Gillian Lester
Gillian Lester ()

The next dean of Columbia Law School will be Gillian Lester, now the acting dean at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law, where she has taught since 2006.

Lester will assume Columbia’s deanship on January 1, 2015, Columbia University administrators announced on Wednesday. David Schizer will step down from the post at the end of the academic year after a decade in the job. Professor Robert Scott will serve as interim dean until Lester’s arrival.

Columbia President Lee C. Bollinger called Lester a “wonderful scholar, teacher, and emerging academic leader” in an email to the Columbia community.

This appointment promises over the coming decade to help the law school flourish at a time of challenge and opportunity in the field of legal education while continuing to address many of the critical issues of the century,” Bollinger wrote.

Lester, who specializes in employment law, has been in the legal academy since 1994, when she began teaching at the University of California at Los Angeles School of Law. She has held external or visiting positions at Harvard Law School; the University of Chicago Law School; and the University of Southern California Gould School of Law.

“I’m honored to take on the leadership of Columbia Law School at this pivotal time,” Lester said. “I’m looking forward to working with its distinguished faculty, talented students and accomplished alumni. Indeed, I’m looking forward to joining the broader Columbia community and ensuring that the law school continues to play an essential role in this truly great university.”

At Berkeley, Lester has served as the co-director of the Berkeley Center for Health, Economic and Family Security and as an associate dean for the J.D. program and curricular planning. She became acting dean in August after Christopher Edley Jr. took a medical leave. Edley formally stepped down as dean at the end of 2013.

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