Jane M. Picker, Vice President and Secretary of RUSLEF, is Professor Emerita at the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law of Cleveland State University. She and her husband, Sidney (Prof. Emeritus at Case Western Reserve University’s law school), are the first Americans, and the first husband and wife team to have been awarded Honorary Doctorate in Law defrees from the almost 300 year old St. Petersburg State University in Russia.
Prof. Picker holds an A.B. from the Swarthmore College and an LL.B. from Yale Law School. Following graduation she worked first for Tilleke & Gibbons in Bankok, Thailand and then became the first lawyer in the Social Science Dept. of the RAND Corporation in Santa Monica, California, focusing principally on issues of sea law and the law of outer space. On leave from RAND she served as a USIA Exhibit Guide to the first U.S. medical cultural exchange with the then USSR in 1962. Soon thereafter she served as Assistant to the International Vice President at Comsay in Washington. After a year in Australia, lecturing on the Law of Outer Space, Prof. Picker returned to the U.S. where she became the first woman serving as a practicing lawyer in the Cleveland-based firm of Squire Sanders & Dempsey. Becoming interested in issues relating to sex discrimination and employment, she left private practice and successfully argued one of the lead Supreme Court sex discrimination cases, La Fleur v. Cleveland Board of Education, and simultaneously organized and operated Women’s Law Fund, a nonprofit organization to litigate sex discrimination cases in employment and education. She later joined the faculty of Cleveland State University, forming one of the first federal litigation clinic programs in legal education. Simultaneously she began teaching international law and international human rights courses at Cleveland State.
On the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Prof. Picker, together with her husband, Prof. Sidney Picker Jr. of Case Western Reserve Law School, developed and directed a joint law schoolRussian Legal Studies Program. Under that program, 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 later Yaraslav the Wise Novgorod State University, helped develop the law libraries of these law schools, and we responsible for bringing approximately 40 Russian law students to study for 1-2 years at U.S. law schools. Prof. Picker also taught and for many years directed the St. Peterburg Summer Law Institute, and ABA accredited summer law school program in Russia.
Among her more recent articles is Educating Russia’s Future Lawyers – What role for the United States, co-authored with her husband, Sidney, and published in 33 Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law 17, Issue #1, January 2000. Her academic career included visiting lectureships and semester visits at Monash University in Australia, the Legal Resources Centre, a nonprofit organization in South Africa dedicated to nondiscrimination, Cleveland State University Exchange Professor at Westminister Law Faculty in London, and a summer lectureship at Comenius University in Slovakia.
Her non-academic career included serving as Consultant to the World Bank on Russian Legal Education as well as bringing test litlgation in employmeny, in later years combining this activity with her international law training by focusing on issues involving the extraterritorial application of national nondiscrimination legislation. In addition to her RUSLEF activities, Prof. Picker currently serves as the President of Women’s Law Fund.