Cornell Law School
|Cornell Law School|
|Motto||"Lawyers in the Best Sense"|
|Parent school||Cornell University|
|Parent endowment||$7.2 billion|
|Dean||Jens David Ohlin (Interim)|
|Location||Ithaca, New York, United States|
|USNWR ranking||13th (2021)|
|Bar pass rate||96.07%|
Cornell Law School is the law school of Cornell University, a private Ivy League university in Ithaca, New York. One of the five Ivy League law schools, it offers three law degree programs, JD, LL.M., and JSD, along with several dual-degree programs in conjunction with other professional schools at the university. Established in 1887 as Cornell's Department of Law, the school today is one of the smallest top-tier JD-conferring institutions in the country, with around two-hundred students graduating each year. Since its inception, Cornell Law School has always ranked among the top 14 law schools in the nation, known as the T14.
Cornell Law alumni include business executive and philanthropist Myron Charles Taylor, namesake of the law school building, along with U.S. Secretaries of State Edmund Muskie and William P. Rogers, U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Samuel Pierce, the first female President of Taiwan, Tsai Ing-wen, federal judge and first female editor-in-chief of a law review Mary H. Donlon, former President of the International Criminal Court Song Sang-Hyun, as well as many members of the U.S. Congress, governors, state attorneys general, U.S. federal and state judges, diplomats and businesspeople.
Cornell Law School is home to the Legal Information Institute (LII), the Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, the Cornell Law Review, the Cornell Journal of Law and Public Policy and the Cornell International Law Journal. The current interim dean of the law school is Jens David Ohlin, who assumed the role from Eduardo Peñalver in January 2021.
The Law Department at Cornell opened in 1887 in Morrill Hall with Judge Douglass Boardman as its first dean. At that time, admission did not require even a high school diploma. In 1917, two years of undergraduate education were required for admission, and in 1924, it became a graduate degree program. The department was renamed the Cornell Law School in 1925. In 1890, George Washington Fields graduated, one of the first law-school-graduates of color in the United States. In 1893, Cornell had its first female graduate, Mary Kennedy Brown. Future Governor, Secretary of State, and Chief Justice of the United States, Charles Evans Hughes, was a professor of law at Cornell from 1891 to 1893, and after returning to legal practice he continued to teach at the law school as a special lecturer from 1893 to 1895. Hughes Hall, one of the law school's central buildings, is named in his honor.
In 1892, the school moved into Boardman Hall, which was constructed specifically for legal instruction. The school moved from Boardman Hall (now the site of Olin Library) 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 Law class of 1894. Hughes Hall was built as an addition to Myron Taylor Hall and completed in 1963. It was also funded by a gift from Taylor. Another addition to Myron Taylor Hall, the Jane M.G. Foster wing, was completed in 1988 and added more space to the library. Foster was a member of the class of 1918, an editor of the Cornell Law Review (then Cornell Law Quarterly), and an Order of the Coif graduate. In June 2012 the school embarked on a three-year, multi-phase expansion and renovation. The first phase created additional classroom space underground, adjacent to Myron Taylor Hall along College Avenue. The second phase will include the removal and digitization of printed materials from the library stacks so that the space can be converted to additional classroom and student space. The third phase involves converting Hughes Hall into office space.
In 1948, Cornell Law School established a program of specialization in international affairs and also started awarding LL.B. degrees. In 1968, the school began to publish the Cornell International Law Journal. In 1991, the school established the Berger International Legal Studies Program. In 1994, the school established a partnership with the University of Paris I law faculty to establish a Paris-based Summer Institute of International and Comparative Law. From 1999 to 2004 the school hosted the Feminism and Legal Theory Project. In 2006, the school established its second summer law institute in Suzhou, China. The Clarke Program in East Asian Law and Culture was established in 2002.
Myron Taylor Hall saw the addition of 40,000 square feet of underground classrooms in 2012–2014. Hughes Hall was renovated in 2017.
Cornell Law School is highly selective: for the class entering in the fall of 2018, 872 out of 4,126 applicants (21.13%) were offered admission, with 195 matriculating. The 25th and 75th LSAT percentiles for the 2020 entering class were 164 and 169, respectively, with a median of 168. The 25th and 75th undergraduate GPA percentiles were 3.76 and 3.96, respectively, with a median of 3.86.
