Welcome Back—Fall 2021

Dean Lester welcomes the Columbia Law School community back to campus for the Fall 2021 semester. 

Dear Students,

Our campus has now burst to life with the excitement of a new academic year. New students, faculty, and staff bring with them a feeling of renewal and energy as they embrace their emerging identity as Columbians and New Yorkers. For those resuming studies in the Law School, arriving here is punctuated by the delight of meeting and reconnecting with—in person!—many friends and mentors seen only virtually for the past year.

This fall, as we settle into the rhythm of academic life on our beautiful Morningside Heights campus, all of us will feel the urge to take advantage of everything that the Law School has to offer—not only to seek out exciting opportunities that pique our interest but to make up for time lost to the pandemic year. And I cheer you on—with a generous measure of gratitude and respect for the resilience, adaptability, and resolve that have brought you to this day, despite the hard months past. 

And yet I also encourage you, amidst the buzz of activity, to try to leave space between your classes and commitments. This unstructured time allows for restoration, reflection, and serendipitous discovery and connection: the seeds that germinate big ideas and lasting relationships. Above all, what emerges from the space between might surprise you—if you make time to cultivate, prioritize, and open yourself to it. 

It is my great pleasure to welcome you to Columbia Law School as we begin a new year of teaching and learning together. The months ahead will continue to require our care and forbearance so we can keep our campus, and each other, safe. In these still-unsettled times, I am heartened by our progress, optimistic about the future, and confident that our collective spirit of collegiality, mutual compassion, and generosity will guide and enliven our essential work in the months to come. 

With best wishes,

Gillian Lester

Dean and Lucy G. Moses Professor of Law