Alumna Koeleveld Wins Bar Award

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James O’Neill
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June 20, 2007 – Celeste L. M. Koeleveld, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York and a lecturer-in-law at Columbia Law School, has been named a winner of the annual Henry L. Stimson Award, presented each year by the Association of the Bar of the City of New York.
Koeleveld, a 1989 Columbia Law School graduate, is the chief appellate attorney in the criminal division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, where she is responsible for all briefs filed by the office in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. The Stimson Award is presented each year by the New York City Bar Association to outstanding assistant U.S. attorneys in the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York, from both criminal and civil divisions.
For the past year, Koeleveld has taught Columbia Law School’s Legal Practice Workshop, a new legal research, writing and advocacy class for first-year students. For several years she also taught Profession of Law, a course on ethics and professional responsibility for third-year law students.
The two-semester Legal Practice Workshop was a pilot that Columbia Law School will expand this year. It is designed to join legal theory with practice and provides students a foundation for their future work as lawyers, said Philip Genty, a clinical professor of law who oversees the workshop and is director of Columbia Law School’s Prisoners and Families Clinic.
``We were thrilled to get someone with Celeste’s credentials to teach this,’’ Genty said. ``Her students uniformly talked about how warm, friendly and helpful she was and how much knowledge she brings to the classroom.’’
Koeleveld opened a window onto her own professional experience when she took her students to the courthouse one day so they could watch arguments and then talk about them afterwards, Genty said. He said she will be teaching the Legal Practice Workshop again during the 2007-2008 academic year.
Koeleveld received her Stimson Award June 12in a ceremony that included a keynote address by Gerard E. Lynch, U.S. District Judge for the Southern District and Columbia Law School’s Paul J. Kellner Professor of Law. Lynch joined the Columbia faculty in 1977, and was appointed U.S. district judge by President Clinton in 2000.
``It was truly an honor to receive the Stimson Medal and to be surrounded by so many family, friends and colleagues at the award ceremony,’’ Koeleveld said. ``I was particularly pleased that Judge Lynch, who was one of my professors in law school and the Chief of Criminal Division when I started at the United States Attorney's Office, gave the keynote address.’’
After earning her bachelor’s degree from Harvard University in 1986 and her J.D. from Columbia, Koeleveld worked three years as a law clerk for Kenneth Conboy, U.S. District Judge for the Southern District of New York.
Since 1991 Koeleveld has held increasingly senior positions with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including chief of general crimes, deputy chief appellate attorney and chief of the criminal division.   As chief of the criminal division in 2005, she supervised over 160 assistant U.S. attorneys in criminal investigations and prosecutions, and developed office policies in response to changes in statutes and case law.