In the LL.M. program, which is designed for non-U.S.-trained lawyers, 900 applications were received for the 50 to 60 openings. LL.M. students come from over 30 different countries.
Along with consideration of the quality of an applicant's academic record and LSAT scores, the full-file-review admissions process places a heavy emphasis on an applicant's personal statement, letters of recommendation, community/extracurricular involvement, and work experience. The application also invites a statement on diversity and a short note on why an applicant particularly wants to attend Cornell. 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.
Cornell Law School was ranked 13th in the 2020 U.S. News and World Report Law School rankings and 5th in the 2019 Above the Law rankings. The Master of Laws (LL.M.) program at Cornell Law School was ranked 1st in the 2006, 2008, 2010, and 2011 AUAP rankings. In 2017, the National Law Journal ranked Cornell 4th on its list of "Go-To" law schools that excel in placing graduates at the top 250 law firms. Cornell has the third lowest student-to-faculty ratio (10.4 to 1) of ABA–accredited law schools in the United States.
Cornell has offered LL.M and J.S.D degrees since 1928. The joint JD/MBA (with Cornell's Johnson School of Management) has three- and four-year tracks, the JD/MILR program is four years, the JD/MPA is four years, and JD/MRP is four years.
In addition, Cornell has joint program arrangements with universities abroad to prepare students for international licensure:
- Joint program with University of Paris (La Sorbonne) (JD/Master en Droit)
- Joint program with Humboldt University of Berlin (JD/M.LL.P)
- Joint program with Institut d’Études Politiques de Paris (JD/Master in Global Business Law)
The JD/Master en Droit lasts four-years and prepares graduates for admission to the bar in the United States and in France. The JD/M.LL.P is three years and conveys a mastery of German and European law and practices. The JD/Master in Global Business Law lasts three years.
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 de 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.
According to Cornell Law School's official ABA-required disclosures, 92.1% of the Class of 2018 obtained full-time, long-term, JD-required employment nine months after graduation. In a comparative survey of all law schools, Cornell graduates earned the highest average salaries in the United States from 2014 through 2019, with a mean salary of over $183,000. Cornell's Law School Transparency under-employment score is 2.1%, indicating the percentage of the Class of 2018 unemployed, pursuing an additional degree, or working in a non-professional, short-term, or part-time job nine months after graduation. In 2021, Law.com ranked Cornell Law #3 on its ranking of the 50 best law schools for getting an associate position at the largest 100 law firms in the country.
Non-discounted tuition for the JD program is $65,456 per year. The total cost of attendance (indicating the cost of tuition, fees, and living expenses) at Cornell Law School for the 2018–2019 academic year is $88,997. The Law School Transparency estimated debt-financed cost of attendance for three years is $333,296.
Legal Information Institute
Cornell Law also is home to the Legal Information Institute (LII), an online provider of public legal information. Started in 1992, it was the first law site developed for the internet. The LII offers all opinions of the United States Supreme Court handed down since 1990, together with over 600 earlier decisions selected for their historic importance. The LII also publishes over a decade of opinions of the New York Court of Appeals, the full United States Code, the UCC, and the Code of Federal Regulations among other resources.
It recently created Wex, a free wiki legal dictionary and encyclopedia, collaboratively created by legal experts. And the LII Supreme Court Bulletin is a free email- and web-based publication that intends to serve subscribers with thorough, yet understandable, legal analysis of upcoming Court cases as well as timely email notification of Court decisions.
The school has three law journals that are student-edited: the Cornell Law Review, the Cornell International Law Journal, and the Cornell Journal of Law and Public Policy. Additionally, the Journal of Empirical Legal Studies is a peer-reviewed journal that is published by Cornell Law faculty.
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 Rossi Cup.
Institutes and Programs
- Berger International Legal Studies Program
- Clarke Business Law Institute
- Clarke Center for International and Comparative Legal Studies
- Clarke Initiative for Law and Development in the Middle East and North Africa
- Clarke Program on Corporations and Society
- Clarke Program in East Asian Law and Culture
- Death Penalty Project
- Empirical Legal Studies: Judicial Statistics Project
- Global Center for Women and Justice
- Graduate Legal Studies Program
- ILR-Law School Program on Conflict Resolution
- International Comparative Programs
- Law and Economics Program
- Lay Participation in Law International Research Collaborative
- Migration and Human Rights Program
Summer School with Paris 1 Pantheon-Sorbonne University
Cornell University holds since 1993 the "Cornell Law School-Université Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne Summer Institute of Comparative and International Law".
