Professor Olati Johnson Named Public Interest Professor of the Year


Media contact: Sonia von Gutfeld 212-854-1453 [email protected]
Public Affairs Office 212-854-2650 [email protected]
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, April 17, 2009 — Columbia Law School students have recognized Professor Olatunde Johnson for her outstanding support for and inspiration to the public interest law community. Johnson received the Public Interest Professor of the Year award at Social Justice Program’s Public Interest Honors Dinner, held yesterday evening.
In a statement students said:
"Professor Johnson is a role model for aspiring public interest lawyers, and generally for all students. Her distinguished career in public service speaks for itself:  she clerked for the Supreme Court, did a Skadden Fellowship at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, served on the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, and worked at the ACLU National Legal Department before coming to Columbia. In her classes, both large and small, Professor Johnson challenges us to consider how well lawmaking and litigation serve the purposes of social justice and to recognize where other strategies might better achieve these goals. And perhaps most profoundly, Professor Johnson inspires us through her warm, approachable nature. Whether to discuss a paper, an internship or future job, or to just chat about how things are going, she is there to listen, offer constructive advice, and draw upon her wealth of experience and knowledge to help any student achieve his or her public service goals. In this way, she not only inspires us to pursue public interest endeavors, but also acts as catalyst to making these efforts successful.

"For the support, encouragement, and expertise that she lends to public interest students at Columbia Law School, we honor Professor Olatunde Johnson with the 2009 Public Interest Professor of the Year Award."

Columbia Law School, founded in 1858, stands at the forefront of legal education and of the law in a global society. Columbia Law School joins traditional strengths in international and comparative law, constitutional law, administrative law, business law and human rights law with pioneering work in the areas of intellectual property, digital technology, sexuality and gender, criminal, and environmental law.