The Center for Korean Legal Studies at Columbia Law School is a national focal point for research, scholarship, and exchange on Korean law and legal institutions. Established in 1994 through the generous support of the Korea Foundation and the Hankook Tire Group, the Center was the first of its kind in the United States dedicated solely to the study of Korean law. Bringing together scholars, practitioners, and students from around the world, the mission of the Center is to support research, education, and debate on a broad range of issues impacting the Korean Peninsula from a law and policy perspective.
The Center is the only institution devoted entirely to the study of both the South and North Korean legal systems. Academic offerings include courses on the Korean legal system within the global legal order. A course titled Geopolitics of Law and Conflict on the Korean Peninsula addresses the complexities of North Korean domestic and international legal issues and is the only course of its kind taught at an American university. It is now a part of Columbia Law School's Roger Hertog Program on Law and National Security. Other noteworthy programs offered through the center are the Columbia-KINU Distinguished Speakers Series and a Visiting Scholars program.
Currently the Center is carrying out two major initiatives. Together with the Korea Institute on Ocean Science and Technology (KIOST), the Center is engaged in a project aimed at developing a balanced vision for resolving both longstanding and current territorial disputes under the Law of the Sea. With the Korea Institute for National Unification (KINU), the Center is undertaking a project to establish a permanent public policy institute in the United States with a mission to advance inter-Korean cooperation and peaceful reunification through the application of contemporary law and global governance perspectives.