Expert in international law joins WSU Law School faculty

By Steve Thorpe

Legal News

Professor Charles H. "Chip" Brower II knew in college that he had a future dealing with people in far-off lands, he just wasn't sure in what field that future might be.

"I've always known that I wanted to do international 'something' from the time I was in college and I always knew I wanted to be a professor," Brower says. "If I had not had a fellowship to go to Russia for a year between 1989 and 1990, I probably would've done a Ph.D. in political science at Berkeley. But I went to Russia, ultimately, for three years, came back and decided I wanted to go to law school instead."

Wayne State University Law School recently announced that Brower, an expert in international law, is joining the faculty for the 2012-13 academic year as a professor of law. The courses he will teach include international arbitration, international business transactions and contracts. The school has a growing Program for International Legal Studies and Brower is being called an important addition.

"I am delighted to welcome Professor Brower to the faculty of Wayne Law," said Wayne Law Dean Robert M. Ackerman in a statement. "This is truly an impact appointment. Chip Brower is a renowned authority in international law and arbitration, and will bring a valuable academic perspective to Wayne Law as we continue to strengthen our programs in those areas."

For his part, Brower says he was intrigued with the Wayne opportunity because the school has beefed up its international curriculum and he knew that his strengths as a scholar would be a good fit.

"Wayne State appealed, in particular, because about a third of the faculty teaches in the international area," Brower says. "That's quite different from my experience at the University of Mississippi where, for most of the past 14 years, I've been the only person who teaches anything on international law. So just having colleagues in my field was very appealing. Add to that, many of the people are very well known internationally and recognized for what they do. It's a really appealing place to be."

Brower says that the reputation of the law school's students also played a role in his decision.

"I hear great things about the students at Wayne," he says. "I hear that they're hard working, motivated and a pleasure to teach."

Brower comes from the University of Mississippi Law School where he was Croft Professor of International Law and Jessie D. Puckett, Jr. Lecturer in Law. A member of the American Law Institute, Brower has also taught and written about human rights, international business transactions, international commercial arbitration, the law of armed conflict and public international law. Brower is also an arbitrator who is on the commercial panel of the American Arbitration Association (AAA), vice chair of the Institute for Transnational Arbitration (ITA), chair of the ITA's Academic Council, a member of the board of directors of the Atlanta International Arbitration Society and a founding member of its Academic Advisory Council.

As co-editor-in-chief of World Arbitration and Mediation Review and a reporter for NAFTA developments at KluwerArbitration online, Brower is very familiar with the trade agreement that is so important to the Detroit area because of the city's proximity to Canada and the pact's effect on the auto industry.

"It's nice to be (going to) a place where NAFTA is recognized, but I deal with a particular part of NAFTA that may not be so pertinent to the U.S. auto industry," Brower says. "I deal not with trade in goods, but with foreign direct investment. NAFTA is also reasonably well known in Mississippi because a $700 million claim was brought against the United States by a Canadian investor under NAFTA. So it's not unknown (there), either."

In addition to his academic work and arbitration, Brower occasionally writes about the law for general interest publications. He says it's not too much of a stretch for him to take complex issues and make them understandable to the layman.

"Our job as lawyers and professors is to convey relatively complex issues in the most straightforward fashion to a variety of different people," he says. "So (writing for newspapers) is just a different form of communication."

When asked how soon he will be making the move from the Deep South to the Motor City, Brower raises an issue that many can identify with.

"It depends on the housing market in Oxford, Mississippi," he says. "It could be as soon as June or as late as early August."

Published: Mon, May 7, 2012