Reflecting on a Decade of Leadership

Columbia Law School Community Gathers to Honor the Contributions of Dean Emeritus David M. Schizer, Whose Portrait Was Unveiled at a Reception Held to Commemorate His 10-Year Term as Dean
Oil portrait of Columbia Law School Dean Emeritus
David M. Schizer painted by the artist Gerald P. York, 2015

New York, May 12, 2015—Columbia Law School Professor David M. Schizer was just 35-years-old when he took the helm of the Law School as dean in 2004. At the time, some people were concerned he was too young for the prestigious post.

But Schizer, never at a loss for legal authority, pointed to Article III, Section V of the U.S. Constitution in support of his appointment.
“He said, “If I’m old enough to be president of the United States, I’m probably old enough to be dean of Columbia Law School,’” recalled J. Frederick Berg Jr. ’69, at a special reception held at the Drapkin Lounge May 6 to unveil a portrait created to commemorate Schizer’s 10-year term as dean, which ended last year. Gillian Lester became the Law School’s 15th dean in January.
J. Frederick Berg Jr. '69, right, a member of the Columbia Law School Board of Visitors who
commissioned the portrait, and artist Gerald P. York unveil the new oil portrait of Schizer.
Berg, a member of the Law School’s Board of Visitors, commissioned the portrait as a gift to the Law School. He and Schizer share a special connection: Both studied history at Yale before attending Columbia Law School (Berg drily noted that he was in his third-year in Morningside Heights when Schizer was born).
At the reception, Lester, the Lucy G. Moses Professor of Law, welcomed dozens of faculty, staff, alumni, students, and distinguished guests who turned out in full force to pay tribute to Schizer’s accomplishments and contributions to the Law School community. Lester noted Schizer’s unprecedented success in fundraising, faculty hiring, and curricular innovation. Dean Emeritus Schizer, the Harvey R. Miller Professor of Law and Economics, expanded the Law School’s offerings in sexuality and gender law, national security law, arbitration, climate change law, and many other areas. He also launched the Three-Year J.D./M.B.A. Program, which prepares students for careers at the intersection of business and law.
Dean Gillian Lester, left, talks about her predecessor and Dean Emeritus Schizer addresses the gathering.
“I am delighted to be here to commemorate the leadership of David M. Schizer,” Lester told the crowd. “David accomplished so much for our school during his service as dean.”
Lester also noted Schizer’s extraordinary commitment to helping graduates find jobs during the economic downturn, a commitment Berg said he saw first hand in the summer of 2010 when Schizer tracked him down on a vacation in Oregon to ask about a job for a graduating student.
On a personal note, Lester said Schizer, who served this spring as the Martin D. Ginsburg Visiting Professor of Taxation at Georgetown University Law Center, has provided invaluable guidance to her during the transition of leadership.
“I can’t tell you how meaningful that has been to me,” she said. “David cares deeply about the future of the Law School.”
New York State Supreme Court Associate Justice Rolando T. Acosta '82 congratulates Schizer, left,
and faculty gather to admire the new portrait, which hangs in the Drapkin Lounge.

Since his deanship ended, Schizer has kept up a steady schedule at the Law School, where he is known among students for bringing tax law to life. In addition to his efforts in the classroom, he is co-director of the Richard Paul Richman Center for Business, Law, and Public Policy; co-director of the Charles E. Gerber Transactional Studies Center; and co-director of the Center for Israeli Legal Studies.
When it was his turn at the podium, Schizer thanked those in attendance and joked that if his daughter Josephine ever forgets what her dad looked like when she was in seventh grade, the portrait—a remarkable likeness created by the artist Gerald P. York—would serve as a handy reminder.
Schizer poses with (l-r) his mother Hazel Schizer '59, his daughter Josephine,
and his wife Meredith Schizer.