BERKELEY -- UC Berkeley acting law school Dean Gillian Lester has taken the top post at Columbia University's law school, Columbia President Lee Bollinger announced Wednesday.

Lester will take over as dean of Columbia's law school on Jan. 1, Bollinger said.

Lester is a nationally recognized authority in employment law and policy, whose research has explored distributive justice and the welfare state, workplace intellectual property, paid family leave, and the design of social insurance programs. She became acting dean at Berkeley's law school last year after Christopher Edley, Jr. announced he was stepping down for medical reasons.

Lester will remain acting dean this summer and will be on Berkeley's faculty through the fall semester, according to a Berkeley Law news release.

"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 news 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."

Lester holds degrees from Stanford Law School and the University of Toronto Faculty of Law, and began her teaching career at UCLA.


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In a letter to Berkeley law students and faculty, quoted in Berkeley's announcement, Lester wrote, "Serving as acting dean this past year has been a privilege beyond words. ... The values -- and the heart -- of this institution have touched and inspired me deeply."

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