James E. Tierney has served as a lecturer in law at Columbia Law School since 2000. For 10 years, he was the director of the National State Attorneys General Program.(http://www.stateag.org). Since 2010, he has also been a lecturer in law at Harvard Law School, where he directs the Attorney General Clinic.
Tierney served as the attorney general of Maine from 1980 to 1990, and continues to work as a consultant to attorneys general and others regarding state regulatory structures, ethics, and multi-state initiatives.
During his 10 years as attorney general of Maine, Tierney played an active role in the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG), including service on NAAG's executive board and various committees. Since 1982, Tierney has instructed newly-elected state attorneys general on the effective performance of their office.
Tierney has held a variety of special appointments, including serving as special counsel to the attorney general of Florida during the contested 2000 presidential election, as well as membership on the Federal Trade Commission's Advisory Committee on On-Line Access and Security (2000). He has served as a special prosecutor in Pennsylvania, Minnesota, and Vermont. On behalf of NAAG, Tierney has authored an analysis of the operations of state grand jury practice throughout the United States.
In April 2006, Tierney was selected as the Public Interest Professor of the Year. This award, which is given to the faculty member or administrator who has most supported and inspired a significant portion of the public interest law student community, is selected by a vote of students.