Cornell Law is housed within Myron Taylor Hall (erected 1932), which contains the Law Library, classrooms, offices, a moot court room, and the Cornell Legal Aid Clinic.
The law library contains 700,000 books and microforms and includes rare historical texts relevant to the legal history of the United States. The library 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 United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and D.C. Circuit, and the New York State Court of Appeals are also collected. 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 Clarke Program in East Asian Law and Culture.
Rare books in the library include the Samuel Thorne collection, which has 175 of 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 statutory codes. Among the library's special collections are 19th Century Trials Collection, Donovan Nuremberg Trials Collection, Scottsboro Collection, William P. and Adele Langston Rogers Collection and the Chile Declassification Project.
|Deans of Cornell Law School|
|Francis Miles Finch||1891–1903|
|Ernest Wilson Huffcut||1903–1907|
|Edwin Hamlin Woodruff||1916–1921|
|George Gleason Bogert||1921–1926|
|Charles Kellog Burdick||1926–1937|
|Robert Sproule Stevens||1937–1954|
|William Ray Forrester||1963–1973|
|Roger C. Cramton||1973–1980|
|Peter William Martin||1980–1988|
|Russell King Osgood||1988–1998|
|Charles W. Wolfram †||1998–1999|
|Lee E. Teitelbaum||1999–2003|
|John A. Siliciano †||2003|
|Stewart J. Schwab||2004–2014|
|Jens David Ohlin †||2021–present|
|† denotes interim dean|
- Gregory S. Alexander, Property Law and Theory
- Cynthia Grant Bowman, Gender Equality, Women's Rights, Feminist Jurisprudence
- Michael C. Dorf, Constitutional Law (and noted legal blogger)
- William A. Jacobson
- Eduardo Peñalver, Property and Land Use
- Annelise Riles, Comparative Law, International Law, Legal Anthropology
- Stewart J. Schwab, Employment Law
- Emily Sherwin, Jurisprudence, Property, and Remedies
- Lynn Stout, Professor of Corporate Law, Securities Regulation, Law and Economics (2012–2018)
- Robert S. Summers, Professor of Contract and Commercial Law (1969–2011)
- Stephen Yale-Loehr, Immigration Law
- John G. Alexander (1916), United States Representative for Minnesota's 3rd congressional district (1939–1941)
- Rob Andrews (1982), United States Representative for New Jersey's 1st congressional district (1990–2014)
- Michael Atkinson (1991), Inspector General of the Intelligence Community (2018-2020)
- Mark J. Bennett (1979), served as Attorney General of Hawaii
- Arnold Burns (1953), served as United States Deputy Attorney General
- Thomas Carmody (1882), served as Attorney General of New York
- Katherine Clark (1989), United States Representative for Massachusetts's 5th congressional district (2013–present)
- Barber Conable (1948), United States Representative for New York's 30th congressional district (1983–1985), President of the World Bank (1986–1991)
- Constance E. Cook (1943), member of the New York State Assembly who in 1970 coauthored the first legislation that legalized abortion
- Sharice Davids (2010), United States Representative for Kansas's 3rd congressional district (2019–present)
- Carlos Mendoza Davis (LLM 1995), Governor of Baja California Sur state in Mexico
- Arthur Hobson Dean (1923), diplomat, chief U.S. negotiator of the Korean Armistice Agreement, which ended the Korean War, drafter of the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, and delegate to the United Nations
- Anna Dolidze (JSD 2013), chief legal adviser to the President of Georgia, appointed to the High Council of Justice
- Juan Carlos Esguerra (LLM 1973), former Ambassador of Colombia to the United States, former Colombian Minister of Justice and Law
- Reuben L. Haskell (1898), United States Representative for New York's 10th congressional district (1915–1919)
- William vanden Heuvel (1952), diplomat, businessman, and author
- Philip H. Hoff (1951), 73rd Governor of Vermont (1963–1969)
- Frank Horton (1947), United States Representative for New York's 36th congressional district (1963–1973), 34th district (1973–1983), and 29th district (1983–1993)
- Charles Samuel Joelson (1939), United States Representative for New Jersey's 8th congressional district (1961–1969)
- Frances Kellor (1897), advisor to Theodore Roosevelt and the Progressive Party (United States, 1912), early scholar of urban poverty, unemployment and crime, and advocate for education and immigration reform
- Huang Kuo-chang (JSD 2006), Taiwanese politician, activist, legal scholar, researcher and writer
- Norman F. Lent (1957), United States Representative for New York's 4th congressional district (1973–1993)
- Leonard Leo (1989), Executive Vice President of the Federalist Society
- Sol Linowitz (1938), United States Ambassador to the Organization of American States, received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1998
- Quinton Lucas (2009), 55th Mayor of Kansas City, Missouri
- William J. Lynn III (1980), United States Deputy Secretary of Defense
- Gordon MacDonald (1994), Attorney General of New Hampshire
- John T. Morrison (1890), 6th Governor of Idaho
- Edmund Muskie (1939), 64th Governor of Maine, U.S. Senator, U.S. Secretary of State, received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1981
- Kotaro Nagasaki (1994), member of the House of Representatives in the Diet.
