Steven M. Davidoff
Associate Professor of Law
Steven M. Davidoff is a self-proclaimed deal junkie. His pulse races at the hint of a new deal in the making. His eyes quickly scan business wire postings, his smart phone pings with tips. What multimillion dollar deal is in the making today? Davidoff will know.
He is, after all, The New York Times Deal Professor, weekly columnist, and frequent contributor to the Times’ Deal Book. And, he is also the latest addition to the Moritz business law faculty.
“From speaking to attorneys in private practice and in-house, I realize that part of our job is to not only teach students how to think like a lawyer and to know the law but how to act like one when they leave Moritz,” he said. “I strive to do this in my classes. My job is to make sure that Moritz students function and contribute to a firm from day one.”
Davidoff may be just the person to teach students about the ins and outs of working for a corporate firm. He spent almost 10 years at Shearman & Sterling LLP in its New York and London offices and with Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP at its London office. He represented European and U.S. clients in acquisitions and sales of public and private companies, joint ventures, and private equity and venture capital investments.
“I started off in litigation, but quickly made the flip to corporate law,” Davidoff said. “The economics, the regulations, the negotiations, the collaboration, seeing your deal on the front page, it can affect so many people. I am really a deal junkie.”
After 10 years of chasing deals on both sides of the pond, Davidoff took down his shingle and decided to head to the London Business School to earn a master’s degree in finance. Still yearning for more deal-making, he hoped the move would lead him to the life of an investment banker. But, the law kept calling.
“I really decided it was now or never to become a law professor,” he said.
Davidoff, who graduated from Columbia University School of Law and earned his undergraduate degree at the University of Pennsylvania, landed on the faculty at Wayne State University and then the University of Connecticut. He made blogging an integral part of his work as a professor.
“It was right when the financial crisis hit, and I was writing constantly about mergers and acquisitions and collapsing companies,” Davidoff said. “The media began reading my blog, and I was called a lot for quotes. One day Andrew Sorkin from the Deal Book asked me to write for The New York Times. I now have a weekly column on Wednesdays in the print edition, and I blog frequently for Deal Book.”
In 2009, Davidoff released the book Gods at War: Shotgun Takeovers, Government by Deal and the Private Equity Implosion, which explores modern-day deals and deal-making. Fortunately for Davidoff, the recent economic crisis has left him plenty to talk about in papers, blog posts, presentations, and, of course, class.
“I think we are still discussing what went wrong,” he said. “There was obviously too much leverage in the system, and people across the board were making foolish choices. Banks lowered standards for debt; a lot of people took advantage of the system; and it all came crashing down. Dodd-Frank is designed to deal with some of these issues, and we will see how it is implemented over the next few years. Unfortunately, history tells us it takes about five to ten years to recover after a bubble burst, so we are only halfway through. There is still a lot of bad debt in the system that needs to be resolved.”
Davidoff is currently working on scholarship related to financial regulations, the implementation of Dodd-Frank, hedge funds, private equity, mergers and acquisitions, deals and deal theory and jurisdictional competition. He has a particular interest in international issues and interdisciplinary research in law and finance. He has testified before Congress and has served as an expert witness in a number of major public company deals.
For those wishing to talk to Davidoff about the financial crisis or other issues, it may be best to head the airport. In recent weeks, he has been to Columbia University, Vanderbilt University, Cornell University, and Suffolk University as well as the conferences of the American Finance Association, ISS – Proxy Advisory Services, and the Penn State Institute of Mergers, Acquisitions and Alliances lecturing and giving presentations on, what else, deal-making and deal theory. Or, you may find him in his new backyard checking on the fish in his pond. “It’s a zen pond. There really are four fish in there,” he said. “I check on them every day while I write. Well, every day that I am home.”
Cinnamon Piñon Carlarne
Assistant Professor of Law
What part of our lives does climate change affect? Well, according to Cinnamon Carlarne, Moritz’ new resident expert on environmental law and climate change, it may be easier to list the areas it does not affect. But, here’s an attempt anyway: biodiversity, trade, air quality, food security, ocean pH levels, where and how food grows, governance of the Arctic, geo-engineering, international treaties, energy supply and demand, population density and location, ocean health, and human health and well-being.
