Full-Time Faculty Members Join Columbia Law School

These exceptional scholars, teachers, and clinicians will build on the Law School’s continued excellence in both fundamental and emerging areas of the law. 

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Gillian Lester, Dean and Lucy G. Moses Professor of Law, announced new appointments to Columbia Law School’s full-time faculty. The professors, including two former Columbia Law academic fellows, bring with them wide-ranging expertise in areas such as legal theory, juvenile justice and family law, intellectual property, environmental law, and constitutional law.

More than two dozen new faculty have joined the Law School since Dean Lester’s tenure began in 2015. 

Meet the new professors below, and read more about other recent faculty hires.

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Ashraf “Ash” Ahmed

A political theorist and intellectual historian, Ashraf “Ash” Ahmed will join the faculty as associate professor beginning July 1, 2022. Ahmed is a familiar face on campus, having served as an academic fellow since 2020. His scholarship explores the unstated norms and ethical principles that exist beneath the surface of public law arguments in areas such as election law, constitutional law, and administrative law. This exploration of the disjuncture between what is stated or written and the de facto interpretive theories that structure our laws of democracy helps to illuminate how power is allocated among the three branches of government and its consequences for our political order. Ahmed holds a J.D. from Yale Law School, a B.A. from Harvard University, and an M.Phil. in political thought and intellectual history from the University of Cambridge. He expects to complete a Ph.D. in political science from Columbia this year. Ahmed will teach Torts, Introduction to American Law, and courses and seminars on jurisprudence, and will further strengthen Columbia Law’s excellence in legal theory.

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Mala Chatterjee

Mala Chatterjee’s work explores the philosophical foundations of the laws governing intellectual property, technology, privacy, and speech, and the theories underlying private law doctrine, particularly in torts and property. Currently a Furman Fellow at New York University School of Law, she will join the Columbia Law faculty as associate professor on July 1, 2022. Chatterjee received a J.D. from NYU and a B.A. from Stanford University. She expects to complete a Ph.D. in Philosophy at NYU this spring. During law school, Chatterjee was a summer associate in the intellectual property groups at Durie Tangri in San Francisco and Davis Polk & Wardwell in New York. She clerked for Judge Robert D. Sack ’63 of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals during the 2019–2020 term. Chatterjee has published several articles focused on Lockean theories of property and copyright and is working on a book examining the theory of copyright. She plans to teach Torts along with classes and seminars on law and philosophy and intellectual property. 

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Josh Gupta-Kagan

Most recently a professor of law at University of South Carolina School of Law, Josh Gupta-Kagan will join Columbia Law School as clinical professor of law on July 1, 2022, and launch a Family Defense Clinic to represent parents and other caregivers facing allegations of child abuse or neglect. Gupta-Kagan earned a J.D. from New York University School of Law and a B.A. from Yale College. After clerking for Judge Marsha Berzon of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, he spent six years at the Children's Law Center in Washington, D.C., and two years as a staff attorney in the Civil Justice Clinic at Washington University Law School before beginning his academic career at South Carolina and serving as director of the Juvenile Justice Clinic. Gupta-Kagan has published scholarship on topics including the standard of proof in child abuse and neglect law, the school-to-prison pipeline, and the gaps and biases in child protection law. At Columbia, he will build on our distinguished tradition of clinical advocacy and leading scholarship in the areas of family law and juvenile justice.

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Camille Pannu

An expert on water justice, environmental justice, and community-based participatory advocacy, Camille Pannu will join the faculty as associate clinical professor of law on July 1, 2022, and launch a Just Transition Clinic. Pannu is currently visiting assistant clinical professor of law and co-director of the Community and Economic Development Clinic at University of California, Irvine School of Law. Previously, she was the inaugural director of the Aoki Water Justice Clinic at University of California, Davis, School of Law. Pannu received a J.D. from UC Berkeley School of Law and a B.A. in political economy from UC, Berkeley. She received an Equal Justice Works Fellowship to provide environmental justice legal services to low-income communities in California and clerked in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut and 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. At Columbia Law, the new clinic will focus on deploying transactional and policy advocacy strategies to address the disproportionate impacts of climate change on low-income communities of color, with particular attention to the circumstance of workers and shifts to sustainable production. 

Thomas Schmidt

Thomas P. Schmidt

An academic fellow at Columbia Law School since 2020, Thomas P. Schmidt has focused his scholarly work on federal courts as well as in the areas of constitutional law and legal thought. He will join the Law School as associate professor of law on July 1, 2022. Prior to his fellowship, Schmidt practiced law at Hogan Lovells for more than six years, where he prepared and litigated cases that came before the Supreme Court and federal appellate courts, including arguing a precedent-setting case before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. He clerked for Judge Merrick Garland on the D.C. Circuit and Justice Stephen Breyer on the U.S. Supreme Court. Schmidt earned a J.D. and B.A. from Yale University and an M.Phil in classics from the University of Cambridge. At Columbia Law, he will bring deep experience as a litigator and a collaborative approach to scholarship and will teach Federal Courts.