- Edward R. O'Malley (1891), served as Attorney General of New York
- Edward Worthington Pattison (1957), United States Representative for New York's 29th congressional district (1975–1979)
- Peter N. Perretti Jr. (1956), served as Attorney General of New Jersey
- Philip Perry (1990), former general counsel of the United States Department of Homeland Security and former general counsel for the Office of Management and Budget
- Samuel Pierce (1949), served as U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
- John Raymond Pillion (1927), United States Representative for New York's 42nd congressional district (1953–1965)
- Alexander Pirnie (1926), United States Representative for New York's 34th congressional district (1959–1963) and 32nd district (1963–1973), awarded the Legion of Merit and Bronze Star Medal for service in Europe during World War II
- Michael Punke (1989), United States Ambassador to the World Trade Organization (2010–2017)
- Clarence D. Rappleyea Jr. (1962), Minority Leader of the New York State Assembly (1982–1995)
- Thomas Richards (1972), Mayor of Rochester, New York
- Howard W. Robison (1939), United States Representative for New York's 39th congressional district (1958–1975)
- William P. Rogers (1937), served as U.S. Attorney General, and as U.S. Secretary of State, received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1973
- Laxmi Mall Singhvi (JSD 1955), served as High Commissioner of India to the United Kingdom (1991–1997)
- William Sorrell (1974), Vermont Attorney General (1997–2017)
- Henry P. Smith (1936), United States Representative for New York's 40th congressional district (1965–1973)
- Michael E. Toner (1992), former chair of the Federal Election Commission and chief counsel for the Republican National Committee
- Martín Travieso (1903), served as provisional Governor of Puerto Rico, a member of the first Senate of Puerto Rico, Mayor of San Juan, and Associate and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Puerto Rico
- Tsai Ing-wen (LLM 1980), first woman elected President of Taiwan (2016–present)
- Jan van Zanen (LLM 1984), Mayor of Utrecht (2014–present)
- Simon L. Adler (1889), United States District Court for the Western District of New York (1928–1934)
- Mark J. Bennett (1979), United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (2018–present)
- Frederic Block (1959), United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York (1994–2005)
- Robert Boochever (1941), United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (1980–1986)
- Leonie Brinkema (1976), United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia (1993–present)
- John M. Cashin (1915), United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (1955–1970)
- Albert Wheeler Coffrin (1947), United States District Court for the District of Vermont (1972–1993), Chief Judge of the District of Vermont from 1983 to 1988
- Brian Cogan (1979), United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York (2006–present)
- Paul A. Crotty (1967), United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (2005–present)
- Mary H. Donlon (1920), first woman editor-in-chief of a US law review and Judge of the United States Customs Court (now the United States Court of International Trade)
- Phillip S. Figa (1976), United States District Court for the District of Colorado (2003–2008)
- Peter W. Hall (1977), United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (2004–present)
- Robert Dixon Herman (1938), United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania (1969–1990)
- Frederick Bernard Lacey (1948), United States District Court for the District of New Jersey (1971–1986)
- Lloyd Francis MacMahon (1938), United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (1959–1989), Chief Judge of the Southern District of New York from 1980 to 1982
- Alison J. Nathan (2000), United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (2011–present)
- Pamela Pepper (1989), United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin (2014–present)
- Hernan Gregorio Pesquera (1948), United States District Court for the District of Puerto Rico (1972–1982), Chief Judge of the District of Puerto Rico from 1980 to 1982
- Aubrey Eugene Robinson (1947), United States District Court for the District of Columbia (1966–2000), Chief Judge of the District of Columbia from 1982 to 1992
