Penn State Law's Ventoruzzo teaches in summer program in Tokyo

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State Law Professor Marco Ventoruzzo spent much of the month of August in Japan at the invitation of the University of Tokyo Faculty of Law, teaching in the law school’s summer program on comparative business law and participating in a conference organized by Professors Keiichi Karatsu and Gen Goto.

The University of Tokyo Faculty of Law is one of the top Japanese institutions of higher education, and the summer program attracted approximately 80 participants including law students, attorneys, and corporate executives, primarily from Japan but also from other Asian countries.

Ventoruzzo discussed current issues of corporate governance, comparing U.S. and European law, such as cash-out mergers, proxy voting, and the composition of boards of directors. In addition to Ventoruzzo, the summer program’s faculty also included Professor J. Mark Ramseyer of Harvard Law School, Professor Harald Baum of the Max Planck Institute in Germany, Professor Dan Puchniak of the National University of Singapore Faculty of Law, and Jacques Buhart, a partner in the Paris office of McDermott Will & Emery, a member of the board of trustees of Sorbonne Law School, and a former chair of the International Bar Association.

"This was a great occasion for me, not only to talk about corporate law, but more generally to learn about Japanese law,” Ventoruzzo said. “The Japanese legal system is a fascinating and very complex one that mixes elements of French, German and U.S. law together with very original solutions derived from the local tradition. As it is often the case, even more interesting than the law in the books is the law in action, which can be very different and can only be understood considering economic, social, and cultural norms.

“But this has not only been about work,” Ventoruzzo added. “I managed to travel around, check out the famous Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo (the tuna auction at 4 a.m. is interesting also from a financial perspective), and attend a traditional tea ceremony. My extremely kind and welcoming hosts also explained many unknown things about Japanese etiquette, cuisine, and how to enjoy sake.”

Ventoruzzo also offered American law students a bit of perspective: "U.S. students worrying about the bar exam should think of their Japanese fellow J.D.s: Until recently, the bar pass rate was around 2 percent and a lot of people took the exam 10 times before becoming lawyers."

Last Updated August 23, 2016