Suzanne Goldberg

Executive Vice President for University Life; Herbert and Doris Wechsler Clinical Professor of Law; Director, Center for Gender and Sexuality Law

Suzanne Goldberg

Executive Vice President for University Life; Herbert and Doris Wechsler Clinical Professor of Law; Director, Center for Gender and Sexuality Law

Suzanne Goldberg, one of the country’s foremost experts on gender and sexuality law and a leading advocate for the LGBTQ community, serves as the Herbert and Doris Wechsler Clinical Professor of Law. She also leads the Law School’s Center for Gender and Sexuality Law and its Sexuality and Gender Law Clinic.

Goldberg joined the Law School’s full-time faculty in 2006. She previously served on the faculties of Rutgers School of Law­–Newark and Fordham Law School. In private practice, Goldberg served as a senior staff attorney at Lambda Legal, the country’s first legal organization focused on achieving full equality for lesbian and gay people. During her time at Lambda, she served as co-counsel for the defendants in the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case Lawrence v. Texas.

In 2015, Goldberg was appointed to serve as Columbia University’s first executive vice president for university life. In this role, she works to reinforce and broaden the university’s commitment to respect, inclusion, and ethical leadership among students, faculty, and administrators. Goldberg is a frequent commentator and analyst for news media on sexuality and gender law, and on discrimination law and litigation issues. Her commentary has been featured on 20/20, CNN, and other national television networks, as well as on radio and news outlets around the world.

Goldberg graduated with honors from Brown University, and went on to serve as a Fulbright Fellow at the National University of Singapore. She earned her J.D. at Harvard Law School and later clerked for Justice Marie Garibaldi of the New Jersey Supreme Court. Goldberg is a recipient of the Law School’s Willis L.M. Reese Prize for Excellence in Teaching.

  • J.D., Harvard University, 1990
  • A.B., Brown University, 1985
Areas of Expertise
  • Sexuality and gender law
  • Civil procedure
  • Civil rights
  • Lawyering and social change
  • Equality theory
  • “Reflections on Obergefell and the Family-Recognition Framework's Continuing Value,” 84 UMKC Law Review 707, 2016
  • Obergefell at the Intersection of Civil Rights and Social Movements,” California Law Review, Volume 6, 2015
  • “Risky Arguments in Social-Justice Litigation: The Case of Sex Discrimination and Marriage Equality,” Columbia Law Review Volume 114, 2014
  • “Multidimensional Advocacy As Applied: Marriage Equality and Reproductive Rights,” Columbia Journal of Gender and Law 29.1, 2015
  • “The Employment Non-Discrimination Act: Its Scope, History, and Prospects,” Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation Discrimination in the Workplace: A Practical Guide (co-authored with students), 2014
  • “Article III Double-Dipping: Proposition 8's Sponsors, BLAG, and the Government's Interest,” 161 University of Pennsylvania Law Review 164, 2013
  • “Discrimination by Comparison," 120 Yale Law Journal 728, 2011
  • “Family Law Scholarship Goes to Court: Functional Parenthood and the Case of Debra H. v. Janice R.,” (co-authored with students) Columbia Journal of Gender & Law, 2011
  • "Open Service and Our Allies: A Report on the Inclusion of Openly Gay and Lesbian Servicemembers in U.S. Allies’ Armed Forces,” 17 William & Mary Journal of Women and the Law 547, 2011
  • “Sticky Intuitions and the Future of Sexual Orientation Discrimination,” 57 UCLA Law Review 1375, 2010
  • “Marriage as Monopoly: On the Flaws of History, Tradition, and Incrementalism Rationales for the Marriage/Civil Union Distinction,” 41 Connecticut Law Review 1397, (symposium issue), 2009
  • “Marriage, Domestic Partnership, and the Future of Separate But Equal,” Sesquicentennial Essays from the Columbia Law School Faculty, 2008
  • “Family Law Cases as Law Reform Litigation: Unrecognized Parents and the Story of Alison D. v. Virginia M.,” 17 Columbia Journal of Gender and Law, 2008
  • “Equality Opportunity: Marriage Litigation and Iowa’s Equal Protection Law,” 12 Journal of Gender, Race & Justice 107, (co-authored with students), 2008
Activities and Affiliations
  • Member of the New Jersey Civil Practice Committee of the New Jersey Supreme Court, 2002-2006
  • Annual Review Board of Advisors, Georgetown Journal of Gender and the Law, 1999-­present
  • Founder and past president of the board of directors of Immigration Equality (formerly the Lesbian and Gay Immigration Rights Task Force)
Honors and Awards
  • Willis L.M. Reese Award for Excellence in Teaching, 2009
  • Public Interest Professor of the Year Award, 2008
  • LeGal Foundation Community Vision Award, 2011
  • M. Ashley Dickerson Award from the National Association of Women Lawyers, 2008
  • Dukemenier Award for Sexual Orientation Scholarship, 2006 and 2004
  • Association of American Law Schools Outstanding Scholarly Paper Award, 2003
  • Co-Chair, University Commission on the Status of Women, 2012-present
  • Senior Staff Attorney, Skadden Fellow, Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, 1991-1993
Professional Experience
  • Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund 1991-2000   
  • Senior staff attorney, Skadden Fellow, 1991-1993
  • Counsel in numerous lesbian and gay civil rights impact litigation cases involving constitutional, statutory and common law claims; responsible for all phases of trial-level and appellate litigation in state and federal courts, including in U.S. Supreme Court
  • Advised and oversaw attorneys and legal interns on litigation, legislative, and public policy analysis projects;
  • Advised employers on personnel matters, benefits and other employment issues.
  • Extensive public speaking, media relations, and authorship and editing of informational, advocacy and scholarly publications.
  • New Jersey Supreme Court 1990-1991
  • Judicial clerkship with Justice Marie Garibaldi
Civil Procedure
S. Advanced Civil Procedure: Scholarly and Litigation Perspectives
S. Advocacy in Theory and Practice
S. Advocacy in Theory and Practice - Fieldwork
Sexuality and Gender Law Clinic
Sexuality and Gender Law Clinic - Project Work

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