Gillian Lester, Acting Dean of Berkeley Law, Appointed Next Dean of Columbia Law School

April 23, 2014Bookmark and Share

Gillian Lester

Gillian Lester. Courtesy of University of California, Berkeley, School of Law

Columbia University President Lee C. Bollinger today announced his appointment of Gillian Lester, professor and acting dean of the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, as the fifteenth dean of Columbia Law School, effective January 1, 2015.

“I’m delighted to announce that Gillian Lester will be the next dean of Columbia Law School,” said Bollinger. “Professor Lester brings accomplished scholarship, admired teaching and first-hand academic leadership experience at a great peer institution to her new role at Columbia. I believe this is a great appointment for the School, and promises over the coming decade to help Columbia Law School flourish at a time of both challenge and opportunity in the field of legal education.”

Lester is a nationally recognized authority in employment law and policy, whose research has explored distributive justice and the welfare state, workplace intellectual property, paid family leave and the design of social insurance programs. She is presently the Alexander F. and May T. Morrison Professor of Law and the Werner and Mimi Wolfen Research Professor. She joined the faculty at Berkeley Law in 2006 and has served as co-director of the Berkeley Center for Health, Economic and Family Security, and as associate dean for the JD program and curricular planning before becoming acting dean last year.

She has held external appointments as the Sidley Austin Visiting Professor at Harvard Law School, the Sloan Fellow and Visiting Professor at Georgetown University Law Center, and as a visiting professor at USC Gould School of Law, University of Chicago Law School, and Radzyner School of Law Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, Israel.

“I’m honored to take on the leadership of Columbia Law School at this pivotal time,” said Lester. “I’m looking forward to working with its distinguished faculty, talented students and accomplished alumni. Indeed, I’m looking forward to joining the broader Columbia community and ensuring that the Law School continues to play an essential role in this truly great University.”

Lester holds degrees from Stanford Law School and the University of Toronto Faculty of Law, where she served as editor in chief of the law review. Her undergraduate degree is from the University of British Columbia. She began her teaching career in 1994 at the UCLA School of Law, becoming a full professor in 1999.

Lester is the author of numerous books and articles and is co-author of one of the leading casebooks on employment law, Employment Law Cases and Materials. She is also an advisor to the American Law Institute Restatement of Employment Law.

Between the end of the current academic year and January 1, when Lester officially begins her tenure as dean, Robert Scott, Alfred McCormack Professor of Law, has agreed to serve as interim dean beginning on July 1 and will be working closely with Gillian to ensure a smooth and effective transition.

“I want to thank the diligent members of the search committee for their efforts that led to this impressive appointment, especially its co-chairs Richard Briffault and Bob Scott,” said Bollinger. “I would once again like to thank Dean David Schizer for his total dedication and service to the Law School and University. David deserves and has our gratitude and we look forward to his continued service as a much-admired member of the faculty. Columbia Law School continues to be one of the very finest in the world, in no small part due to David’s leadership over the past decade. Now we go from strength to strength and Gillian Lester will have a great legacy to build on in the years ahead.”

—by Columbia News Staff

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In Memoriam

The University mourns the death of David Rosand, Meyer Schapiro Professor of Art History Emeritus, who taught at Columbia for 50 years. An expert on the Italian Renaissance and Venice, he was also project director for Save Venice. For more information, visit the Department of Art History and Archaeology website.

Milestones

Professor Rachel Adams, director of the Future of Disability Studies program, won the 2014 Educators Award from Delta Gamma Kappa, the society of women educators, for her book Raising Henry: A Memoir of Motherhood, Disability, and Discovery.

Columbia Law School professor Lori Fisler Damrosch was named president of the American Society of International Law.

Associate social work professor Michael Mackenzie has been named a 2014 William T. Grant Foundation Scholar for his research on improving the lives of young people in the child welfare system.

The Record