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Courtesy of Berkeley Law

Gillian Lester, the acting dean of the University of California, Berkeley, Law School, was named the next dean of Columbia Law School on Wednesday afternoon.

Updated, April 23, 11:44 p.m.

University President Lee Bollinger announced Gillian Lester, the acting dean of the University of California, Berkeley, Law School, as the next dean of Columbia Law School on Wednesday afternoon.

Lester, who will become dean on Jan. 1, 2015, will replace David Schizer, who announced in July that he would step down as dean at the end of the academic year after 10 years—the tenure limit for Columbia Law School deans.

Columbia law professor Robert Scott will serve as interim dean beginning July 1 and serve until Lester takes over in January.

“I'm honored to take on the leadership of Columbia Law School at this pivotal time,” Lester said in a press release. “I'm looking forward to working with its distinguished faculty, talented students and accomplished alumni.”

Lester, who graduated from Stanford Law School and the University of Toronto Faculty of Law, focuses on employment law and policy. She began her teaching career at the University of California, Los Angeles, in 1994, and joined the faculty at Berkeley in 2006.

At Berkeley, she also served as the co-director of the Berkeley Center on Health, Economic & Family Security and as associate dean for the school's J.D. program. She became acting dean last year, after then-Dean Christopher Edley Jr. took a medical leave.

“Professor Lester brings accomplished scholarship, admired teaching and first-hand academic leadership experience at a great peer institution to her new role at Columbia,” Bollinger said in a press release. “I believe this is a great appointment for the School, and promises over the coming decade to help Columbia Law School flourish at a time of both challenge and opportunity in the field of legal education.”

Bollinger announced in September the creation of a 12-member search committee, chaired by Scott and law professor Richard Briffault, to find a replacement for Schizer.

Check back for updates.

samantha.cooney@columbiaspectator.com  |  @sammcooney

Correction: An earlier version of this story said Lester began teaching at UCLA in 1999. She became a full professor in 1999, but started teaching in 1994. Spectator regrets the error.

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