November 17, 2010

Griffith Named ILR’s First Assistant Professor Chair

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The School of Industrial and Labor Relations established its first faculty chair position for an assistant professor — the Proskauer Rose Employment and Labor Law Assistant Professorship — in October. Prof. Kate Griffith, collective bargaining, law and history, is the first assistant professor to be appointed to this position.

On Oct. 30, during Trustee Weekend, administrators officially announced that Griffith will be the first to hold the Proskauer Assistant Professorship.

“I am extremely honored to be the first,” Griffith said.

The professorship is named after the Proskauer Rose law firm, which endowed the ILR School with $1 million — the minimum Cornell requires for the establishment of an assistant professor chair. The law firm, one of the leading labor and employment law firms in the United States, includes more than thirty Cornell alumni as partners and associates.

The ILR School already has 11 chaired full professors, but the Proskauer Chair is the first for an assistant professor.

Griffith said she specializes on the questions raised at the intersection of immigration and labor and employment law. She joined Cornell in 2007.

The Proskauer Chair is a “rotating professor chair,” meaning a new chair will be appointed every three years, because the chair supports the work of an assistant professor, who is untenured, rather than a full professor, who is tenured, said ILR Dean Harry Katz.

As the Proskauer chair, Griffith will teach an elective course cross-listed between ILR and the law school. Griffith will also guest lecture at Proskauer Rose law firm once a year.

Before coming to Cornell, Griffith, a Fulbright Scholar, worked as a law clerk in the United States Court of Appeals. She received her law degree from the New York University School of Law, graduating cum laude in 2004.

“Working at Cornell is the best because I get to do so many things, including teach, research and publish, as well as practice law as a legal consultant,” Griffith said.

The Proskauer Rose firm wanted to endow this chair to continue the rich tradition of integration between the ILR and law schools, said Paul Salvatore ’81, J.D. ’84, a Proskauer Rose partner and a University trustee.

Most of the Cornell alumni at Proskauer Rose came from either the ILR school or Law school. They hope to see the professorship advance the scholarship of labor and employment law and strengthen the ties between these two fields, he said.

“We are thrilled. She’s a wonderful scholar and person and great teacher. We are excited she’s going to be the first Proskauer chair. We look forward to working with her,” Salvatore said.

Original Author: Hank Bao