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The Online Version
of the Magazine
of Cornell Law School


Spring 2011


Volume 37, No 1

Dean Stewart J. Schwab

Professor Robert Summers


Professor Summers addresses a capacity crowd in Berger Atrium at Myron Taylor Hall.

Professor Robert Summers with students


Professor Summers with students at his retirement reception.

Mentor-judges and students at the Law School's Transactional Lawyering Competition


Instructor-judges and students at the Law School's Transactional Lawyering Competition, the first intramural competition of its kind at any law school.

Table of Contents  Featured Article

A Message from the Dean

Dear Alumni and Friends,

It’s been a season for milestones. On December 1, 2010, we celebrated the last class taught by Robert Summers, the William G. McRoberts Professor of Research in the Administration of Law.

Professor Summers has been a giant presence at Cornell for the past forty-two years, renowned for his prolific scholarship, his passion for teaching, and his cow milking muscles, which he honed growing up on the family farm near Halfway, Oregon. We conservatively estimate that he has taught the subject of contracts to over a third of Cornell Law School’s living alumni—close to 4,000 students! Many former research assistants and others returned to campus to thank Professor Summers for his years of service to the Law School, and to extend to him and his wife, Dorothy, our warmest wishes.

Another December milestone was achieved when we surpassed $50 million in our capital campaign. I want to personally recognize the generosity of over 9,000 donors from whom we have received new gifts and commitments as of December 2010 through Far Above … The Campaign for Cornell. These considerable donations represent an important milestone in our ongoing efforts to grow the Law School’s educational resources, and are essential to our ability to provide a world-class legal education. In addition to supporting students through scholarships and post-graduation fellowships and loan forgiveness programs, these contributions enable us to recruit and retain world-class faculty and to launch exciting programs.


One of the exciting new initiatives of the Law School, and featured in this issue of Forum, is the development of The Jack G. Clarke Institute for the Study and Practice of Business Law (BLI). Realized through a $5 million lead gift from alumnus Jack G. Clarke '52  and over $9 million from other alumni, the BLI will keep Cornell Law School at the forefront of corporate law.


This investment could not be more timely, or have met with more enthusiasm. Cornell Law School continues to garner attention in the news, including as a “go-to” school for top law firms, placing second in a National Law Journal ranking of law schools that place the highest percentage of their graduates in the top 250 law firms. We placed eighth in the first-ever U.S. News & World Report ranking by hiring officials at the country’s top law firms. 

This level of excellence is rooted in part in what we cover broadly in Forum—a dynamic and innovative curriculum and exceptional faculty in business law that will continue to thrive under the auspices of the Business Law Institute. In this issue we look at the BLI’s core efforts and hear directly from its new executive director, Ray Minella, a Cornell Law School alumnus with more than thirty years’ experience in the financial sector, as well as from faculty members Robert Hockett and Charles Whitehead, who have been central to the BLI’s creation. In this issue, Hockett and Whitehead also share their perspectives on financial regulation in the wake of the recent financial crisis—see “Bubbles, Busts, and Blame” and “Regulating for the Next Financial Crisis.”


Among the many strengths of the BLI is the opportunity for enhanced collaboration with other colleges and departments within the university—among them Cornell’s Johnson School of Management, the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, the Department of Government, the Department of Sociology, and the Department of Policy Analysis and Management in the College of Human Ecology.


A new course in deal structuring, the Transactional Lawyering Competition (TLC), outlined here, has allowed for similar collaborations with our alumni engaged in transactions at the highest levels. First offered in the fall of 2010, the TLC introduced students to the world of corporate deal making and culminated in the first intramural competition of its kind at any Law School. The competition offered students an opportunity to learn firsthand from seasoned professionals, who acted as instructor-judges during the two-day competition.


As we reflect on these milestones, I am grateful for the extraordinary engagement of alumni, who play such a vital role in advancing our work. I hope you will continue to participate in our ongoing efforts to make the Law School stronger, even more dynamic, and ever more relevant to our fast-paced global community—whether communicating with me about the content of the magazine, visiting our website, connecting with your fellow alumni at Reunion, or contacting me directly to share your thoughts about our work. I will in turn continue to share with you our progress in the months ahead.


Stewart J. Schwab

The Allan R. Tessler Dean and Professor of Law

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