NSAC Feature: Professor Bernard H. Oxman

By Carolina de la Pedraja – At the University of Miami School of Law, Professor Bernard H. Oxman is recognized for his array of knowledge on international law. Walking into Professor Oxman’s office, one is surrounded by bookshelves full of materials ranging from international law to first year torts. At the School of Law, Professor Oxman teaches courses on international law, law of the sea, conflicts of law, and torts. This year in particular he is teaching one-third of the “elements” course for first years. “Elements” is a class unique to the University of Miami School of Law and he has been giving his students a peek at public and private international law. When asked why he chose this particular field, Professor Oxman admits that he was always interested in international law and he explains the variety of positions he has held in the field.

Professor Oxman graduated from Columbia Law School in 1965 and shortly after applied for a position in the Judge Advocate General’s Office for the Navy and was assigned to the international law division in the Pentagon. After his time in the Pentagon, Professor Oxman believed he would return to New York and go into private practice but he was instead asked if he would be willing to work at the Department of State’s legal advisor’s office, to which he agreed. While at the Department of State’s office, he had a very active role in the negotiation of a new comprehensive convention on the law of the sea.

Professor Oxman has worked on many publications over time. Many of them are published in the American Journal of International Law of which he was co-editor-in-chief for ten years. Recently he has written a chapter on dispute settlement in the new handbook on the law of the sea, which has been published by the Oxford University Press. He also recently gave an address on the law of the sea at University of California at Berkley Law School, which will appear in published form.

Outside of the University of Miami School of Law, Professor Oxman is a member of the American Society of International Law (ASLI) and, aside from being co-editor-in-chief of the American Society of International Law, he was also Vice President of the publication. He now chairs a task force of ASIL involving the complex question of adapting to the new world of electronic publishing. In addition to his publications, Professor Oxman is active in the work of the Law of the Sea Institute and tries to attend as many of their meetings as possible. He is also a member of the Institute of International Law, which has 182 elected members from around the world, and only seven American members, Professor Oxman being one. Additionally, Professor Oxman hopes that the United States will finally become a party to the Convention on the Law of the Sea because it has already been widely ratified by many countries.

When he is not teaching or working on international matters, Professor Oxman enjoys listening to classical music. He also spends his summers on the Oregon coast walking along the beaches and exploring the areas while working from home there. Professor Bernard H. Oxman is not only very knowledgeable and talented at what he does, but also a caring professor and the University of Miami School of Law is lucky to call him one of its own.

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