Update on Plans for 2021-2022 Academic Year

Dean Lester shares preliminary information about the Law School's return to campus in Fall 2021. 

Dear members of the Columbia Law School community,

As we enter the final stretch of the spring semester, and as the University has begun to share more information about the next academic year, I want to provide an update on the Law School’s planning efforts in advance of the Fall 2021 semester. There are many details still to be determined as we work out the precise contours of a return to campus, but here’s what we can say with confidence right now:

We are planning for a standard two-semester academic year. We expect to return to our usual fall and spring term configuration, including orientation and Legal Methods I/Introduction to American Law in August and a one-week intensive term in January. The tentative 2021-2022 academic calendar is available here.

Classes are expected to take place on campus. In line with President Bollinger’s recent message, our hope is to resume on-campus teaching and learning. Faculty and students should plan to be in New York in time for the start of the fall semester. We are currently in the process of finalizing the 2021-2022 course schedule, which will be released to students soon. The Office of Registration Services will be in touch with further details regarding the curriculum and the registration process.

Law School employees will return to campus on a phased timeline. Per last week’s message from the University, we are planning for Law School staff to return to campus in a phased manner, depending on their specific job responsibilities and taking into account public health requirements. We expect that more detailed information will be shared with employees in May.

I know you will have many questions about the specifics of our plans for the fall. As our campus leadership announces additional details, we will adapt our approach, continuing to be in touch with you on a regular basis. In the meantime, we’ve created an updated FAQ page that will continue to be populated as more specific information becomes available.

While the past year has reinforced that none of us can predict the path of the pandemic with absolute certainty—and we know that conditions may yet change over the next several months—I am heartened by the many reasons for optimism as we prepare for a vibrant fall semester at the Law School.

Best regards,

Gillian Lester
Dean and Lucy G. Moses Professor of Law