Vivian O. Berger, the Nash Professor of Law Emerita, first joined the Columbia faculty in 1975. She was named a member of the Law School faculty in 1983. Her principal areas of interest include criminal process and law (particularly capital punishment), habeas corpus, mediation/alternative dispute resolution, and employment discrimination. Berger was of counsel at Hoffinger, Friedland, Dobrish and Stern from 1994 to 1998. She previously served as assistant counsel to the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund in 1986, and as an assistant district attorney for New York County from 1977 to 1983.
Berger’s professional experience includes work in mediation and arbitration. She has also served as general counsel of the board of the American Civil Liberties Union, as a board member of The Bridge, Inc., as chair of the First Department Screening Panel, and as a regular columnist for The National Law Journal. Berger has been a member of the American Law Institute and has served on a number of committees, including the New York Unified Court System ADR Advisory Committee and various New York City Bar Association committees. She was a member of the board of advisers of the California Appellate Advocacy Institute, the advisory board of the ACLU Capital Punishment Project, and New York Lawyers Against the Death Penalty. Berger also received an American Bar Foundation Fellowship.
Berger received her J.D. from Columbia Law School in 1973 and earned a B.A. from Harvard University in 1966. She served as a law clerk to Judge Wilfred Feinberg of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals from 1973 to 1974.