Benjamin L. Liebman

Benjamin L. Liebman

Research Interest

Chinese law; medical disputes in China; popular access to the courts in China; the evolving roles of legal institutions and lawyers; environmental law; Chinese tort law

Benjamin Liebman is the Robert L. Lieff Professor of Law and director of the Center for Chinese Legal Studies at the Columbia Law School. His current research focuses on Chinese tort law, Chinese criminal procedure, the impact of popular opinion and populism on the Chinese legal system, and the evolution of China’s courts and legal profession.

Professor Liebman’s recent publications include “Regulating the Visible Hand: The Institutional Implications of Chinese State Capitalism” (Oxford 2015, co-edited with Curtis M. Milhaupt); “Leniency in Chinese Criminal Law: Everyday Justice in Henan,” (Berkeley Journal of International Law 2015); “Legal Reform: China’s Law-Stability Paradox,” Daedalus (143 (2) Spring 2014); “China’s Law-Stability Paradox,” in China’s Challenges: The Road Ahead (Avery Goldstein and Jacques De Lisle, eds.) (Center for the Study of Contemporary China, University of Pennsylvania, 2014); “Malpractice Mobs: Medical Dispute Resolution in China,” Columbia Law Review 2013; “Professionals and Populists: The Paradoxes of China’s Legal Reforms,” in China Beyond the Headlines, third edition (Timothy Weston and Lionel Jensen, eds.) (Rowman & Littlefield, July 2012); “Toward Competitive Supervision? The Media and the Courts,” China Quarterly, (Dec. 2011); and “A Return to Populist Legality? Historical Legacies and Legal Reform,” in Mao’s Invisible Hand, Elizabeth Perry and Sebastian Heilmann, eds. (Harvard University Press 2011).

Prior to joining the Columbia faculty in 2002, Professor Liebman was an associate in the London and Beijing offices of Sullivan & Cromwell. He also previously served as a law clerk to Justice David Souter and to Judge Sandra Lynch of the First Circuit. He is a graduate of Yale, Oxford, and Harvard Law School.



Benjamin L. Liebman and Curtis J. Milhaupt, editors, Regulating the Visible Hand?: The Institutional Implications of Chinese State Capitalism (Oxford University Press, 2015).

Benjamin L. Liebman, “Legal Reform: China’s Law-Stability Paradox,” Daedalus (Spring 2014).

Benjamin L. Liebman, “A Return to Populist Legality? Historical Legacies and Legal Reform” in Sebastian Heilmann and Elizabeth J. Perry, editors, Mao’s Invisible Hand: The Political Foundations of Adaptive Governance in China (Harvard University Asia Center, 2001).


WEAI professor Benjamin L. Liebman discusses China’s legal procedures with CNN. April 6, 2015

WEAI professor Benjamin L. Liebman featured in article on China’s medical lawsuits in The New Yorker. August 25, 2014