Columbia University New York, N.Y. 10027 Office of Public Information (212) 854-5573
Lance Liebman, dean of Columbia Law School, will step down to return to full-time teaching at Columbia no later than January 1, 1997, it was announced today. He will have served five and one-half years as Columbia Law School's 11th dean.
Dean Liebman joined Columbia in 1991, after having served as a member of the faculty at Harvard Law School since 1970. His tenure as dean has seen Columbia Law School broaden its curriculum, expand its public interest, clinical and international programs, increase fundraising efforts, and embark on major renovations of its physical facilities. The Law School is currently in the midst of a $10 million reconstruction of Jerome Greene Hall; in October, construction will start on a new building on 116th Street that will house Morningside Heights Legal Services and the office of the Columbia Law Review.
"I have enjoyed my service as dean immensely, and I look forward to the visible achievements of 1996," Dean Liebman said. "I have had extraordinary help and cooperation from members of the faculty, from students, and from many, many graduates. I am proud of the administrative leadership of the school and grateful to each senior administrator. This school has played a large role in studying law and teaching first-class lawyers for more than a century. Because of its justified reputation, its strong faculty, students, and alumni/ae, and its place in the leading university in the capital city of the world, Columbia Law School will continue to be one of the handful of institutions with the potential to ennoble the study of law and the education of lawyers. I have benefited enormously from the traditions and spirit of this very special community."
Under Dean Liebman's leadership the Law School embarked upon a $125 million Capital Campaign project that will run until 1998; more than $80 million has been raised to date. The School also instituted the nation's first mandatory pro bono program at a major law school, in which students are required to complete 40 hours of uncompensated, law-related, public interest service as a condition of graduation, and a new ethics course, The Profession of Law, which exposes students to ethical decisions they will confront as practicing attorneys. Dean Liebman also created the positions of Dean of Students, Dean of Public Interest, and Dean of International Programs.
He is stepping down as dean to be a professor at the Law School. "I entered academic life to teach, to engage in intellectual inquiry about law, and to have control of (or at least influence over) my daily schedule," he said. "Columbia Law School needed, in the recent period, heavy efforts at fund-raising, at construction planning, and at administrative restructuring. I will always be proud that I was dean when the school was so strong and when important new initiatives moved forward, but I believe it is time for me to return to full-time teaching and scholarship. While this is not an easy decision, I believe it is the right time to ask my colleagues and Columbia University President George Rupp to begin the search for a new leader."
President Rupp said: "Lance Liebman will be known as one of the great builders of Columbia Law School, ranked with such predecessors as Theodore Dwight and Harlan Fiske Stone. With enormous energy, he has maintained his school's high standing in the nation and introduced curricular improvements to help students meet the most important ethical and professional challenges of our day. He has also been extremely effective in relating to alumni of the school and in enlisting their efforts on its behalf. We are delighted that he will continue to teach and to contribute to legal scholarship at Columbia."
Dean Liebman is well known for his scholarship and writings on employment law and Japanese law, as well as on ethical issues facing lawyers today. He is the author or editor of seven books, three of them widely used case books. Educated at Yale (B.A.), Cambridge (M.A.), and Harvard Law School (J.D.), he served as chairman of the Yale Daily News and President of the Harvard Law Review while a student. Before beginning his teaching career, he was an assistant to New York City Mayor John V. Lindsay. In 1967-68 he was law clerk to Associate Justice Byron White of the U.S. Supreme Court; he served as associate dean of Harvard Law School from 1981 to 1984. His wife, Carol Liebman, is Clinical Professor of Law at Columbia Law School.