Making a Difference Through Government Work

Winter 2009

At least 30 full-time professors and 70 adjunct lecturers-in-law at Columbia Law School have experience working in the federal government. To show students the benefits of such work, several faculty members gathered together at a recent Law School panel titled “Making a Difference.”

“Government lawyers are among the happiest lawyers I’ve ever seen,” Professor Olati Johnson, who previously served as counsel to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, noted at the event. Professor Matthew Waxman, who held senior advisory positions at the National Security Council, the U.S. State Department, and the Department of Defense, agreed with Johnson’s assessment. “My route to government was driven by intellectual interest,” he said. “[Teaching at Columbia] is my favorite job, but I wouldn’t trade those [government experiences] away.”