JEROME A. COHEN

DIRECTOR

 Prof. Jerome A. Cohen, a professor at NYU School of Law since 1990 and Faculty Director of its U.S.-Asia Law Institute, is a leading American expert on Chinese law and government. A pioneer in the field, Prof. Cohen began studying and teaching about China’s legal system in the early 1960s and from 1964 to 1979 introduced the teaching of Asian law into the curriculum of Harvard Law School, where he served as Jeremiah Smith Professor, Associate Dean and Director of East Asian Legal Studies. In addition to his responsibilities at NYU, Prof. Cohen served for several years as C.V. Starr Senior Fellow and Director of Asia Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, where he currently is an Adjunct Senior Fellow. He retired from the partnership of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP at the end of 2000 after twenty years of law practice focused on China. In his law practice, Prof. Cohen represented many companies and individuals in contract negotiations as well as in dispute resolution in China.

Prof. Cohen has published several books on Chinese law, including The Criminal Process in the People’s Republic of China, 1949-63 (Harvard University Press. 1968), People’s China and International Law (Princeton University Press. 1974) and Contract Laws of the People’s Republic of China. In addition, he has published hundreds of scholarly articles on various topics as well as a book, China Today, co-authored with his wife, Joan Lebold Cohen, and a regular series of journalistic opinion pieces for various newspapers. Today, Prof. Cohen continues his research and writing on Asian law, specifically focusing on legal institutions, criminal justice reform, dispute resolution, human rights and the role of international law relating to China and Taiwan. 

Outside academia, Prof. Cohen has served in government, first as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Washington, D.C. from 1958 to 1959 and then as a fulltime consultant to the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations in 1959. He has also testified at many congressional hearings on China. 

Prof. Cohen is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Yale College (B.A. 1951). He spent the academic year 1951-1952 as a Fulbright Scholar in France and graduated, in 1955, from Yale Law School, where he was Editor-in-Chief of the Yale Law Journal. He was Law Secretary to Chief Justice Earl Warren of the United States Supreme Court in the 1955 Term and Law Secretary to Justice Felix Frankfurter of the Supreme Court in the 1956 Term. 

 

IRA BELKIN

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR


Ira Belkin is the Executive Director of the U.S.-Asia Law Institute. Prior to joining the Institute in September 2012, Belkin served as a program officer at the Ford Foundation in Beijing, where he worked on law and rights issues. His grant-making supported Chinese institutions working to build the Chinese legal system, to strengthen the rule of law and to enhance the protection of citizens’ rights, especially the rights of vulnerable groups. Prior to joining the foundation in 2007, Belkin combined a career as an American lawyer and federal prosecutor with a deep interest in China, and spent seven years working to promote the rule of law in China. His appointments included two tours at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing and a year as a fellow at the Yale Law School China Law Center. After graduating from NYU Law, Belkin spent 16 years as a federal prosecutor including time in Providence, R.I., where he was chief of the criminal division, and in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he was deputy chief of the general crimes unit. Before attending law school, Belkin taught Chinese language at Middlebury College. He has lectured extensively in Chinese to Chinese audiences on the U.S. criminal justice system and to American audiences on the Chinese legal reform movement. In addition to his J.D. from New York University School of Law, Belkin has a master’s degree in Chinese studies from Seton Hall University and a bachelor’s degree from SUNY Albany.