This semester the Georgia State University College of Law welcomes associate professor Timothy Kuhner to campus.
Kuhner joins the faculty from the University of Navarra School of Law in Pamplona, Spain, where he served as associate professor of Anglo-American law for three years. At Georgia State, he will teach comparative law, public international law and torts, among other courses.
"Being the comparative and international law person is an exciting role for me. I've been living comparative law in Europe," he says. "To be one of the main representatives for the international side of the faculty feels true to life."
Before his latest stint abroad, Kuhner lived throughout Latin America as a Watson Fellow and later as a consultant for an international conflict resolution firm. His time in Argentina, Ecuador, Costa Rica and Uruguay impressed upon him the "importance of cultural immersion for understanding foreign legal cultures" and gave him the opportunity to track "diverse applications of mediation and negotiation."
Kuhner's writing crosses borders as well. After analyzing U.S. and Argentinean mediation laws and the role of foreign law in interpreting the Constitution, he has embarked on a more ambitious comparative project. In a book under contract with Stanford University Press and articles in the California Law Review, the Virginia Journal of Social Policy and the Law, and the Indiana Law Review, he has analyzed the U.S. Supreme Court's approach to money in politics and democratic theory.
In an upcoming article in the Harvard Human Rights Journal and a second book project, he compares the U.S. approach to money in politics with foreign and international approaches.
"I'm struck by the range of democratic values and approaches to campaign finance reform among democracies," Kuhner says. "The incredibly expensive and mostly privatized U.S. system of elections and political speech — with its super PACs, big private donors, and indebted officeholders — is not the only way of doing things."
A native of New Hampshire, Kuhner majored in Spanish and sociology at Bowdoin College in Maine. He earned his J.D. as well as an L.L.M. in comparative and international law at Duke University. A clerkship on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit with Judge Roger L. Wollman took him to Sioux Falls, S.D., for a year after he completed his legal degrees.
"At that point I knew I wanted to pursue my legal interests through research, writing, and teaching," Kuhner says of his career path. "I realized that the academic setting, in particular interaction with students and colleagues, would provide the ideal environment for me to keep learning and make the best contribution I can."
Before landing in Spain, Kuhner got his start in academia at Roger Williams University School of Law in Rhode Island. He was also a visiting assistant professor at Duke and, once he relocated to Europe, was a visiting lecturer at the Catholic University of Portugal as well.
Moving to Atlanta has been a change of pace from life abroad, but Kuhner says he is excited to be working and living in a large, interesting city where there is a diversity of things to do. Kuhner says the city's warmer climate will keep his Spanish family happy.
Perhaps most of all, Kuhner, is pleased to be teaching at a law school that prides itself on accessibility. "The idea of an excellent law school that is also affordable resonates with me. It's a revolutionary thing," he says. "It means a lot to be part of a law school that is pushing legal education in such a good direction."