Ellen Chapnick named Assistant Dean for Social Justice Programs

Following the departure of Harlene Katzman, in August, Columbia Law School began a search for a new Assistant Dean for the Center of Public Interest Law.  Students, faculty and administrators interviewed a number of candidates.  The process, gave the school a chance to think through the goals of Columbia Law School, the importance of public interest work, and the questions of social justice that face our students. It became clear that consolidating Social Justice Initiatives at Columbia Law School with the Center of Public Interest Law would be the most effective and efficient way to service our students.  This consolidation would allow Ellen Chapnick, currently the Dean for Social Justice Initiatives to head up Social Justice Programs, which will include the Center for Public Interest Law.

Assistant Dean Chapnick is the ideal candidate for the new position of Assistant Dean for Social Justice Programs.  With her impressive resume and her vast connections in the world of public interest work, fellowships, and government work, she will not only provide the students with the best possible access to public interest opportunities, but also allow the school to expand the reach of the important work that our students and alumni are doing on the broad questions of social justice and public service.

The center will continue its work under Akua Akea and Melissa Cardinali, who will be joined by Jane Cooper from Social Justice Initiatives and a new hire.  The office will continue to focus on public interest employment, fellowship opportunities, government employment, pro bono and social justice programs. The work will continue to be supplemented by a team of consultants with expertise in various public interest and governmental employment settings.  This step forward allows Columbia Law School to continue to be a leader in training and placing students and alums in the positions where they can serve the global community.

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