Sidney Picker, Jr., President of RUSLEF, is Professor Emeritus in International Law and Trade at the Case Western Reserve University Law School. He and his wife, Jane (Prof. Emeritus at Cleveland State University law school), are the first Americans, and the first husband and wife team to have been awarded Honorary Doctorate in Law degrees from the almost 300 year old St. Petersburg State University in Russia.
Prof. Picker holds an A.B. from Dartmouth, an LL.B. from Stanford, and an LL.M. from Yale. Following graduation he worked initially with the Los Angeles law firm of Mitchell, Silberberg & Knupp after which he moved to Washington to join the Office of the Special Representative for Trade Negotiations (today, “USTR”), then in the Executive Offices of the President, during the so-called Kennedy Round of GATT trade negotiations (today “WTO”). At the conclusion of the Kennedy Round he joined the general counsel’s staff of Eximbank in Washington. Developing an interest in Pacific Basin trade, he was awarded a Fulbright Grant to teach and research international trade & law at the law schools of Melbourne, Monash, and Australian National Universities in Australia. This experience led to his appointment in 1969 to the faculty of Case Western Reserve Law School.
Responsible for the international law curriculum at Case in 1991 on the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Prof. Picker, together with his wife, Prof. Jane Picker of the Cleveland Marshall College of Law of Cleveland State University, developed and directed a joint law school Russian Legal Studies Program. Under that program and with the aid of USIA and NAFSA grants, they conducted faculty exchanges with the law faculties of St. Petersburg State University, Volgograd State University, and Yaraslav the Wise Novgorod State University, helped develop the law libraries of these law schools, and were responsible for bringing approximately 40 Russian law students to study at U.S. law schools. Prof. Picker also taught and for many years co-directed the St. Peterburg Summer Law Institute, an ABA accredited summer law school program in Russia. During his tenure at Case, Prof. Picker, also founded and directed the Canada-U.S. Law Institute (“CUSLI”, a binational program run jointly with the University of Western Ontario Law School in Canada), and he served as the founding director of the Case law school’s Frederick K. Cox International Law Center.
Among his more recent articles is Educating Russia’s Future Lawyers – What Role for the United States, co-authored wiith his wife, Jane, and published in 33 Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law 17, Issue #1, January 2000. His academic career included a second Fulbright to Monash University, and other summer visits and lectureships at the Legal Resources Centre, a nonprofit organization in South Africa dedicated to nondiscrimination, the Westminister Law Faculty in London, Melbourne University’s Asian Law Center in Austraila, Comenius University in Slovakia, Universidad Gama Filio in Brazil, participation in several international law and trade delegations to China, and before various organizations in Israel.
His non-academic career during this period included serving as Consultant to the World Bank on Russian Legal Education as well as being a member of the first Dispute Resolution Panel to decide a Chapter 20 (country-to-country) dispute under the NAFTA Treaty. In addition to his activities on behalf of RUSLEF, Prof. Picker currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the Southern African Legal Services (“SALS”) Found-aton and is Chair of the Board of Advisors of the Canada-U.S. Law Institute (“CUSLI”).