“The complexity is what I find fascinating about this field,” Carlarne said. “It involves the intersection of so many varied legal, political, and economic issues. There is so much happening in this area that is not being reported on.”
Carlarne’s research focuses on the evolution of systems of domestic and international environmental governance. She is the author of Climate Change Law & Policy: EU & US Approaches, published by Oxford University Press in 2010, and coeditor of Seas, Society and Human Well-Being, which will be released by Wiley Blackwell in 2012.
“Food security is a perfect example of the complexity involved in climate change. Our global food system is on the brink of collapse; there are more hungry people in the world than ever before,” Carlarne said. “As climate change affects where and how food grows and water is available, this will put added pressures on an already stressed water system, creating great social and political fallout. You cannot separate climate change from its social impact.”
Carlarne’s research primarily focuses on climate change law and policy at the global level.
“My greatest wish is for climate change to be depoliticized,” she said. “In the 1970s, environmental politics were not so partisan or divisive, and politicians worked cooperatively to pass the Clean Air Act and other key pieces of environmental legislation. Of course, at the time, this was easier because the problems were visible; you could see the smog and our rivers were dirty and on fire. Today, our problems are just as severe – more so, really – but they are harder both to conceptualize and respond to. If we could get beyond politics, we could really talk about these complex issues and come up with more sophisticated solutions.”
Carlarne spends much of her time outside the classroom, working with researchers from around the globe. After attending the University of California, Berkeley Boalt Hall School of Law, where she took her first international environmental law class, Carlarne spent two years at the University of Oxford, earning both a Bachelor of Civil Law degree and Master of Science degree in environmental change and management.
“The master’s program at Oxford was intense,” she said. “It brings so many different people from different disciplines together and helps you think across geographic and disciplinary lines. As an environmental lawyer, I cannot be an expert in everything, but the program at Oxford really taught me how to ask the right questions.”
After Oxford, Carlarne spent a year in the energy, environment, and land-use practice group at Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld LLP in Washington, D.C. But, she knew early on that teaching international environmental law was her true calling. She taught previously at the University of Cincinnati and the University of South Carolina.
“I love teaching. It is the whole package,” she said. “I love meeting the fantastic people – from my students to colleagues to collaborators around the world. I love researching and writing. This summer I spent time in Switzerland with some of the world’s leading negotiators on climate change. I get challenged every single day.”
Assistant Clinical Professor of Law
A year spent volunteering after college shaped the rest of Kimberly Jordan’s life. Jordan, who is a new clinical professor in the Justice for Children Practicum at Moritz, worked in a half-way house for the Jesuit Volunteer Corps after college and saw the effects of drug and substance abuse firsthand. That experience led her to become a licensed substance abuse counselor.
“I worked with so many women and children, and it just seemed like there was more I could do to help,” Jordan said. She was right. Jordan earned a fellowship to Loyola University of Chicago School of Law to focus on children’s issues in the law.
Prior to joining Moritz, Jordan was a senior attorney for the Legal Aid Society of Southwest Ohio, LLC, where she focused on family law and representing children in abuse and neglect proceedings in juvenile court.
“Children really do have special needs in the courtroom, and there is a lot of debate about the roles of attorneys who are serving as the voice of a child in a case,” she said.
Prior to coming to Ohio, Jordan worked as a staff attorney for the Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago and as an assistant defender for the Illinois Office of the State Appellate Defender.
Jordan has tried more than 50 cases, but now will turn over first-chair to her students.
“The goal is for our students to represent our clients in every way, which includes going to trial,” she said. “I am excited about training young attorneys to represent children. Children’s law really needs to be treated as a specialty, just like children are treated in the medical field.”
Between six and eight Moritz students are involved in the clinic each semester, and they work on cases ranging from delinquency issues to judicial bypass and abuse to neglect cases. Most of the cases are pending in the Franklin County Juvenile Court.
“Once a person becomes a client, we keep them as a client, even after their immediate issue is resolved,” Jordan said.
