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

Media Contact: Brian Connolly, 212-854-5573, bfc2107@columbia.edu

Gillian Lester

New york, April 23, 2014 — 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, Columbia’s Alfred McCormack Professor of Law, will serve as interim dean.

“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.”

—Photo courtesy of University of California, Berkeley, School of Law

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Among the world’s leading research universities, Columbia University in the City of New York continuously seeks to advance the frontiers of scholarship and foster a campus community deeply engaged in the complex issues of our time through teaching, research, patient care and public service. The University is comprised of 16 undergraduate, graduate and professional schools, and four affiliated colleges and seminaries in Manhattan, and a wide array of research institutes and global centers around the world. More than 40,000 students, award-winning faculty and professional staff define the University’s underlying values and commitment to pursuing new knowledge and educating informed, engaged citizens. Founded in 1754 as King’s College, Columbia is the fifth oldest institution of higher learning in the United States.
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