Fifty Years of Problem Solving

A Special Gathering Honors the Scholarship and Legacy of the Columbia Journal of Law and Social Problems
New York, April 6, 2015—Five decades of legal problem solvers convened at the Columbia Club of New York March 25 to celebrate the Columbia Journal of Law and Social Problems’ (JLSP) 50th anniversary. Bradford Smith ’84, general counsel and executive vice president for legal and corporate affairs at Microsoft Corporation and founder and board co-chair of Kids in Need of Defense (KIND), delivered the banquet’s keynote address.
Keynote speaker Bradford Smith '84 reflected on the important role played by JLSP at Columbia and beyond.
One of the oldest legal publications at Columbia Law School, the Journal emphasizes the sociological, economic, and political impact of legal issues in the context of the public good. Founded in 1965 and currently in its 48th volume, JLSP is directed at a broad audience that includes not only judges and lawyers but also members of Congress, state legislatures, regulatory agencies, and the general public. It has frequently been cited by the U.S. Supreme Court and federal appellate and district courts.

The Journal is also the only publication at Columbia Law School that is entirely student-written. Editor-in-Chief Peter N. Berg ’15 kicked off the evening with reflections on what the Journal means to its members and society at large.

“When I first started, all I knew about being on a journal was that it looks good on a resume—and it does—but being on this journal has been about so much more than that,” Berg said. “It is both an incredible honor and an incredibly humbling responsibility.”
JLSP Editor-in-Chief Peter N. Berg '15, left, kicked off the evening, while Executive Editor Taly G. Matiteyahu ’15 thanked the Journal's faculty advisers, many of whom were in attendance.

Berg recognized the contributions of the chairman of the JLSP board of directors, John A. Shutkin ’84, who could not be present at the event, and introduced Dean of Students Michelle Greenberg-Kobrin ’99, a former JLSP articles editor who also sits on the board of directors.

“We used to joke that, by picking a journal involved with social problems, we had chosen a growth business,” Greenberg-Kobrin said, recalling JLSP as one of her most formative experiences at Columbia Law School.
Dean of Students Michelle Greenberg-Kobrin ’99 recalled her time as a JLSP editor and introduced Smith.
In addition to serving as Microsoft’s corporate secretary and chief compliance officer, Smith is responsible for the company’s legal affairs, intellectual property portfolio, patent and licensing business, and work in government affairs, public policy, corporate citizenship, and philanthropy. He traveled from Seattle to discuss how serving on JLSP shaped his career and helped bring him to Selma, Alabama earlier this month with his wife Kathryn Surace-Smith ’84 for the 50th anniversary of a key chapter in the Civil Rights Movement.

“Before the marchers could go to Selma, lawyers had to write and advocate and ultimately win their case,” said Smith, whom The National Law Journal has named among the 100 most influential lawyers in the United States. “It was the rule of law and the role of lawyers and judges that made that march possible.”
Smith has worked extensively to advance the rights of immigrants, both in recruiting Microsoft’s diverse workforce and through KIND, a non-profit organization that connects attorneys working pro bono with unaccompanied immigrant and refugee children facing the U.S. immigration system alone.

“There can be no justice without law, and no law without lawyers,” Smith said. “Get involved, stay engaged, use your voice, and make a difference!”
Guests spanning the Journal's 50 years and 48 volumes mingled at the elegant gathering,
held at the Columbia Club of New York in midtown Manhattan.

In closing remarks, JLSP Executive Editor Taly G. Matiteyahu ’15 thanked the Columbia Law School faculty who help advise the journal, including Professors Richard Briffault and Jane M. Spinak, and heralded another half century of wide-ranging legal scholarship in the public interest.

The latest issue of JLSP is available here, and a slideshow with more photos from the celebration can be found here.