Professorship Established by UArizona Law Honors Professor, Corporate Governance Giant Robert Mundheim
Mundheim has been a leader across the worlds of law and business for more than six decades.
A new endowed professorship at the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law has been created in honor of Robert H. Mundheim, long-time professor and corporate governance expert. The Robert H. Mundheim Professorship of Law and Business was established through a gift of close to $600,000 made by a group of his colleagues, friends and former students.
“I appreciate this honor immensely, particularly since it was made possible by the many people who I know personally and professionally,” noted Mundheim. “I greatly enjoy my time at University of Arizona Law in large part because the students have been such thoughtful and active participants in my seminar and my faculty and staff colleagues have been so supportive.”
Mundheim has been a leader across the worlds of law and business building an astonishing career that spans more than six decades. Among his many influential roles, he has served as the University Professor of Law and Finance and Dean at the University of Pennsylvania Law School; as general counsel of the U.S. Treasury Department, where he played a lead role in successfully negotiating the release of the U.S. hostages in Iran; as special counsel to the Securities and Exchange Commission; and as executive vice president and general counsel for Salomon Inc. Since 1999, he has been of counsel to the global law firm of Shearman & Sterling.
Deeply committed to education and advancing the legal profession, he has influenced countless law students and legal peers as a professor, Dean and colleague. While at University of Pennsylvania, he established an intensive two-week course on professional responsibility for first year law students as well as the Center for the Study of Financial Institutions and Securities Markets, which sponsored research projects and served as a forum for students. Throughout his career he also organized and participated in numerous continuing legal education programs and symposia that helped to advance the understanding of complex topics in the field of business law and provided essential instruction to the profession.
“For the past 25 years, Bob has convened an annual seminar for the General Counsel of the world’s largest global financial institutions,” said Robert Hoyt, chief legal officer for HSBC Holdings, participant of the International General Counsels’ Seminar and contributor to the gift which established the Mundheim Professorship. “The gathering represents so much of what Bob stands for—building trust and friendship while listening to and learning from one another. We all consider ourselves to be Bob’s “students”, and that is why the current and former attendees came together to donate in Bob’s name. It is a small fraction of the debt we owe him.”
In 2011, Mundheim joined University of Arizona Law as a professor of corporate law and finance where, each spring, he teaches the popular annual seminar on Corporate Governance. As part of the seminar, Mundheim moderates conversations with national leaders in business and law, relating their experiences in and perspectives about corporate governance, markets, ethics and career development. Seminar guests such as Simon Lorne, vice chair and chief legal Officer of Millennium, the largest hedge fund operator in the world; Michele Coleman Mayes, presently General Counsel of the New York Public Library; and John Cannon III, co-chair of Shearman & Sterling’s Corporate Governance Advisory Group, have been regular participants.
Each year, guests also include directors, senior executives and general counsel of significant public corporations. For example, last year’s seminar participants also included Anne Gates, former senior executive at the Walt Disney Company; Robert Denham, former Chief Executive Officer of Salomon Inc.; Eric Grossman, Executive Vice President and Chief Legal Officer of Morgan Stanley, Inc.; and Michael Sharp, Executive Vice President and General Counsel of Jefferies Financial Group, Inc.
“The incredible breadth and depth of experience that he has brought to University of Arizona Law is such a benefit to students in the corporate governance program,” said Victor Nilsson (’13), a former student in the seminar, former colleague at Shearman & Sterling and contributor to the professorship. “The lessons I learned in Bob’s seminar are a cornerstone of my own practice today.”
The inaugural Mundheim Professorship of Law and Business was awarded to Barak Orbach who serves as the founding director of the Business Law program at University of Arizona Law. Internationally recognized as a leading scholar of antitrust and regulation, his most recent works explore what antitrust policies are likely to protect market competition in the digital age.
“I am humbled and honored to serve as the inaugural recipient of the Robert H. Mundheim Professorship of Law and Business,” said Orbach. “What sets Bob apart from any other individual I have known is the scope and depth of his positive impact on many organizations and the lives of many individuals. Our college, faculty, staff, and students have been very fortunate to be among the beneficiaries of Bob’s professional and personal commitments. I have known Bob for more than a dozen years. My professional and personal growth during this period would have been very different without him. It is, therefore, a very meaningful honor to receive the Mundheim Professorship and also a responsibility to work harder and do things better.”
Beyond his distinguished law career, Mundheim has also had an extraordinary record of service to the community with many organizations benefitting from his leadership. Today, he is a trustee of the New School; a trustee of the Curtis Institute of Music; a trustee of the American College of Governance Counsel; and a director of the Salzburg Global Seminar. He was the President of the American Academy in Berlin for six years and received the Officer's Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany in recognition of his service to the Academy. He has also chaired the American Bar Association's Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility and in 2020 received the ABA’s Michael Franck Professional Responsibility Award. He also served on the Council of the American Law Institute (ALI) for nearly 30 years and is the recipient of the ALI’s Distinguished Service Award.
"The American Law Institute is incredibly fortunate to have had more than 50 years of Bob Mundheim’s wisdom, guidance, and leadership,” said ALI President David F. Levi. “In addition to his role on ALI’s Council, he acted as an adviser or consultant on the Federal Securities Code, Corporate Governance Principles, Compliance and Enforcement Principles, and the Restatement on the Law Governing Lawyers projects. He also was instrumental in the decision of the ALI to launch the Restatement on Corporate Governance in 2018. In every one of these roles, Bob has been unwaveringly thoughtful and institutionally minded, with a great sense of humor and a willingness to give and take in the process of getting to a consensus. He is a brilliant lawyer with a passion for law reform and ardent debate. It is so fitting that the University of Arizona has established the Robert H. Mundheim Professorship in Law & Business.”
University of Arizona Law Dean Marc Miller noted that “Bob Mundheim has been a lawyers’ lawyer and, over decades, a leader in legal education, the legal profession, and in government and industry. Among the many striking aspects of Bob’s career is the care he has given to mentoring others, and his sustained commitment to diversifying the legal profession. Year after year, our students, my colleagues, and our University of Arizona community have been the beneficiaries of both Bob’s wisdom and his vast network of leaders in law and finance. I could not be more pleased that, with the generous support of his many friends, we can now and forever honor Bob and his deep connection to Arizona Law with this endowed professorship in his name.”