Dean David M. Schizer Updates Alumni on the State of the Law School

Speaking to a large gathering of graduates during Reunion 2011, David M. Schizer, Dean and the Lucy G. Moses Professor of Law, provided details about the Law School’s continued commitment to enhancing the Columbia Law School experience.

“The goal is to prepare students for this changing world of practice that lies ahead of us,” Dean Schizer said at the Saturday morning talk. “We are really training our students for positions of leadership.”

A top institutional priority, according to Dean Schizer, is to enhance the curriculum by providing more opportunities for students during the third year of law school. “We are creating a range of programs that will appeal to students with different interests,” Dean Schizer said.

For example, Dean Schizer described the new Columbia Three-Year J.D./M.B.A. Program, which offers students an accelerated opportunity to earn degrees from both Columbia Law School and Columbia Business School. The program includes innovative courses taught jointly by business and law faculty. He also provided details about the recently launched Richard Paul Richman Center for Business, Law, and Public Policy, an interdisciplinary academic center that is administered by the two schools.

Additionally, Dean Schizer noted that another new initiative, the Roger Hertog Program on Law and National Security, provides exciting curricular offerings focused on an increasingly important field of study, with 14 courses examining various aspects of national security law.

Dean Schizer also discussed the Externship on the Federal Government in D.C., which gives third-year students the chance to partake in high-level work at federal institutions and agencies such as the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Department of Justice.

In discussing ways that the Law School continues to enrich its impressive international offerings, Dean Schizer highlighted the government of India’s endowment of both a professorship devoted to Indian constitutional law and a fellowship named after University Professor Jagdish Bhagwati that will support the studies of at least two Law School students annually.

The Dean pointed out that a significant expansion of the faculty has made all of these evolving programs and initiatives possible, with 28 new faculty members having joined the Law School community over the past seven years.

At the end of his talk, the Dean fielded an audience member’s question about enhanced opportunities for students in the realms of business and technology. He said the Law School is continually working to create programs that train students for the kinds of positions they will find themselves in after graduation—whether these be jobs in law or in other professional fields. “Part of what makes my job fun,” Dean Schizer noted, “is trying to imagine the world that is to come and how to best prepare our students for it.”