Associate Professor of Criminal Justice and Human Security
J.D. Columbia University Law School
Phone: (203) 576-4966
Office: Carlson Hall Second Floor
Professor William D. Lay did his undergraduate studies at the University of Wisconsin (Madison) where majored in Chemistry. He attended and graduated with honors from Columbia Law School, where he was a Harlan Fiske Stone scholar throughout his years of study and also Senior Editor of the Columbia Law Review. Professor Lay served as the Law Clerk of Hon. Joseph W. Bellacosa, Associate Justice of the Court of Appeals, State of New York, the highest court in the State of New York. Judge Bellacosa was the author of the Commentaries to McKinney’s Criminal Procedure Law, the fundamental resource on New York criminal procedure. The constitutional limit of police power is a major legal topic in the Court’s jurisprudence, and one of Judge Bellacosa’s areas of greatest experience.Professor Lay worked closely with Judge Bellacosa on a number of key criminal law and criminal procedure decisions.
In private practice Professor Lay was a Senior Associate of the Law Firm of Skadden, Arps, one of the best known law firms in the country. Before establishing his own law firm, Professor Lay’s substantive areas of experience include non-profit and corporate, white collar criminal, RICO, products liability and commercial law. Professor Lay has taught university courses on law and criminal justice for the past seven years and has worked with the Office of the Appellate Defender in New York City. In addition to his native English, Professor Lay also reads, writes and lectures in Spanish. Prof. Lay chairs the Criminal Justice and Human Security program, and
teaches Criminal Justice, American Government, U.S. Legal System, and
Constitutional Law, as well as International Dispute Resolution and
Prof. Lay is particularly interested in the way that a legal philosophy gives rise to legal rules, such as the presumption of innocence, the rights of the accused, trial by jury, and the burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Prof. Lay is fascinated by depictions of courtroom trials in cinema – both accurately and otherwise – and often uses movie scenes in his instruction.Prof. Lay enjoys badminton and is an avid skier, hiker, and runner. He has climbed the highest peaks in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont, and hikes sections of the Appalachian Trail every summer. He has also completed the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, DC.