- Stephen C. Robinson (1984), United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (2003–2010)
- Shira Scheindlin (1975), United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (1994–2012)
- Karen Gren Scholer (1982), United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas (2018–present)
- Gary L. Sharpe (1974), United States District Court for the Northern District of New York (2004–present), Chief Judge of the Northern District of New York from 2011–present
- Amy J. St. Eve (1990), United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit (2018–present)
- Roger Gordon Strand (1961), United States District Court for the District of Arizona (1985–2000)
- Joseph L. Tauro (1956), United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts (1972–2013), Chief Judge of the District of Massachusetts from 1992 to 1999
- Elbert Parr Tuttle (1923), one of the "Fifth Circuit Four," United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit (1954–1981), United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit (1981–1996), and Chief Judge of the Fifth Circuit from 1960 to 1967. Tuttle received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1981 and the courthouse for the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit is named in his honor.
- Ellsworth Van Graafeiland (1940), United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (1974–2004)
- Richard C. Wesley (1974), United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (2003–present)
- Christy C. Wiegand (2000), United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania (2020–present)
- Thomas Samuel Zilly (1962), United States District Court for the Western District of Washington (1988–2004)
- Barry T. Albin (1976), Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of New Jersey (2002–present)
- Robert Boochever (1941), Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Alaska (1972–1980), Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Alaska from 1975 to 1978
- Albert M. Crampton (1922), Justice of the Supreme Court of Illinois (1948–1953)
- Howard H. Dana Jr. (1966), Associate Justice of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court (1993–2007)
- Rowland L. Davis (1897), Associate Justice of the New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Fourth Department (1921–1926), Third Department (1926–1931), and Second Department (1931–1939)
- Ellen Gorman (1982), Associate Justice of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court (2007–present)
- Stewart F. Hancock Jr. (1950), Associate Judge of the New York Court of Appeals (1986–1993)
- Irving G. Hubbs (1891), Associate Judge of the New York Court of Appeals (1929–1939)
- Anthony T. Kane (1969), Associate Justice of the New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Third Department (2002–2009)
- Anne M. Patterson (1983), Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of New Jersey (2011–present)
- Cuthbert W. Pound (1887), Associate Judge of the New York Court of Appeals (1915–1934), Chief Judge of the New York Court of Appeals from 1932 to 1934
- Phillip Rapoza (1976), Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Appeals Court (2006–2015), Associate Justice of the Massachusetts Appeals Court (1998–2006)
- Roberto A. Rivera-Soto (1977), Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of New Jersey (2004–2011)
- Robert M. Sohngen (1908), Justice of the Supreme Court of Ohio (1947–1948)
- Joseph Weintraub (1930), Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of New Jersey (1957–1973), Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of New Jersey (1956–1957)
- Richard C. Wesley (1974), Associate Judge of the New York Court of Appeals (1997–2003)
- Paul Yesawich (1951), Associate Justice of the New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department (1974–1981), Third Department (1981–1999)
- Song Sang-Hyun (JSD 1970), Judge of the International Criminal Court (2003–2015), President of the International Criminal Court from 2009 to 2015
Law and Business
- J. Carter Bacot (1958), former President and CEO of the Bank of New York
- Paul Batista (1974), trial lawyer and author of the leading treatise on civil RICO
- Mary H. Donlon (1920), first woman to become a partner of a Wall Street law firm
- Milton S. Gould (1933), founding partner of Shea & Gould. The Milton Gould Award for Outstanding Advocacy is named in his honor.
