Club we will invite a guest to speak on a particular subject. The discussions are off-the-record. The guest is also invited to take part in the working dinner.


  10. Encounter with State Secretary Dr. Michael Ambühl am 5. September 2007

    As part of the informal General Counsel Network of the major Swiss multinational companies, there was a discussion with State Secretary (Staatssekretär) Dr. Michael Ambühl. He gave an introductory lecture on the subject of "Priorities in Swiss Foreign Policy" and explained the PIN code of Swiss foreigin policy, 2-5-3-5-2 consisting of 2: Types of interests, 5: Aims of foreign policy (article 54 of the Swiss federal constitution), 3: Principles 5: Spheres of action and and 2: Realisation. Prof. Thomas Cottier, Universität Bern, took part as a guest, giving his view on the role of public international law in Swiss national law in connection with the speeches by Member of the Bundesrat Blocher on 1 August. The following members of the General Counsels Network took part: Lic. iur. Thomas Anwander (Rieter), Dr. iur / lic. Oec. Thomas Emch (Conzzeta Holding), Dr. LL.M. David Frick (Nestlé), Dr. Martin Henrich (Novartis International), Dr. Steve Hottiger (UBS), Dr. Bruno Mairer (Roche), Dr. Andreas L. Meier (Institut Straumann), Dr. Hans Peter Pfirter (Lonza Group Ltd.), Dr. Thomas Werlen (Novartis International).

  11. Encounter with Professor Fred Schauer, Harvard Law School, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University and presently Eastman Visiting Professor and Fellow am Balliol College, Oxford University.

    During the time of his special chair at Oxford University, Fred Schauer came to Zurich to talk to a to 20 friends and specialists in the matter of "legal reasoning". The reason for the encounter is, that Fred Schauer has written a new "Thinking Like a Lawyer, A New Introduction to Legal Reasoning", which will appear early 2009 in Harvard University Press. Fred Schauer launched the discussion with the following sentences, which he contributed to the written invitation to the event:
    "In both the common and civil law worlds, it is widely believed, especially by lawyers, that there is a special form of legal reasoning that differs from ordinary reasoning, even from very good ordinary reasoning. In the seventeenth century, for example, Lord Coke celebrated the "artificial reason" of the law. But was Lord Coke right? Is there a distinctive form of reasoning that we can call "legal reasoning"? Do lawyers and judges think and argue in characteristically different ways? And, if so, what are those ways?"

  12. Encounter with Dr. Michael Leupold,, Head of the Federal Office for Justice, 9. June 2008

    The new head of the Federal Office for Justice answered specific questions prepared by the participants and described his new priorities in office.
  13. Encounter with Prof. Dr. Peter Forstmoser, Chairman of Swiss Re, 25 August 2008

    As part of the work of the institutionalised General Counsels Club we held an off-the-record discussion with Prof. Dr. Peter Forstmoser about current issues related General Counsels.
    At every other meeting of the General Counsels Club we will invite a guest to speak on a particular subject. The discussions are off-the-record. The guest is also invited to take part in the working dinner.

  14. Off-the-record-Encounter with Dr. Peter Kurer, Chairman of UBS; with General Counsel Network and General Counsel Clubs 22 January 2009.

  15. Encounter with Prof. Geoffrey P. Miller, New York University, Law School, discussion about Ernst-Joachim Mestmäcker's Essay "A Legal Theory without Law"; 28 April 2009.

  16. Encounter with Dr. Beat Hess, Member of the Executive Board and Group General Counsel Shell International; with General Counsel Network and General Counsel Clubs; June 4th, 2009

  17. Encounter with Roman Signer, Artist and Wolfgang Häusler, Gallerist, Munich and Zurich, with General Counsel Network and General Counsel Clubs; March 16th, 2010

  18. Encounter with Prof. Thomas S. Ulen, College of the Law, University of Illinois –in the Fall Term 2010 (Max Schmidheiny Stiftung) Visiting Professor at Universit St. Gallen – critical Dialog about “The role and the function of empirical studies in the economic analysis of law“ – April 26th, 2010

  19. Encounter with Dr. h.c. Thomas Schmidheiny, - about the specific perspective on the role of inhouse-counsels by an entrepreneur, CEO and member and president of board, with General Counsel Network and General Counsel Clubs; November 23th, 2010