Gillian Lester Appointed Dean of Columbia Law School

April 23, 2014

Dear fellow members of the Columbia community:
I am very happy to write with the announcement that Gillian Lester, a wonderful scholar, teacher, and emerging academic leader, has accepted my appointment as the next Dean of Columbia Law School.  This appointment promises over the coming decade to help the Law School flourish at a time of challenge and opportunity in the field of legal education while continuing to address many of the critical issues of the century.
Gillian is the Alexander F. and May T. Morrison Professor of Law at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law and has been serving as Acting Dean there since last year.  She is a nationally recognized authority in employment law and policy.  Her scholarship focuses on issues at the center of current legal and policy debates such as distributive justice, paid family leave, workplace intellectual property, and social insurance programs.
In 2006, Professor Lester joined the Berkeley Law faculty and served as Associate Dean for JD Program and Curricular Planning.  She also has held appointments as Sidley Austin Visiting Professor at Harvard Law School, 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 Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya, Israel.  She is co-author of one of the leading casebooks on employment law and an advisor to the American Law Institute Restatement of Employment Law.  Professor Lester began her teaching career in 1994 at the UCLA School of Law and holds degrees from Stanford Law School and the University of Toronto Faculty of Law, where she was Editor in Chief of the Law Review.
I once again want to extend my personal thanks to David Schizer for his decade of service as the Law School’s Dean.  David is greatly admired by students and fellow faculty for his outstanding teaching, and he has been widely embraced by alumni and friends of the School.  Always, he has been dedicated to preserving the high standing of the Law School as one of the very finest in the world.  He deserves and has our gratitude.
I look forward to seeing Gillian take up this mantle and to welcoming her and her family to the Columbia community when she officially assumes the Law School deanship on January 1, 2015.  Robert Scott, Alfred McCormack Professor of Law, has agreed to serve as Interim Dean and will be working closely with Gillian to ensure a smooth and effective transition.
Finally, I want to convey special thanks to my fellow members of the Law School community who served on the search committee, particularly Professor Scott and Professor Richard Briffault, the committee’s co-chairs.  Together they conducted a careful and exhaustive search in close collaboration with the Law faculty and put forward a group of highly qualified candidates.
Please join me in offering our congratulations and good wishes to Gillian Lester on her appointment as the fifteenth dean of Columbia Law School.
Lee C. Bollinger