Getting to Know Our Professors

All Biz Law faculty, 2012

UCLA School of Law has a longstanding tradition of recruiting and retaining “the best of the best” Business Law and Policy faculty – pre-eminent academics in all aspects of corporate law, tax law, bankruptcy, securities regulation, corporate governance and real estate.

Below, our faculty members share their unique perspectives on teaching and what the UCLA School of Law and the Lowell Milken Institute for Business Law and Policy mean to them.

 

Iman Anabtawi, Professor of Law

Q: Why did you choose to teach?

A: I joined UCLA Law after having clerked for the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court (Justice Sandra Day O’Connor) and having practiced corporate law for eight years. By that time, I felt that I could bring a unique combination of scholarly perspective and deep practice experience to the classroom. I wanted to teach students the skills I knew they would need to be effective lawyers and the substance of specific business-law practice areas. To be first-rate business lawyers, I knew students needed to be educated across both domains.

Q: Why UCLA and the Lowell Milken Institute?

A: UCLA and the Lowell Milken Institute for Business Law and Policy share my commitment to educating business law students to be both substantively knowledgeable and adept at deploying that knowledge to their clients’ best advantage.


Stephen Bainbridge, William D. Warren Distinguished Professor of Law

Q:What attracted you to corporate law?

A: I find the corporation a fascinating institution. In their magnificent history, The Company, journalists John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge contend that the corporation is “the basis of the prosperity of the West and the best hope for the future of the rest of the world.” There is no doubt that the corporation is now the key economic institution in Western nations. In the United States, for example, the corporation is the predominant form of business organization by every measure except sheer number of firms. According to recent census data, although corporations account for only about one fifth of all business organizations, they bring in almost 90% of all business receipts. The corporation also has proven to be a powerful engine for focusing the efforts of individuals to maintain economic liberty. Because tyranny is far more likely to come from the public sector than the private, those who for selfish reasons strive to maintain both a democratic capitalist society and a substantial sphere of economic liberty therein serve the public interest.  Put another way, private property and freedom of contract were indispensable if private business corporations were to come into existence. In turn, by providing centers of power separate from government, corporations give liberty economic substance over and against the state. How could one not want to study such an institution?

Q: Why did you choose to teach?

A: Teaching has given me the opportunity to interact with generations of future lawyers, which has been both an honor and a privilege. In addition, it has given me the freedom to do research and scholarship without having to worry about client deadlines or how my findings will affect clients. Thus, I can go where the evidence takes me without constraint.

Q: Why UCLA and the Lowell Milken Institute?

A: UCLA is a wonderful law school with exceptional faculty and students, embedded in one of the world’s great research universities, and located in one of the world’s great cities. It’s a tough combination to beat.


Steven A. Bank, Vice Dean of the UCLA School of Law and Professor of Law

Q: Why did you choose the UCLA School of Law and the Lowell Milken Institute for Business Law and Policy?

A: UCLA generally, and the Lowell Milken Institute for Business Law and Policy in particular, provide an ideal platform.  We’re located in a vibrant area of the country as part of a university with unparalleled breadth and depth of expertise.  The students are first rate and there is a genuine sense of shared enterprise.  It’s a great place to be an academic entrepreneur.  We’re not bound by the staid traditions of classical legal education that characterize other schools.

Q: What attracted you to tax law?

A: Tax law really has it all.  It lies at the intersection of virtually every area of law and studying taxation allows us to grapple with one of the most fundamental questions we face – how should we distribute the benefits and burdens of living in a civilized society?  Along the same lines, examining the development of tax law over the last century of income taxation is a window into the history of our country, into the changing norms of our culture, and into the lessons we will need to learn as we seek to reshape our system of tax laws for the next century.

Q: Why did you choose to teach?

A: Teaching allows me to contribute to the greater good, both by influencing the direction of new lawyers and by helping to add to the store of knowledge and engage in the great debates about our law’s future direction.


Sung Hui Kim, Assistant Professor of Law

Q: What attracted you to corporate law?

A: Out of law school, I knew I wanted to be a transactional lawyer as the practice of litigation had become too adversarial.  I also really enjoyed my Business Associations class taught by the great Victor Brudney.

Q: Why did you choose to teach?

A: I actually enjoyed the practice of law and could have imagined a life in which I continued to practice law in-house.  But the most fulfilling part of practicing law was teaching and guiding younger associates.


Kenneth N. Klee, Professor of Law

Q: Why did you choose the UCLA School of Law and the Lowell Milken Institute for Business Law and Policy?

A: My law firm was in LA, I lived in LA, and my mentor taught at UCLA Law.

Q: What attracted you to bankruptcy law?

A:  My law school professor Vern Countryman was inspirational. I enrolled in the course by chance to protect a member of my moot court team who selected it. I never intended to pursue bankruptcy law. Once I studied it, I found the field fascinating. Having the opportunity to co-write the 1978 Bankruptcy Code also was attractive.

