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The Online Version
of the Magazine
of Cornell Law School

 

Spring 2012

 

Volume 38, No 1

Dean Stewart J. Schwab

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Table of Contents  Featured Article

A Message from the Dean


Dear Alumni and Friends,

As the class of 2012 graduates, my thoughts turn to their professional futures as well as the job prospects of our current and incoming students. The past few years have been rough for college graduates, and law students nationwide have also had their share of challenges in finding employment after graduation. That said, Cornell Law School remains strong and is on an upswing. The recovery is slow but steady and our current graduates and students are in increasingly better positions for job placement.

As the spring issue of Forum was nearing print, the ABA released employment data on 2010 law school graduates. I am pleased to report that Cornell Law School—with a 96.9 percent overall employment rate—ranked first in New York State and fifth nationwide in job placement. As I stated in the New York Law Journal article that covered the release of these data, an important benefit of attending a top law school is that we offer not only a high-quality legal education, but also a proven reputation, history, and loyal alumni base to provide a launching pad for our graduates that stays strong even during tough economic times.

In the context of a very challenging period, the class of 2010 did well. The class of 2011 faced even greater challenges, because graduates with deferred job offers from the prior two years were just joining the large firms, shrinking the number of available new positions. The preliminary numbers for 2011 will show an overall employment rate of 92 percent. That is still very high and compares favorably with any law school in the country, but there is softness within those numbers as we track and mentor graduates without full-time paid legal work.


The class of 2012 will have better placement statistics. I am confident that we will continue to compare favorably with other top law schools as we are doing everything we can to ensure that our graduates are in the best position possible for short- and long-run success. I also want to thank our alumni and friends who have hired our graduates and served as mentors. You are exemplars of lawyers in the best sense.

This issue of Cornell Law Forum is the second of a two-part series on international studies. How does one encapsulate all that we do in international and comparative law? The subject is a cornerstone of the Law School. The iconic image of the school, the Peace Tower given to us by Myron Taylor, is a constant reminder of our mandate. The foundation that Rudolf Schlesinger laid in comparative law established our commitment to teach and study international and comparative law as a core part of the school’s mission. Today, our faculty knowledge and collaborations run deep through cultures, governments, and institutions far and wide. We are building a broad legal and scholarly framework that can influence change on a global scale. This issue of Forum explores how we are making change happen and what we need to do to build on this momentum.

As we continue to expand our reach throughout the globe, we need a strong foundation here in Ithaca that accommodates the cosmopolitan culture we have created and continue to grow. This year marks an historic milestone. We are breaking ground this summer on the first expansion and renovation of Myron Taylor Hall in twenty-five years. In this issue, you will get a sneak peek at phase one renderings of the new wing.

I often reflect on the quote by Roscoe Pound etched in the wall of our MacDonald Moot Court Room, “The law must be stable and yet it cannot stand still.” The same is true of our Law School in its curriculum, scholarly endeavors, and physical space. While connected to our history, our Law School must reflect the twenty-first century. That future is transparent, accessible, and adaptable to changing times. More than ever, we must emphasize the accessibility of the law, and the relation between law and culture in an increasingly diverse world. Our physical space must reflect these ideals. It can also foster these ideals, and I’m confident that we have a design that meets our many practical needs while addressing these grand aspirations.

Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to highlight the achievement of a few faculty members and welcome a new professor. The timing for a Forum issue dedicated to international studies was auspicious. Jack Barceló, the current patriarch of our international programs, was inducted into France’s Legion of Honor in early April in a ceremony at Myron Taylor Hall attended by the French ambassador to the United States, François Delattre. The Clarke Program in East Asian Law and Culture, directed by Annelise Riles, celebrated its tenth anniversary in March and officially launched its transpacific think tank, Meridian 180. In February, Muna Ndulo received the New York Africana Studies Association’s 2012 Distinguished Africanist Award for his scholarly work and contributions to Africana studies.

 

I also want to welcome Lynn Stout as the Distinguished Professor of Corporate and Business Law, the first endowed professorship in the Clarke Business Law Institute. Professor Stout is internationally recognized as a leading corporate law scholar and public intellectual, as well as an outstanding teacher.

 

We have many outstanding teachers here whose scholarship you will read about in this issue. Great teachers, who can share their intellect and inspire their students to greatness in the law, are the foundation of our mission. We are educating students for a lifetime of learning and service in the law, and we take great care in that responsibility. We wish our class of 2012 well on their journey as they join a distinguished group of alumni.

 

Happy reading!

 

Stewart J. Schwab
The Allan R. Tessler Dean and Professor of Law
dean@lawschool.cornell.edu


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