Nicholas C. Howson, Assistant Professor of Law, earned his J.D. from the Columbia Law School in 1988, where he was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar, recipient of the David M. Berger Prize for Public International Law and the Samuel I. Rosenman Prize for Academic Excellence and Citizenship, and served as the head notes editor of the Columbia Journal of Transnational Law. Prior to attending Columbia Law School, and after graduating from Williams College in 1983, Howson spent two years (1983-85) as a graduate fellow at Fudan University in Shanghai, China, doing course work and writing on late Qing Dynasty-early modern Chinese literature. After law school, he was awarded a Ford Foundation/CLEEC fellowship to complete research in Qing Dynasty penal law, during which time he was resident at Beijing University (and working with scholars at People’s University and the China University of Politics and Law) for the latter part of 1988.
In late 1988, Howson joined the New York-based international law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, where he was elected partner in the corporate department in 1996. Between 1988 and 2003, Howson worked out of the firm’s New York headquarters, and also had extended postings in the London, Paris, and Beijing offices of Paul, Weiss, finally as the managing partner of the firm’s China Practice based in Beijing, China. In this period, Howson acted for clients in several precedent-setting corporate M&A, investment and securities transactions, including the first Rule 144A offering into the U.S. capital markets (Thorn EMI), the first debt issuance by a Chinese state-owned enterprise (Sinochem), many of East Asia’s largest project finance transactions (power generation, oil and gas exploration, production and development, and transportation), the first private placement of shares to foreign interests in a newly privatized Chinese company limited by shares (25 percent of Hainan Airlines to George Soros), and the first U.S. registered IPO and listing of shares on the New York Stock Exchange by a PRC-domiciled issuer (Shandong Huaneng Power Development). Howson writes and lectures widely on Chinese law topics, focusing on Chinese corporate and securities law developments, and has acted as a consultant to the Ford Foundation, the UNDP and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, and various Chinese government ministries and administrative departments. He was Lecturer-on-Law at the Columbia Law School teaching Chinese investment law between 1995 and 2003, and taught Chinese law at the Harvard Law School in 2003-04. In 2004-05, Howson was a Visiting Assistant Professor of Law at the Cornell Law School teaching U.S. securities regulation, Chinese investment law, and China’s legal reform and public international law. Howson is a member of the New York Bar and the Council on Foreign Relations, and is a designated foreign arbitrator for the China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission (“CIETAC”). He was chair of the Asian Affairs Committee of the New York City Bar Association, and is a member of the Board of Advisors for the Columbia Law School.