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Cornell Law Appoints Dean to another Term
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Eduardo Penalver

Summary: Cornell Law’s dean is set to serve his second term as leader of the New York law school.

Cornell Law School announced that Dean Eduardo M. Penalver has been appointed to a second five-year term beginning July 1, 2019. Penalver was the first Latino dean of an Ivy League law school and is the 16th dean of Allan R. Tessler’s Cornell Law School. The Cornell Board of Trustees’ Executive Committee voted on May 24 to approve the reappointment, according to the school’s press release.


Provost Michael Kotlikoff said, “In the first four years of his tenure, Dean Penalver has been an outstanding leader, recruiting and retaining the strongest students and the best faculty, and investing in key areas of technology law, enhanced legal ethics, and public access to legal information. Under his leadership, Cornell launched the one-year Master of Laws degree in law, technology and entrepreneurship at Cornell Tech, markedly expanded legal clinic opportunities for students, and garnered new gifts and commitment for endowed professorships and expanded financial aid.”

Penalver stated, “I am honored to be appointed to a second term as the Allan R. Tessler Dean of the Law School. It’s hard to believe four years have already passed. I look forward to continuing to work with the Law School’s faculty, staff, students and alumni to continue our 130-year tradition of excellence.”

Penalver has been busy during his first four years as dean. The law school was ranked last year as third in the nation for job placement. Of the 2017 graduating class, 97 percent found full-time work in positions requiring bar passage. The law school had 57 students and alumni receive clerkships, the most in the school’s history.

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The law school has added a number of opportunities for those pursuing public interest law. The Frank H.T. Rhodes Public Interest Law Fellowship was already in existence but it has been joined by the new Robert Kent Fellowship. The school has also strengthened is admission standards by reducing its acceptance rate from 31 to 22 percent. The law school has expanded to offer an LL.M. program at Cornell Tech and technology-law courses at the Roosevelt Island campus.

Cornell Law raised $70 million in the last four years as gifts and commitments, helping the school fund three new endowed professorships. These funds have also aided in financial aid availability, resulting in an average student debt to drop from $130,000 to $85,000. A third of the Class of 2018 had no debt upon graduation.

The loan forgiveness program was also reworked under Penalver’s order. Students earning under $80,000 a year and working in nonprofit or government work can have their loan payments made by the school for 10 years until the federal government is able to forgive the remaining principal owed. Many students have taken advantage of this program.

Penalver started his education at Cornell. He earned his B.A. from Cornell College of Arts and Sciences. He went on to Yale Law School, where he graduated from in 1999. Penalver clerked for Judge Guido Calabresi of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and then for Supreme Court Justice Paul Stevens. He went back to Cornell as a faculty member in 2006.

Do you think law schools should seek out deans that are connected to their school in some way? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

To learn more about Cornell Law School, read these articles:



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