A Letter from Dean David M. Schizer
Columbia Law School is please to announce the inauguration of the National State Attorneys General Program as of March 1, 2004. This is an important step in strengthening Columbia's commitment to educating our students about legal issues in government and training them to assume roles as lawyers in public service. We believe that this program also will foster important research and scholarship relating to government issues, and provide a forum for discussion among state attorneys general and their staffs, academics and private lawyers about issues of significance to the work of state attorneys general.
To assure that the Program addresses the needs and interests of attorneys general, James E. Tierney will serve as its first director. As a former attorney general of Maine and a Columbia lecturer-in-law, Jim is knowledgeable about both state government and the academic environment. The Program will be under the broader auspices of our Social Justice Program, and its Dean for Social Justice Initiatives, Ellen Chapnick. Jim and Ellen will be assisted by a Board of Advisors that includes attorneys general, former attorneys general and Columbia faculty members whose teaching and research are relevant to the concerns and work of the attorneys general community.
This website will keep you informed about its activities. We hope that it also will be a useful resource for information focusing on state attorneys general. For example, we will publish papers of academic merit that may not be published elsewhere. The Program also will encourage academic research and work with existing Columbia's law reviews to bring appropriate attention to suitable research. We are also considering creating a process to provide research assistance by Columbia Law Students to the offices of State Attorneys General.
The Program also will present conferences that encourage frank discussions among important stakeholders on topics of importance to state attorneys general. Our first effort, the "Symposium on The Newest Federalism: State Attorneys General in Cases of National Significance," concerned corporate governance, antitrust and parens patriae litigation. The attorneys general of fourteen states, key assistant attorneys general from those states and five more, members of the federal and state judiciaries, Columbia faculty members and students, academics from other law schools and prominent lawyers braved the December blizzard to attend. We have heard that exchanges begun at the symposium continued long past its formal closing. You can read the proceedings on this website. Our symposium in June 2004 will address state attorneys general and national environmental policy.
Finally, we plan to hold annual attorneys general career symposia and job fairs that will connect state attorneys general offices to students, new lawyers and mid-career lawyers seeking pro bono, summer, entry-level and lateral positions. We hope through these means to support and encourage students thinking of a career in state government.
We hope that you will agree that Columbia Law School's National State Attorneys General Project will contribute to the important dialogue about the substantial and increasingly complex role of state attorneys general across a broad range of issues of national significance.