Welcome Back—Fall 2022
Dean Gillian Lester shares updates and welcomes the community back to campus.
Though spring may be the season of renewal for our natural ecosystem, it is the fall that sees a reawakening of institutions of learning, as life returns to our courtyards, classrooms, and halls.
To those of you who have newly joined us here in Morningside Heights—our 1L, LL.M., and transfer students: We are thrilled to welcome you and the unique threads you will weave into our collective fabric.
Looking to the year ahead, I feel excited about the learning we will do together—some joyful, some difficult, all rewarding. Here are but a few highlights:
- In the latest chapter of an extraordinary period of faculty recruitment for Columbia Law School, we will welcome an exceptional cohort of six new professors to our full-time faculty this fall: Ashraf “Ash” Ahmed, Mala Chatterjee, Josh Gupta-Kagan, Monica Hakimi, Camille Pannu, Tom Schmidt. (A seventh addition, Michael Love, will join us in January).
- We will further strengthen our commitments to equity, justice, and inclusion as projects that began as pilots, like the Artist-in-Residence Program and the Anti-Racism Grants, become embedded in our common purpose. We are also in the process of rolling out new initiatives, including a new podcast series about lawyering, freedom, and democracy, and a redoubled effort to ameliorate barriers to public interest and public service careers. (You’ll hear more about this soon.)
- Building on a proud tradition of legal scholarship and impact in private law, we are bolstering innovative research aimed at creating an economic order that is fairer and more humane. Efforts in this area include new books by Professors Kathryn Judge and Lev Menand; an innovative study about artificial intelligence and consumer credit led by Professor Talia Gillis, which is supported by the Provost’s Office; and a new podcast on white collar crime and corporate governance, co-hosted by Professor John C. Coffee Jr.
- Recognizing the unique role of legal professionals in the guardianship of our democracy, we continue to support innovative, forward-thinking programs—such as the Constitutional Democracy Initiative and the related “Beyond the Casebook” series—designed to provide multiple avenues for engagement across our community.
All of you are on your way to becoming superb lawyers. But beyond that, as Columbians and lawyer-leaders, you will go on to build, steward, and strengthen the core public and private institutions of our civil society—to make them more effective, more just, more inclusive. Your role will be essential to nothing less than the health of our democracy. What’s more, your classroom education is only a part of what will prepare you for this calling.
The friendships you form, the conversations you open yourself to—particularly with people whose lives have been very different from your own—the service you perform beyond our walls, the mentors you gain…all of these will help shape the legal professionals you are to become. So as you dig into the year ahead, I challenge you: Participate fully, with curiosity, with open hearts, and with an enduring sense of what is possible.
Best wishes for a semester of enlightenment, friendship, purpose, and hope.
Dean and Lucy G. Moses Professor of Law