Ellen P. Chapnick
Dean for Social Justice Initiatives and Lecturer in Law
435 W. 116th Street Box B-26
New York NY 10027
Ellen P. Chapnick is the Dean for Social Justice Initiatives and a Lecturer-in-Law. As Dean, her responsibilities include development and implementation of projects that will further Columbia's excellence in preparing the public interest, government and human rights lawyers of the future. She also teaches the Externship on Pro Bono Practice and Design.
Prior to Columbia, she was a federal litigator at Wolf Popper Ross Wolf & Jones, where, among other matters, she represented class plaintiffs in In re Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Litigation, for which she and her co-counsel shared TLPJ's 1995 Trial Lawyer of the Year Award. She also had been a staff attorney at the Puerto Rican Institute for Civil Rights in San Juan and at various labor unions.
Dean Chapnick’s recent pro bono work includes serving as: President of Legal Services for New York-Bronx; chair of the Association of American Law Schools' Section on Pro Bono and Public Service Opportunities; and president of the Center for Constitutional Rights. Dean Chapnick has received the Association of American Law Schools' Father Robert F. Drinan award, Sanctuary for Families' Abely Pro Bono Achievement Award, Legal Aid Society of New York's award for outstanding pro bono publico service and the Pro Bono Students America award for best Law School public interest program. She is the author of several articles and the Access to the Courts chapter in the American Bar Association's The Law of Environmental Justice.