Reflections on Understanding, Implementing and Evaluating Federal Sentencing Under Advisory Guidelines

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Speaker Information

Gerard E. Lynch was appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit by President Obama in 2009. From 2000 through 2009 he served on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, to which he was appointed by President Clinton. Before his appointment, Judge Lynch was both an academic and a practitioner, teaching at Columbia Law School and practicing criminal law as both a prosecutor and defense lawyer. In 2009 he received the Edward Weinfeld Award for Distinguished Contributions to the Administration of Justice from the New York County Lawyers’ Association, and in 2008 Columbia awarded him its annual Wien Prize for Social Responsibility.

A lifelong New Yorker, Judge Lynch was educated at Regis High School, Columbia College and Columbia Law School, in each case graduating first in his class. Following law school, he clerked for Judge Wilfred Feinberg of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and for Justice William J. Brennan Jr. of the U.S. Supreme Court.

After clerking, in 1977 he joined the faculty of Columbia Law School, where he has taught ever since, rising through the academic ranks to an appointment as full professor in 1986 and being named Paul J. Kellner Professor of Law in 1996. From 1992-1997 he served as vice dean of the Law School, with supervisory responsibility for curriculum, adjunct faculty and student services. In 1994 he received the student-voted Willis Reese Award for Excellence in Teaching, and in 1997 he was the first member of the Faculty of Law to receive the university-wide President’s Award for Outstanding Teaching.

As a practitioner, Judge Lynch took leaves from Columbia to serve full time as an assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York from 1980-1983, when he prosecuted white-collar criminal cases and served as chief appellate attorney, and again from 1990-1992, when he served as chief of the criminal division in that office. On a part-time or consulting basis he has been appointed counsel to city, state and federal commissions and special prosecutors investigating public corruption, including the Iran-Contra investigation, where among other responsibilities he briefed and argued the prosecution position in the appeal of Oliver North.

Judge Lynch is a member of the Council of the American Law Institute and has served on numerous committees of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, the New York State Bar Association and the New York Council of Defense Lawyers.

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photograph with Dean Nora Demleitner and Judge Gerard E. Lynch

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