HANS SMIT

SMIT--Hans. Dean David M. Schizer and the Columbia Law School community mourn deeply the loss of Hans Smit, a distinguished professor and a leading scholar and practitioner in the field of international arbitration and international procedure. For more than 50 years, Hans was a powerful presence at Columbia Law School, where he made a remarkable contribution to the institution, to generations of students, and to the field of international arbitration. After earning his LL.B. and LL.M. from the University of Amsterdam in 1946 and 1949, respectively, Hans worked in private practice in The Hague and New York City. He earned a master's degree at Columbia in 1953 and graduated first in his class with an LL.B. from the Law School in 1958. Hans joined the Columbia Law School faculty in 1960, where he directed the Project on International Procedure, which attracted top legal minds such as Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who served as a research associate and associate director. He also directed other pioneering international law programs at Columbia, including the Parker School of Foreign and Comparative Law and the Center for East European Law. In 1965, Hans helped establish the Law School as a global hub for the study of international law by serving as director of the Project on European Legal Institutions. The project yielded a seminal work, The Law of the European Economic Community. Hans was a member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences and the International Academy of Comparative Law, and he was knighted by the Queen of the Netherlands. Our hearts go out to his wife, Beverly; their son, Robert H. Smit, and their daughter, Marion Smit, for this great loss.


Published in The New York Times on Jan. 9, 2012