Daniel Abebe Appointed as Dean of Columbia University Law School

Daniel Abebe joins Columbia Law School from the University of Chicago, where he currently serves as Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and Governance. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine

Updated: June 19, 2024

New York (TADIAS) — Columbia University announced this week that Daniel Abebe will assume the role of Dean of the Law School and Lucy G. Moses Professor of Law starting August 1st. Abebe’s appointment marks a historic moment as he becomes the first Black dean to serve in this prestigious position, succeeding Dean Gillian Lester.

Abebe joins Columbia Law School from the University of Chicago, where he currently serves as Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and Governance and holds the Harold J. and Marion F. Green Professorship of Law. At Chicago, he has made significant contributions to the academic community through his research and leadership roles. His scholarship focuses on the intersection of U.S. constitutional law regarding foreign affairs and public international law, with notable publications in the University of Chicago Law Review, Supreme Court Review, and the Virginia Journal of International Law.

In addition to his academic achievements, Abebe brings extensive experience in institutional governance and disciplinary matters. He previously served as Deputy Dean at the University of Chicago Law School, where he played a pivotal role in shaping policies related to disruptive conduct and institutional discipline.

Columbia University President Minouche Shafik expressed confidence in Abebe’s ability to lead Columbia Law School, highlighting his diplomatic and inclusive leadership style. She remarked, “I am confident that Professor Abebe will be an exceptional Dean for Columbia Law, one of the most highly regarded law schools in the world. His commitment to academic excellence and his strategic vision will foster an environment where faculty, students, and staff can innovate, succeed, and flourish.”

Abebe holds a BA from Maryville University of St. Louis, a PhD in political science from the University of Chicago, and a JD from Harvard Law School. He clerked for Judge Damon J. Keith of the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and practiced at Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP before embarking on his academic career. He is a member of the American Law Institute and a faculty affiliate of the Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture at the University of Chicago.

As Columbia prepares for Abebe’s leadership, outgoing Dean Gillian Lester will transition back to full-time teaching at the Law School this fall. President Shafik acknowledged Lester’s decade-long tenure with gratitude, noting her significant contributions to the institution.

Abebe’s appointment comes at a pivotal moment for Columbia Law School as it navigates disciplinary actions and campus activism. His background in constitutional law and international relations is expected to provide valuable insights and leadership during these critical times.


For more information about Daniel Abebe and his upcoming role at Columbia Law School, please visit Columbia Law School’s official website.

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