Assistant Clinical Professor of Law
Katrina Lee seems destined to teach. She proudly tells you she attended public schools from start to finish – first San Francisco Unified Schools and then the University of California, Berkeley for both undergrad and law school. Her father was a teacher. She took so many classes as an undergrad that she ended up triple majoring in English, political science, and mass communications.
“I really did enjoy every class I took, and I took every class I possibly could,” she said.
She was editor-in-chief, news editor, and city desk editor of The Daily Californian, Berkeley’s independent student newspaper. Later, she sat on the board of directors.
“Deciding about whether to be a teacher, a journalist, or a lawyer was an extremely difficult choice for me,” Lee said. “It was a decision I thought about a lot.”
Once the decision was made, however, Lee tackled the law with everything she had. She focused on complex commercial litigation at Nossaman LLP in San Francisco and was elevated to equity partner in her seventh year of practice, making her one of the youngest equity partners in firm history and also the firm’s first Asian-American female partner. She represented Fortune 100 companies in all litigation phases, including discovery, mediation, trial, and appeal. In 2003, she worked on a trial team that attained a $383 million jury verdict, one of the largest in the country that year, on an insurance recovery action.
“The great part of that case was working with so many attorneys at the top of their game, doing what it is they do best,” Lee said. “Even though there were long, difficult hours, we worked together so well and so successfully.”
In 2006, four days after getting married in San Francisco, Lee was back in the courtroom without a honeymoon. She worked so late into her first pregnancy that her first daughter was born full-term at Ohio State Medical Center just 10 days after she boarded a plane at SFO for Columbus. Lee and her husband, also a professor at Ohio State, now have two daughters.
Despite a 12-year litigation career and a love of litigating that never abated, Lee’s desire to be at the front of the classroom was always just beneath the surface.
“Working with the students in the summer at the law firm was always one of the highlights of the year,” she said. “The summer associates brought such a unique energy to the office. They were excited; the attorneys were excited. It made the office fun.”
She chaired her firm’s recruitment committee and ran the San Francisco office’s summer associate program.
“When I learned of the opportunity to work with students at Moritz on a daily basis and to work with them one-on-one with their writing, it sounded like one amazing gift: to
do that every day,” Lee said.
By semester’s end, she will have had six individual conferences with each of her first-year writing students.
“I want to give my students assignments they might actually encounter in practice. I want the assignments to reflect the challenges attorneys face,” Lee said. “One of my absolute favorite parts of practice was writing and editing a memo or brief, and now I am excited to teach about it.”
Anne E. Ralph
Assistant Clinical Professor of Law
Writing is what defines Anne Ralph. From poetry to fiction and the occasional Supreme Court amicus brief, she can write it all.
“For lawyers, so much of what we do is analysis communicated through writing. Writing is our opportunity to explain things clearly, express our concerns, and guide a client to the most beneficial path or persuade a decision-maker,” Ralph said. “Writing is the law’s most versatile and important tool.”
Ralph will bring her writing insights to the classroom as a legal analysis and writing professor at Moritz. After majoring in English and philosophy at the University of Notre Dame, Ralph earned her law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law. She was a law clerk for Judge Kenneth F. Ripple of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and then practiced with law firms in Washington, D.C. and Columbus, focusing on copyright litigation, business litigation, and appeals.
“My clerkship is where I really honed my legal analysis and writing skills,” she said. “I want to bring the lessons I learned to my students early in their law school education.”
Ralph represented clients in every level of federal and state courts in Ohio, in federal courts throughout the country, and before federal agencies. A Columbus native, she served as a visiting professor at Capital University Law School.
“I am passionate about helping my students become the best legal writers they can be,” she said. “I want them to be confident in their ability to develop well-reasoned legal analysis and engage in the process that creates good legal writing. I want to give my students the tools to continue to develop as thinkers and writers throughout law school and throughout their careers.”
Guy A. Rub
Assistant Professor of Law
It might seem that Guy Rub has made a hobby out of collecting university diplomas. Rub has studied law on three continents. He completed his studies as an SJD candidate and received an LL.M. degree from the University of Michigan Law School; a master’s degree in Law & Economics from the University of Madrid; a European Master in Law and Economics from the Erasmus University in Rotterdam, Netherlands; and an LL.B. degree from Tel-Aviv University. He also earned his bachelor’s degree in computer science from Tel-Aviv University.
