Risa Lieberwitz, Collective Bargaining and Labor Law and History
The international reach of Cornell’s ILR School is due in large part to the research and teaching interests of its faculty members. This piece is a profile of Associate Professor Risa Lieberwitz, a member of the Department of Collective Bargaining, Labor Law, and Labor History. Throughout the years, Professor Lieberwitz’s personal interests in culture and language, particularly of France, have become intertwined with her professional interests in labor and employment law, constitutional rights, feminist legal theory, and, most recently, her research on universities and academic freedom.
Professor Lieberwitz’s interest in international and comparative issues has brought her to France to teach and present her research. Professor Lieberwitz was on the faculty of the Cornell Law School/Université de Paris I, Summer Institute of International and Comparative Law Institute in 2000 and 2001. She has also been a lecturer at the International Seminar of Comparative Labor Law, Industrial Relations, and Social Security of University of Montesquieu, Bordeaux IV, France, in the summers of 2003 and 2004, and will return there in summer 2007. University faculty, researchers, and PhD and post-doctoral students assemble at this themed Seminar to discuss various aspects of labor law and social welfare programs. Lecturers are invited internationally from the global north and south to give presentations on the law from their countries, creating the foundation for comparative discussions. Professor Lieberwitz has given lectures in both English and French on topics such as labor law reform and corporate social responsibility.
In May 2004, Professor Lieberwitz was a Visiting Scholar in the Transitional Justice Institute at the University of Ulster, Belfast, Northern Ireland. Her visit was supported by a faculty and student exchange program that was part of the Gender, Sexuality and Family Project developed by Professor Martha Fineman at the Cornell Law School. In Belfast, Professor Lieberwitz conducted exploratory comparative research on the “Research Assessment Exercise” (RAE), which was recently implemented in the U.K. as the system of allocating public funding to universities on the basis of national ratings of faculty research. Professor Lieberwitz’s research project will study the impact of the RAE on faculty academic freedom in research and teaching, as well as the effects of the RAE on the faculty job market. These emphases allow for interesting comparative possibilities across countries. Professor Lieberwitz hopes to continue such explorations through field research in the U.K.
Professor Lieberwitz’s research has also addressed aspects of international trade, including issues that may not be anticipated as part of the study of academic freedom. In analyzing the impact on academic freedom of universities’ expanded market activities, Professor Lieberwitz has explored the links between university patenting of academic research and the WTO’s Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). She discussed these issues in a recent keynote speech, “Expanding Global Access to Knowledge,” at the International Knowledge, Economy, and Management Congress in Kocaeli, Turkey.
As the co-director of the Cornell University Law and Society concentration, Professor Lieberwitz has had several meetings with Law and Society program colleagues at the University of Calgary in Canada to explore possibilities for collaborating on future projects.
Professor Lieberwitz began her career as an attorney for the National Labor Relations Board. At the Cornell ILR School, her initial focus on U.S. law has expanded to include comparative and international issues, reflecting the effects of globalization on all aspects of law and the world of work today.
- Dina Gabriel