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Gerard E. Lynch

Paul J. Kellner Professor of Law

Gerard E. Lynch

Paul J. Kellner Professor of Law

Gerard E. Lynch is the Paul J. Kellner Professor of Law at Columbia Law School. He joined the faculty in 1977 as an assistant professor of law, and has risen through the academic ranks to appointment as full professor in 1986. He became the first Paul J. Kellner Professor of Law in 1996. From 1992 to 1997, he served as vice dean, with supervisory responsibility for curriculum, adjunct faculty, and student services. Lynch is the author of most notably a book-length study of criminal RICO, an influential account of our de facto administrative process of criminal adjudication and a number of articles about sentencing.

From 2000 through 2009, Lynch was United States District Judge for the Southern District of New York, appointed by President Bill Clinton. He was appointed to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals by President Barack Obama in 2009.

In addition to his academic and judicial experience, Lynch clerked for Judge Wilfred Feinberg on the 2nd Circuit, and for Justice William J. Brennan, Jr., at the Supreme Court. He was an Assistant United States Attorney in the SDNY from 1980 to 1983 (including serving as Chief Appellate Attorney), chief of the criminal division in that office from 1990 to 1992, and counsel to several special prosecutors investigating government corruption, including Iran/Contra. From 1992 to 2000, Lynch was counsel to the New York firm of Howard, Darby & Levin and its successor firms.  

In 1994, he won the Law School’s student-voted Willis L.M. Reese Prize for Excellence in Teaching. In 1997, he was the first Law School faculty member to receive the university’s Presidential Award for Outstanding Teaching. He has received the Wien Prize for Social Responsibility from Columbia Law School (2008), the Edward Weinfeld Award for Distinguished Contributions to the Administration of Justice from the New York County Lawyers Association (2009), and the Learned Hand Medal for Excellence in Federal Jurisprudence from the Federal Bar Council (2016). He is a member of the Council of the American Law Institute.


Selected Publications

  • “Ending Mass Incarceration: Some Observations and Responses to Professor Tonry,” 13 Criminology & Public Policy 561, 2014
  • “Marvin Frankel: A Reformer Reassessed,” 21 Federal Sentencing Reporter 235, 2009
  • “Letting Guidelines be Guidelines (and Judges be Judges),” 5(2) Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law 1 (supp.), 2008
  • “Sentencing: Learning From, and Worrying About, the States,” 105 Columbia Law Review 933, 2005
  • “Revising the Model Penal Code: Keeping It Real,” 1 Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law 219, 2003
  • “Screening versus Plea Bargaining: What Are We Trading Off?” 55 Stanford Law Review 1399, 2003
  • “Sentencing Eddie,” 91 Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology 547, 2001
  • “Our Administrative System of Criminal Justice,” 66 Fordham Law Review 2117, 1998
  • “Toward a Model Penal Code, Second (Federal?): The Challenge of the Special Part,” 2 Buffalo Criminal Law Review 295, 1998
  • “The Role of Criminal Law in Policing Corporate Misconduct,” 60 Law & Contemporary Problems 23, 1997
  • “The Sentencing Guidelines as a (Not-So-Model) Penal Code,” 7 Federal Sentencing Reporter 112, 1994
  • “How Useful is Civil RICO in the Enforcement of Criminal Law?” 35 Villanova Law Review 929, 1990
  • “A Conceptual, Practical and Political Guide to RICO Reform,” 43 Vanderbilt Law Review 769, 1990
  • “RICO: The Crime of Being a Criminal, Parts I & II,” 87 Columbia Law Review 661, 1987; Parts III & IV, 87, Columbia Law Review 920, 1987
  • “The Lawyer as Informer,” 1986 Duke Law Journal 491, 1986
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