- Gitanjali Gutierrez (2001), first lawyer to meet with a detainee at Guantanamo Bay, Information Commissioner for Bermuda
- Marc Kasowitz (1977), founding partner of Kasowitz Benson Torres
- Frances Kellor (1897), founding member of the American Arbitration Association and expert in international arbitration
- Ron Kuby (1983), criminal and civil rights lawyer, counsel on cases such as Texas v. Johnson
- Gail Laughlin (1898), first woman from Maine to practice law and founder of the National League for Women's Service
- William F. Lee (1976), intellectual property lawyer, co-managing partner of WilmerHale, first Asian-American to lead a major US law firm
- Samuel Leibowitz (1915), criminal and civil rights lawyer, represented The Scottsboro Boys and argued Norris v. Alabama. The Samuel Leibowitz Professorship was endowed in his honor.
- Sol Linowitz (1938), Chairman of Xerox, received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1998
- Teddy Mayer (1962), co-founder and manager of McLaren Racing
- Shannon Minter (1993), civil rights attorney
- Frank Rosenfelt (1950), former CEO of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) Studio and recipient of the Purple Heart for injuries sustained at the Battle of the Bulge
- Harry Taylor (1893), provided the legal advice that elevated the American League to major league status as a rival to the National League. Taylor financed his legal education by playing professional baseball with the Louisville Colonels.
- Myron Charles Taylor (1894), CEO of U.S. Steel
- Tejshree Thapa (1993), human rights attorney, developed legal argument for prosecuting rape as a crime against humanity before the ICTY
- Justin DuPratt White (1890), founding partner of White & Case. The J. DuPratt White Professorship was endowed in his honor.
- Robert D. Ziff (1992), former co-CEO of Ziff Brothers Investments
- Edward J. Bloustein (1959), former President of Rutgers University
- Hannah Buxbaum (1992), John E. Schiller Chair in Legal Ethics at Indiana University Maurer School of Law
- Richard Buxbaum (1952), Jackson H. Ralston Professor of International Law at UC Berkeley School of Law
- Terry Calvani (1972), former Professor of Antitrust Law at Vanderbilt University Law School, FTC Commissioner, and Member of the Competition Authority (Ireland)
- Dan T. Coenen (1978), University Professor and Harmon W. Caldwell Chair in Constitutional Law at the University of Georgia Law School
- Anna Dolidze (JSD 2013), Professor of International Law at the University of Western Ontario
- Marc A. Franklin (1956), Frederick I. Richman Professor of Law at Stanford Law School
- Charles Garside (1923), former President of the State University of New York
- Michael Goldsmith (1975), Woodruff J. Deem Professor of Law at Brigham Young University's J. Reuben Clark Law School
- William B. Gould IV (1961), Charles A. Beardsley Professor of Law at Stanford Law School
- Ernest Huffcut (1888), Professor of Law at Indiana University School of Law
- Julie O'Sullivan (1984), Agnes Williams Sesquicentennial Professor of Law at Georgetown University Law Center
- John W. Reed (1942), Thomas M. Cooley Professor of Law at the University of Michigan Law School
- Ruth Roemer (1939), Professor at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. The Ruth Roemer Social Justice Leadership Award is named in her honor.
- R. Smith Simpson (1931), co-creator with Peter F. Krogh of the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy at Georgetown University's Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service
- George Bell Jr. (1894), United States Army Major General who commanded the 33rd Infantry Division in World War I and later the United States VI Corps. Bell was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal, the French Croix de guerre with Palm and the Legion of Honor, as well as appointment as a Knight Commander of Britain's Order of St. Michael and St. George.
- Bob DuPuy (1973), former President of Major League Baseball
- Harold O. Levy (1977), Executive Director of the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation and former Chancellor of New York City Schools
- Bajrakitiyabha Mahidol (LLM 2002, JSD 2005), Princess of Thailand
- Ari Melber (2009), journalist, chief legal correspondent for MSNBC, and host of The Beat with Ari Melber
- Pablo Morales (1994), gold medalist at the 1992 Summer Olympics, and former world-record holder in the 100 metres butterfly
- Rick Olczyk (1996), Assistant general manager of the Carolina Hurricanes
- Michael Punke (1989), author of The Revenant: A Novel of Revenge, which was the basis for the film The Revenant
- Glenn Scobey Warner (1894), legendary football coach and innovator
- Paul Yesawich (1951), played in five NBA games for the Syracuse Nationals
- Irene Menéndez Hastings, in The Secret in Their Eyes, received her law degree from Cornell
- Norman Mushari, according to God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater, graduated "at the top of his class"
- Ling Woo, on Ally McBeal, was an editor of the Cornell Law Review
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