Visiting Professor of Law
James S. Liebman is the Simon H. Rifkind Professor of Law at Columbia Law School and Director of the Consortium for Public Research and Leadership (http://web.law.columbia.edu/public-research-leadership), a multi-university, interdisciplinary project that brings together upper-level law, business, education and policy students from top U.S. universities to immerse themselves in the theory and practice of institutional change in the public sector and particularly public education.
After earning his B.A. from Yale College and J.D. from Stanford University, Professor Liebman served as Law Clerk to Judge Carl McGowan of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and to United States Court Justice John Paul Stevens and assistant counsel for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. He was Assistant Counsel at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund from 1979 to 1985 and joined the Columbia law faculty in 1985 where he served as Vice Dean from 1991 to 1992.
Professor Liebman’s work has focused on institutional change in two U.S. contexts: public education and criminal justice. From 2006 to 2009, he served as Chief Accountability Officer at the New York City Department of Education and leader of its Division of Accountability and Achievement Resources. In that position, he led the Department’s efforts to provide parents and educators with information they could use to improve student results and hold schools and educators accountable for helping all students make academic progress. He received New York City’s 2009 Overall Excellence in Technology Award for his design of the City’s educational data system. Among his articles in this area are A Public Laboratory Dewey Barely Imagined: the Emerging Model of School Governance and Legal Reform, 28 N.Y.U. J. L. & SOC. CHANGE 183 (2002-03) and The Federal No Child Left Behind Act and the Post-Desegregation Civil Rights Agenda, 81 NO. CAR. L. REV. 1703 (2003) (both with Charles F. Sabel)
Among Professor Liebman’s recent authored and coauthored works on criminal justice are THE WRONG CARLOS: ANATOMY OF A WRONGFUL EXECUTION (Columbia University Press 2014); Correcting Criminal Justice Through Collective Experience Rigorously Examined, 87 S. Cal. L. Rev. 2014; A MODERN APPROACH TO EVIDENCE (5th ed. 2014); The Evidence of Things Not Seen”: Non-Matches as Evidence of Innocence, 98 Iowa L. Rev. 577 (2013); Minority Practice, Majority’s Burden: The Death Penalty Today, 9 Ohio St. J. Crim. L. 255 (2011); and FEDERAL HABEAS CORPUS PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE (6th ed. 2011). For his work in the criminal justice area, Professor Liebman has received the Law & Society Association Article Prize, the National Association of Criminal Defense lawyers Champion of Justice Award, and a Soros Senior Justice Fellowship. He has argued five habeas corpus and death penalty cases in the United States Supreme Court.
Areas of teaching include criminal law, evidence, education policy and the law, the death penalty, habeas corpus, equality and equal protection, legal ethics, and public interest advocacy.