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Cornell Law School

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Cornell Law School
Parent school Cornell University
Established 1887
School type Private non-profit
Dean Stewart J. Schwab
Location Ithaca, NY, US
Faculty 57 (full time)
51 (part time)
(See List)
LSAT 75th% 168
Median LSAT 168
LSAT 25th% 166
Undergrad. GPA 75th% 3.81
Median Undergrad. GPA 3.70
Undergrad. GPA 25th% 3.57
Volumes in law library 700,000
Annual tuition $53,150
Outlines 0 (See List)
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Cornell Law School is located in Ithaca, NY

Cornell Law School, located in Ithaca, New York, is a graduate school of Cornell University. It is one of the five Ivy League law schools. The law school offers four types of law degrees, eight programs of law study, and over 120 courses for its students. In the field of law, Cornell retains an excellent reputation: its graduates have the sixth highest percent placement at the top 50 law firms. Additionally, Cornell's July 2005 New York bar pass rate for first-time candidates was the highest of any law school in New York state.

The Cornell Law School was formally opened in 1887, but was moved to its present-day location at Myron Taylor Hall in 1937. The law school building, an ornate, Gothic structure, was the result of a donation by Myron Charles Taylor, a former CEO of US Steel, and a member of the Cornell class of 1894. An addition to Myron Taylor Hall was completed in 1988.


In 2005 the median GPA for incoming Cornell Law students was 3.65, and the median Law School Admissions Test score was 167. The admission rate for 2005 was 20.6%. A breakdown of the various degree programs reveals that for certain programs the selectivity can dramatically increase. In the LL.M. program the admission rate hovered around 6.67% in 2005, as 900 applications were received for the 50 to 60 openings in the program.[1][2]

Along with placing an emphasis on both high GPA and LSAT scores, the admissions process places a heavy emphasis on an applicant's explanation for wanting to attend Cornell. In particular, the Law School values applicants who have done their research and have particular interests or goals that would be served by attending the school versus one of its peer institutions.[3]


Cornell is one of the pre-eminent law schools in the United States; 7th in the 2004 Law School 100 rankings, 13th in the 2007 U.S. News and World Report, and its master of laws, or LL.M., program ranked 1st in the 2006 AUAP rankings.[4][5] In 2005, the National Law Journal reported that Cornell Law graduates had the 6th highest percent placement at the top 50 law firms.[6]

Cornell Law graduates have consistently achieved the highest bar pass-rate among law schools in the state of New York during the past few years.[7] In 2006, Cornell's July 2005 New York bar pass rate for first-time candidates was 95% versus 94% for New York University (NYU) and 90% for Columbia.[8]

Library and the Legal Information Institute

Cornell's law library is one of the largest in the nation. The law library contains 700,000 books and microforms and includes rare historical texts relevant to the legal history of the United States.[9]

The Cornell Law School Library

An important aspect of the library is the fact that it is one of the 12 national depositories for print records of briefs filed with the United States Supreme Court. Also, there is a large collection of print copies of the records and briefs of the New York Court of Appeals. The large microfilm collection has sets of Congressional, Supreme Court, and United Nations documents, as well as a large collection of World Law Reform commission materials. Microfiche records and briefs for the United States Supreme Court, the Second Circuit and District of Columbia Courts of Appeals, and the New York State Court of Appeals are also collected.[10] The library also has a large collection of international, foreign, and comparative law, with the main focus being on the Commonwealth of Nations and Europe. Along with this, there are also collections of public international law and international trade law. A new initiative by the library is to collect Chinese, Japanese, and Korean resources to support the Law School’s Program in East Asian Law and Culture.[10]

The law library also boasts a significant collection of rare books. This collection has over 1200 volumes and it is housed in the Rare Book Room, which was built in 1981. Among these rare books is the Samuel Thorne collection, which has 175 of the some of the earliest and most rare books on law. Other significant collections include the Nathaniel C. Moak library and the Edwin J. Marshall Collection of early works on equity and the Earl J. Bennett Collection of Statutory Material, a print collection of original colonial, territorial, and state session laws and statuary codes.[10]

Among the library’s special collections are 19th Century Trials Collection, Donovan Nuremburg Trials Collection, Scottsboro Collection, William P. and Adele Langston Rogers Collection and the Chile Declassification Project.[10]

Cornell Law also oversees the Legal Information Institute (LII), known internationally as a leading provider of public legal information. The LII offers all opinions of the United States Supreme Court handed down since 1992, together with over 600 earlier decisions selected for their historic importance, over a decade of opinions of the New York Court of Appeals, and the full United States Code. The LII also publishes important secondary sources: libraries in two important areas (legal ethics and social security) and a series of “topical” pages that serve as concise explanatory guides and Internet resource listings for roughly 100 areas of law.

Academic Offerings

Law Degrees

The Cornell Law School

Law Programs

  • International Program
  • Legal Information Institute
  • Death Penalty Project
  • Legal Aid Clinic
  • Public Interest
  • Keck Foundation Ethics Program
  • Olin Program of Law & Economics
  • Clarke Program in East Asian Law and Culture
  • Asylum Clinic
  • International Human Rights Clinic
  • Externships Program

International Summer Law Institutes

Cornell Law School runs two summer institutes overseas, providing Cornell Law students with unique opportunities to engage in rigorous international legal studies. The Cornell-Université Paris I Summer Institute of International and Comparative Law at the Sorbonne in Paris, France offers a diverse curriculum in the historic Sorbonne and Centre Panthéon (Faculté de droit) buildings at the heart of the University of Paris I: Panthéon-Sorbonne. Coursework includes international human rights, comparative legal systems, and international commercial arbitration. French language classes are also offered.

In 2006, Cornell Law School announced that it would launch a second summer law institute, the new Workshop in International Business Transactions with Chinese Characteristics in Suzhou, China. In partnership with Bucerius Law School (Germany) and Kenneth Wang School of Law at Soochow University (China), Cornell Law provides students from the United States, Europe, and China with an academic forum in which they can collaborate on an international business problem.


Cornell Law School boasts three highly-regarded law journals: the Cornell Law Review, the Cornell International Law Journal, and the Cornell Journal of Law and Public Policy.

Moot Court

Cornell Law students actively participate in myriad moot court competitions annually, both in the law school itself and in external and international competitions. The Langfan First-Year Moot Court Competition, which takes place every spring, traditionally draws a large majority of the first-year class. Other internal competitions include the Cuccia Cup and the Winter Cup.

Other Organizations

Student activities at Cornell Law School include:

Notable faculty

See also: List of Cornell University people

Notable alumni



External links