Cornell University

May 22 2014

International Strength

European Law School Names Compa to New Social Justice Chair

ILR_LanceCompa042014_RachelPhilipson_8538Leiden Law School has chosen ILR Senior Lecturer Lance Compa to hold the inaugural Paul van der Heijden Chair in Social Justice during the fall 2014 semester, Dean Rick Lawson announced this month at Leiden University in the Netherlands.

The Leiden Law faculty recently established the new visiting professorship to honor Prof. Paul van der Heijden, former Rector Magnificus of Leiden University.

Professor van der Heijden is a world-renowned human rights scholar, as well as a prominent judge, mediator and arbitrator. He is chairman of the International Labor Organization’s Committee on Freedom of Association, the authoritative world body on workers’ union organizing and collective bargaining rights.

Compa, in an interview, said, “Paul van der Heijden is a giant in the international human rights field and it’s a great honor to be the first person chosen for the chair in his name. It also reflects positively on the ILR School’s strength in the international and comparative labor field.”

Leiden Law School Dean Lawson said, “We are very pleased to have Lance Compa joining us this fall. We decided to honor Paul van der Heijden with a special chair, since he is one of our most distinguished lawyers. In addition to his work for the ILO, he had a long career in academia. Before becoming Rector Magnificus of Leiden University, he was, amongst others, Rector Magnificus at the University of Amsterdam. We were looking for a specialist with a solid international reputation to hold the new chair, and we are delighted to have found Professor Compa.”

ILR’s Kenneth F. Kahn Dean Harry Katz said, “Lance Compa’s appointment as the first Leiden Law School Social Justice chair is a tribute to his scholarship and thought leadership in the international human rights field. Lance and others at ILR who teach, research and conduct outreach around the world are broadening ILR’s mission at the global level.”  

At ILR, Compa offers courses on U.S. labor and employment law, corporate social responsibility and international labor rights. In addition to dozens of scholarly articles on labor and human rights, he has written three book-length reports for Human Rights Watch on workers’ freedom of association in the United States under international human rights standards.

Compa also has conducted workers' rights investigations and reports on Cambodia, Chile, China, Haiti, Guatemala, Mexico, Sri Lanka and other developing countries. He is co-author, with colleagues in the Labor Law Group, of International Labor Law: Cases and Materials on Workers’ Rights in the Global Economy, a standard law school text on the subject.

Compa added, “It’s a special pleasure because Professor van der Heijden and I will co-teach a course on international labor law. This is a great opportunity to participate in the life of the law school and to engage with Leiden Law’s outstanding faculty and students, who are drawn from across the country, across Europe and across the world.”

Located in the Dutch city of Leiden, the school Compa will teach at is the top-ranked law school in continental Europe and a center of international law studies since the 17th century. It was the home of Hugo Grotius, the founder of modern international law.

Compa joined the ILR faculty in 1997. After law school and before turning to international labor law practice and teaching, he worked for many years as a trade union organizer and lawyer in the U.S. labor movement.

Compa received a bachelor’s degree in History from Fordham University in 1969 and his law degree from Yale Law School in 1973. He also studied abroad at the Institut d’Études Politiques in Paris, France (1967-1968), and at the Universidad de Chile in Santiago, Chile (1972-1973).