“I have always been drawn to law and economics,” Rub said. “I knew there was room for interpretation in the law, but the amount of vagueness initially really took me by surprise in law school. In law and economics, there is more of a methodology. I have a math background so I like to try to look at legal arguments from a scientific methodology.”
After picking up two graduate degrees in Europe, Rub decided to head to the United States and landed at the University of Michigan.
“America is really the world’s leading legal market, especially for academia,” he said.
In Ann Arbor, he lived across the street from Michigan Stadium. “People used to barbecue on my front lawn before games,” said Rub, who, having grown up in Israel, is more of a soccer fan.
Rub spent three years practicing at Munger, Tolles & Olsen LLP in Los Angeles. He worked on transactions and mergers for Berkshire Hathaway Inc. as well as some of the major movie studios. At Moritz, he will be teaching Copyright Law and Law and Economics this year and eventually will add Contracts to his course list.
“The hardest part of teaching is thinking about how to present ideas I am very familiar with,” Rub said. “I have read many of these articles 10 times in my career. I have to put myself in the students’ perspective and remember they are encountering them for the first time.”
Rub’s recent article Contracting Around Copyright: the Uneasy Case for Unbundling Rights in Creative Works, was published in the University of Chicago Law Review.
As for remembering which team to cheer for on a football Saturday, it should not be too difficult for Rub.
“The colors of my favorite soccer team – Hapoel Tel-Aviv – are red and white, and their archrivals are yellow and blue,” Rub said. “I should be all right.”
Todd Starker ’07
Assistant Clinical Professor
Todd Starker ’07 is familiar with Drinko Hall. He can navigate the twisting back hallways to the journal suites in the dark. But, his inside knowledge does not end there. He can cut his way across campus in less than 15 minutes. He knows the words to “Carmen Ohio” – probably backward. After spending more than a decade on campus as a student, and graduating three times, he ought to anyway.
Starker, who teaches courses in legal analysis and writing, first came to The Ohio State University as an undergrad, majoring in math. His next stop was the Fisher College of Business, where he earned his M.B.A. He spent the better part of eight years buying and selling companies and properties in central Ohio. But, campus was calling him back again.
“I considered doing a Ph.D. in business and becoming a business professor,” he said. “Eventually, I opted for a J.D. because it had more practical application, but I could still teach. Everything I did in law school – from working for top grades to serving as editor in chief of the Ohio State Law Journal – was all with the idea of perhaps teaching one day.”
After graduation, Starker clerked for Judge Alan Norris on the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.
“With an M.B.A., I knew I wanted to do transactional work in my practice, but I clerked anyway,” he said. “It was a great experience. Judge Norris is amazing, and I worked closely with a career clerk who is just brilliant. Working with my coclerk was unique, because he had knowledge and experience to rival any judge, but he was not a ‘boss.’ We discussed issues in depth as equals and went back and forth on research, analysis, and writing. His mentorship was invaluable.”
Starker then headed to Squire Sanders & Dempsey LLP in Columbus. He handled more than $10 billion in transactions related to the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) and worked on mergers and acquisitions large and small.
“I found that the closer I was able to work with the actual risk-taker, the more fun the deal,” he said. Perhaps that is because Starker himself has bought companies, started companies, sold companies, been sued as a business owner, and sued as a plaintiff business owner.
But even the fast-paced life of a corporate lawyer could not rid Starker of his desire to teach. The problem was that with a growing family and deep roots in the community, he was not willing to leave Columbus for any length of time. Most new law professors move frequently in their first few years of teaching. The odds did not look good for Starker … unless the University he knew so well just happened to create three new teaching positions in its legal writing program.
“It really is awesome to be back on campus,” he said. “It is a dream come true.”Tags: Anne Ralph, Cinnamon Piñon Carlarne, Guy Rub, Katrina Lee, Kimberly Jordan, Steven Davidoff, Todd Starker