Professors Fisk and Salzman honored with distinguished professorships

April 16, 2007Duke Law News

Duke Law Professors Catherine Fisk and James Salzman have been named to distinguished professorships. Catherine Fisk was named the Douglas Blount Maggs Professor of Law, and Jim Salzman was named the Samuel F. Mordecai Professor of Law. Duke University President Richard H. Brodhead announced the chairs on April 25.

Brodhead called Fisk, who joined the Duke faculty in 2004, “one of the most respected, creative, and thoughtful scholars in the field of labor and employment law. Much of her scholarship focuses on the intersection of intellectual property law and labor law, specifically the rights of employees to own their inventions and creative work. “A truly interdisciplinary scholar, her history of the evolution of employer ownership of the creative work product of employees, which is based on a mountain of company archives, has been applauded by historians as path breaking,” said Brodhead. “She has done fascinating and important work on attribution rights, that is, when an individual is entitled to credit, or attribution, for an idea used by another. Her expertise in labor and employment law has also led her to the subject of workplace regulation of appearance, make-up, and dress, where she has also made important contributions.” Fisk who has also taught at the University of Southern California Law School and Loyola Law School of Los Angeles, also writes frequently on labor issues “related to workers on the lowest rung of society, including janitors and immigrants, and has frequently been engaged in pro bono representation on behalf of these groups,” said Brodhead. Active in a number of national working groups and associations, Fisk was recently elected a Trustee of the Law & Society Association.

Salzman, who has a joint appointment in the Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences, is one of the leading scholars in environmental law today, said Brodhead. “He is best known for his pioneering work advancing understanding of the opportunities and problems in harnessing market-mechanisms, initially developed in the context of air pollution, to the natural resources context. His work explores various tensions in systems for trading the right to damage ecosystems in one context for ameliorative measures elsewhere.

“Professor Salzman has also written important work about the failure of environmental law to keep up with the changing sectoral mix of the economy, wetlands mitigation banking, the systemic problems created by the accretion of command and control regulations in the environmental regulation context, and issues of trade law and policy raised by eco-labeling programs,” said Brodhead. Salzman’s casebook on international environmental law, now in its third edition, is the leading text in the field and is now being used at more than 140 law schools. Salzman came to the Duke faculty in 2004, from The Washington College of Law at American University.

“Both of these colleagues are exceptionally deserving of distinguished professorships,” said Dean Katharine T. Bartlett. “They are leaders in their respective fields and, as it happens, both of them are highly interdisciplinary. I am proud of the recognition they have received.”

Fisk and Salzman are popular in the classroom, and students have recently honored both with teaching awards. The Duke Bar Association recognized Fisk with its Distinguished Teaching Award for the 2006-2007 academic year. Salzman received the “Oustanding Faculty of the Year” Award for 2006-2007 from students at the Nicholas School for the Environment and Earth Sciences.