International Spotlight: Satu Pentikäinen, Columbia Law School Visiting Scholar

Which program/department are you in? 

I was a visiting scholar at the Columbia Law School.

What is your primary area of study or research?  

Company law & tax law.

Which country (or countries) do you come from? 


How long have you been in the U.S.? 

I was in the U.S. for two months.

Is there anything you’d like to share about your research or projects? 

Most changes in the legal system are the result of borrowing. Thus, no area of private law is extremely resistant to change as a foreign influence. In my research I examine legal transplants as a part of lawmaking. My research focuses the Americanization of the Finnish Company Law. Most of the basic rules of American company legislation are reflected in Finnish company legislation. Thus, it is necessary to examine the original, American, doctrine and understand the regulatory choices. My research shows that experiences form abroad should be analyzed extensively when preparing legislation. The comparison of Finnish and American company law doctrines shows that regulatory choices have a strong impact also to the development of other company law legislation.

What do you like best about living in the U.S.? 

Absolutely the culture of NYC! There is so much to see here. I have visited museums as well as concerts. Some Columbia related events are free, which is great. It is also nice that Americans are so friendly, I always find someone to talk when I'm out.
 Also, it is great that NYC is international - that makes me feel that I am not alone here in the Big Apple.

What is the hardest thing about living here? 

To be honest, the hardest things are related to kitchen. I love cooking and for me using gas at home was very difficult. I have never used gas stove back at home, so in the first week I only ate noodles (I used a kettle). Other thing was coffee. Coffee is here technically a tea-like drink, so it took a while to get used to that taste.

What do you know now that you wish you knew before coming here? 

I have been in U.S. earlier, mostly in Florida and California, but still NYC’s expensiveness surprised me. My home country Finland is known for high food and drink prices, but here in NYC prices are much higher. It took a while for me to get used to to the high cost of living, especially because I am a student.

Is there anything else you’d like us to know that hasn’t been asked? 

I love the American university culture! Class activities are wonderful and I feel like communication matters a lot in law school. Overall, I think that desire to connect is not one-sided; both professors and students are keen on building relationships. And one more thing to mention, I haven’t seen any powerpoint-presentations during the classes - that is refreshing!

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