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The Center on Crime, Community and Law

Columbia Law School is one of the premier law schools for studying criminal law and criminal justice. The Center on Crime, Community, and Law is an outstanding example of the school's commitment to issues of justice. The Center's goal is to create real-world legal strategies for tackling criminal justice problems that affect communities and families every day.

Since being founded in 2002, the Center on Crime, Community and Law has set new standards for teaching and research. An innovative interdisciplinary approach draws on experts in law and social science to create a unique learning environment. Students train in the latest social science theory and methods, and actively participate in analyses of socio-legal problems and crime policy. Coursework is enhanced by opportunities to study special problems in criminal law and criminal justice, including drug policy, juvenile justice, and terrorism.

The Center regularly offers a proseminar on an important public policy problem. Annual symposia and colloquia bring together leading social science and legal scholars and students to discuss topics ranging from labor racketeering to the impact of gun control laws; speakers have included Ian Ayres, James Jacobs, Tracey Meares, David Garland, and Tom Tyler.

One of the Center's greatest resources is its world-renowned faculty, who engage in cutting-edge research and influence national policy. Faculty and students participate in symposia and proseminars on current topics in criminal law and justice throughout the year.


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  • Problem Solving Courts and Community Justice - Taught by Professors Jeffrey Fagan and Michael Dorf, this proseminar introduced students to the latest social science research methods. Students have conducted research on specialized problem-solving at community justice centers throughout New York City.

  • Community Courts and Community Justice - A key symposium recently convened judges, social scientists, legal scholars and other professionals engaged in "problem-solving courts" and community-based institutions that practice therapeutic jurisprudence. Students researched topics ranging from new forms of lawyering that have emerged in these courts, to therapeutic justice and the balance among procedural rights, defendants' therapeutic needs, and public safety considerations; students published research papers in the American Criminal Law Review.

  • National Security, Law Enforcement, and Terrorism - Taught by Professors Harold Edgar and Debra Livingston, this proseminar explored national security issues related to the threat of foreign terrorism. Proseminar participants explored the relationship between the law enforcement and intelligence communities, and how a new assessment of national security imperatives affects this relationship. Students discussed current issues such as the USA Patriot Act, intelligence gathering, military tribunals, immigration, interrogation, search and seizure, surveillance issues, and ethnic and religious profiling; students presented their research at a policy conference.

  • Patriot Act Roundtable - Together with the National Law Journal, the Randolph Speakers Fund, and the Criminal Law and Public Policy Society, the Center's proseminar recently hosted a roundtable on the Patriot Act. Drawing more than 200 lawyers and law students, the roundtable offered a range of legal opinion on the Act and its implications for civil liberties. A video tape is available: Click the applicable program to view this event: broadband  56k modem All files are in Real Media format. If you do not have Real Player installed one may download the free player from their website.

  • Learn more about the Center on Crime, Community and Law (click here).