Robert E. Lutz

Paul E. Treusch Professor of Law Emeritus in Residence

Professor Robert Lutz

B.A., Political Science, 1968, University of Southern California; J.D., 1971, University of California, Berkeley; Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellow, 1980 and 1984,at the Institute for International Law of the University of Munich; Life Member of the American Law Institute and the American Bar Foundation; Phi Beta Kappa; Member, California State Bar


One of legal education's foremost authorities on public and private international law, Robert Lutz has held the top posts in several of the most influential organizations in the international law community. He brings tremendous real-world experience to the classroom.

Professor Lutz chaired the Section of International Law of the American Bar Association, as well as the international law sections of the Association of American Law Schools and the Los Angeles County Bar Association, and was a co-founder of the California State Bar Section of International Law. He was also the first editor of two of its international publications: the California Bar International Law Section Newsletter and the California International Practitioner (now The California International Law Journal). In 2014, the State Bar of California's International Law Section honored him with the Warren M. Christopher International Lawyer of the Year Award for his extraordinary service to the profession in the field of international law.

"Students need to understand the cross-cultural concerns that come into play in negotiating international agreements and resolving international disputes."

The U.S. State Department, the World Trade Organization (WTO), the U.S. Trade Representative and other entities often seek Professor Lutz's counsel. He serves as a member of the State Department Legal Adviser's Advisory Committee on International Law and of the NAFTA Advisory Committee on Private Commercial Dispute Resolution. He has been a member of arbitration panels under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the U.S.-Canada Free Trade Agreement, was founding Board of Directors Chair of the Center for International Commercial Arbitration, and a member of the WTO panel on goods and services disputes. 

He arbitrates private commercial and public (e.g., NAFTA and WTO) disputes. As the Chair of the ABA's International Trade in Legal Services Task Forces (ITILS), he led the U.S. legal profession's efforts to arrange liberalized access for U.S. lawyers to a large variety of foreign jurisdictions. He currently participates in the work of the ABA Commission on Ethics 20/20, an effort to assess the impacts of technology and globalization on the legal profession and to propose reforms. 

He currently serves on the Standing Committee on Professionalism and organized efforts—with the support of the ABA Center of Human Rights' Executive Council on which he was a member—to have the American legal profession represented at the Business and Human Rights Forum of the UN Council on Human Rights in Geneva in 2012 and 2013. As a Life-Member of the American Law Institute, he is chairing a Blue Ribbon Working Group on the Restatement of Foreign Relations Law of the United States (Fourth), and he remains an active member of the American Bar Foundation Fellows' Research Advisory Council.

In 2018, Professor Lutz participated in the ABA Section of International Law Annual Meeting in New York City to speak on “NAFTA: How will Experienced Trade Lawyers Seek to Perfect the New Provisions?” and “Training Tomorrow’s Lawyers to be Ready for Tomorrow’s Challenges." He co-wrote and successfully debated for the ABA Section of International Law Council a resolution on “Protection of the Legal Profession."  He participated in a large U.S. Law Firm Summit for a roundtable discussion of transnational lawyer regulation, a joint meeting with ITILS-NYCity Bar IL Committee, and a meeting with U.S. Lawyers Abroad and Foreign Legal Consultant Committees. Most recently, Professor Lutz attended "ABA Day at the United Nations," meeting with the Deputy Secretary-General and the U.S. Mission to the UN, and he also designated the Pacific Council on International Policy’s “'Expert' on Governance and International Law."

As a law student at the University of California, Berkeley ("Berkeley Law"), Professor Lutz was a co-founder of the Ecology Law Quarterly, the first environmental law journal in the U.S. He is the author or editor of several books as well as a myriad of book chapters and articles on public international law, international business law, and environmental law, and has served as editor-in-chief of leading periodicals including The International Lawyer (TIL), where he organized and was the first editor  of the influential "Year-in-Review," published annually in TIL. He is also a member of nearly a dozen editorial advisory boards of international law publications, and has presented papers at scores of legal conferences and public hearings around the world.

Professor Lutz led or participated in legal exchanges with the bars and law societies of China, Cuba, Scotland, Ireland, India, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Brazil, South Africa, Lebanon, Syria and Iran. He also hosted summits of legal bar leaders from the regions of Asia, Latin America and Europe.

Professor Lutz began his legal career as a judicial clerk to Chief Judge Edward Schwartz of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California. He subsequently practiced law with the firm of Pillsbury, Madison & Sutro, served as Deputy Regional Counsel of the Federal Energy Administration, directed the Institute of Coastal Law and Management at the University of Southern California, and served on the faculties of USC, UCLA, and McGeorge Law Schools.

Professor Lutz joined Southwestern in 1978, and has since been the recipient of the Irwin R. Buchalter, Paul E. Treusch and Justice Marshall F. McComb Professorships. He has also received the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Fellowship at the Universities of Munchen and Augsburg. He serves as an advisor to the Southwestern Journal of International Law, for which he has coordinated a number of Journal-sponsored symposia, including one which examined the future of international law. He taught regularly in the Summer Law Consortium program in Guanajuato, Mexico, and in Southwestern's Buenos Aires program. He organized and directed the first ABA-accredited law study program in China, and was instrumental in establishing Southwestern's General  LL.M. program. In recent news, Professor Lutz was selected for a 2018-19 Fulbright U.S. Scholar grant and is currently preparing to teach “International Dispute Resolution and International Legal Ethics” at Moldova State University in Spring 2019 and Spring 2020.