Q: Why did you choose to teach?

A: My mentor Ron Trost asked me to assist him at a UCLAW seminar so I became a visiting lecturer or adjunct professor in 1979. After teaching at Harvard Law School as a visiting professor from practice in 1995-1996, I asked UCLA to teach full time and became a tenure-track professor in 1997.


Lynn M. LoPucki, Security Pacific Bank Distinguished Professor of Law

Q: How do you teach?

A: I teach principally through the problem method.  Students read the assigned material and attempt to solve the practice-based problems prior to class.  In class, I use PowerPoint to summarize the materials and frame the problems for discussion.  The frame is typically a diagram of the relationships among the parties and statements of the problem constraints and the legal authority to be applied.  Together, we discuss and evaluate various solutions.

Q: Why do you do it that way?

A: The development of professional expertise requires more than readings and lectures.  To learn material, students must actively do something with the material.  Solving real-world problems from the perspectives of the attorneys involved simulates, and so prepares students for, law practice.

Q: What are the goals of your research?

A: I became an academic after eight years of private practice.  During my academic career, I have continued to study the world of practice, through consulting in litigation, empirical study of court files and securities law disclosures, and interviewing practitioners.  Recently, my research is focused on the causes of success and failure in large public company bankruptcy cases and various aspects of legal strategy.


Jason Oh, Assistant Professor of Law

Q: What attracted you to tax law?

A: Tax law is fascinating because it touches almost every area of our lives.  Getting married, buying a house, or starting a business – all of these decisions have an important tax dimension.  In particular, I’m interested in how the political process shapes tax policy.

Q: Why did you choose to teach?

A: Most students walk into their first tax law class with some trepidation.  It’s very rewarding when students warm to tax law over the course of the semester.  My goal is to help students learn skills including interpreting statutes and articulating policy arguments, but I also think students emerge as better informed citizens.

Q: Why the UCLA School of Law and the Lowell Milken Institute for Business Law and Policy?

A: UCLA has a great balance of rigorous cutting-edge research and commitment to teaching.  The faculty is generous, productive, and committed to cross-disciplinary work.  The students are consistently thoughtful and intelligent.  The weather is just a bonus.


Richard H. Sander, Professor of Law

Q: What attracted you to the field of law and economics?

A: Economists use many of the strongest, most sophisticated analytic tools in the social sciences, but much of economics is very theoretical.  Even applied micro-economists tend not to do a good job of studying issues directly relevant to government officials and public policy debates.  Law professors, on the other hand, are often very plugged in to the real world, but lack the tools to meaningfully compare the real-world effects of alternative policies.  So having an understanding of both law and economics helps make my research, I hope, both relevant and fairly sophisticated.

Q: Why did you choose to teach?

A: I find that teaching helps keep my research fresh, and vice versa.  And doing either one all the time would be less fun.

Q: Why UCLA and the Lowell Milken Institute?

A: UCLA’s Law School is within a few hundred yards of one of the nation’s best sociology departments, an excellent business school, and superb schools and departments in public policy, economics, history, political science, public health….the list goes on.  There are very few places with this much breadth and so many people interested in interdisciplinary work.  And being on the West coast reduces the amount of part-time consulting faculty do (it’s easier to get distracted in New York or Washington).  So this is a great place to do serious policy research.


Alexander Stremitzer, Assistant Professor of Law

Q: What attracted you to the field of law and economics?

A: When I first understood that law defines the rules of human interaction and that the efficiency properties of these rules can be rigorously studied using mathematical game theory and Laboratory Experiments, I was immediately fascinated. This fascination has stayed with me ever since.

Q: Why did you choose to teach?

A: Because I think that by teaching my research I have the strongest and most meaningful impact on the real world: affecting the ideas of my tremendously talented students.

Q: Why UCLA and the Lowell Milken Institute?

A: Because UCLA is one of the greatest research universities in the world.


Eric M. Zolt, Michael H. Schill Distinguished Professor

Q: Why did you choose the UCLA School of Law and the Lowell Milken Institute for Business Law and Policy?

A: I was attracted to UCLA because of the quality of the faculty and students. It was a great opportunity to work at a terrific university and live in a world-class city with a dynamic business and law community.  The Lowell Milken Institute gives us the opportunity to make an already great business law program even better.

Q: What attracted you to tax law?

A: I became a tax lawyer because I enjoyed the challenge of trying to structure transactions to meet a certain set of objectives. For me, it was similar to working on a jigsaw puzzle that has a couple of pieces missing.

Q: Why did you choose to teach?

A: It was a difficult decision for me to leave private practice and join the faculty at UCLA.  I enjoyed the challenge of practicing in a top tax law department and certainly enjoyed the financial remuneration.  But in the end, I liked helping students understand, and sometimes even enjoy, complex legal material and important policy issues.  I also appreciated the ability to work on problems and issues that I wanted to address rather than those effectively chosen by law firm clients.