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Gillian Lester Appointed Dean of Columbia Law Effective January 1, 2015 View Count: 226

Lee C. Bollinger, the president of Columbia University, announced that Gillian Lester will be appointed as the fifteenth dean of the Columbia Law School. The appointment takes effect on January 1, 2015, according to a release from the school. Lester is the acting dean of the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law.


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“I’m delighted to announce that Gillian Lester will be the next dean of Columbia Law School,” Bollinger said. “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.”

Right now, Lester is the Alexander F. and May T. Morrison Professor of Law and the Werner and Mimi Wolfen Research Professor. She is nationally renowned for her experience with employment law and policy. Lester became a faculty member at Berkeley Law in 2006 and has worked as the co-director of the Berkeley Center for Health, Economic and Family Security. Lester has also worked as the associate dean for the JD program at the law school.

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“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 has earned degrees from the University of Toronto Faculty of Law and Stanford Law School. She earned her undergraduate degree from the University of British Columbia. She began teaching in 1994 at UCLA School of Law. She became a full professor in 1999.

Robert Scott, the Alfred McCormack Professor of Law, will serve as the interim dean starting on July 1 until Lester takes over the position.

“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.”

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