FALL 2000 ISSUE

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Commuting between Europe and America for the better part of his legal career may sound glamorous but, earning sympathy from those of us who stare dumbfounded at our empty suitcases before a mere weekend jaunt, Professor Friedrich "Fritz" Kübler speaks of the "chaos" of moving a household back and forth. Also, there's the clarity of thought required to maintain a workload in two languages. Since joining the Penn Law faculty in 1985, Kübler has continued living and teaching in both Philadelphia and Frankfurt, Germany.

"It has been wonderful, living as part of the institution in a major American law school," Kübler reflects. He says the influences of American policies and his University of Pennsylvania colleagues have profoundly affected his views on free speech issues and media policy, as well as corporate law, two areas in which he excels.

Despite the unique challenges of transatlantic tenure, living in two worlds has its benefits, Kübler maintains. The entire family including Kübler's wife, Britta, and their three children, who all attended high school in the United States, speak fluent English. His eldest daughter, a researcher, taught at Berkeley and Harvard; she joins another daughter, who followed in her father's footsteps as a lawyer, and a son, an engineer, who live in Germany. And Kübler's career has flourished - his work on each side of the Atlantic has been enhanced by what he's learned on the other.

He has taught at various European law schools including Tübingen, Paris, Giessen, Konstanz and Frankfurt. In 1975 and 1983, the University of Pennsylvania Law School hired him as visiting professor, making a permanent offer in 1985. Kübler is considered an international expert in several areas of mass media and corporate finance law, and his textbook, German Corporate Law, is now in its fifth, completely revised edition and "sells quite successfully to students," he adds with a measure of pride. Today he is also Of Counsel to Clifford Chance Pünder in Frankfurt where he advises the firm on various legal matters.

Reflecting on a career filled with milestones in media and finance policy in his home country, Kübler notes his leadership in calling for a German legal framework structured to foster and advocate for the professional responsibility of journalists, and his work with former dean Robert Mundheim on promoting basic securities regulations in Germany. Kübler's ease with maintaining a transatlantic career underscores the link between two cultures that share a knowledge of the value of democracy - one born because of it, the other having learned the hard way - and the primacy of freedom of expression as a basic principle of human liberty.

Kübler considers among his most influential work an essay on the attitude of German judges toward democracy, "The German Judiciary Facing Democratic Lawmaking" (Archiv für die Civilistische Praxis, 1961) which demonstrated the changing attitude of the German judiciary. This essay, one of his first published pieces, helped make a name for Kübler. And just last year he presented a paper, "How Much Freedom for Racist Speech?: Transnational Aspects of a Conflict of Human Rights," published in Hofstra Law Review.

The German professor views the exploding globalization of culture and commerce with mixed feelings. "To some extent the globalization of markets has a beneficial effect because it may provide more services, especially financial services, more efficiently and at a lower cost," Kübler notes.