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Law School

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In addition to the J.D., the law school offers the LL.M. and S.J.D. Students may take relevant courses in other programs and apply credit toward the J.D.; a maximum of 12 credits may be applied. The following joint degrees may be earned: J.D./D.M.A. (Juris Doctor/Doctor of Musical Arts), J.D./D.V.M. (Juris Doctor/Doctor of Veterinary Medicine), J.D./M.A. (Juris Doctor/Master of Arts), J.D./M.A.T. (Juris Doctor/Master of Teaching), J.D./M.Arch. (Juris Doctor/Master of Architecture), J.D./M.B.A. (Juris Doctor/Master of Business Administration), J.D./M.D. (Juris Doctor/Doctor of Medicine), J.D./M.Eng. (Juris Doctor/Master of Engineering), J.D./M.F.A. (Juris Doctor/Master of Fine Arts), J.D./M.F.S. (Juris Doctor/Master of Food Science), J.D./M.H.A. (Juris Doctor/Master of Health Administration), J.D./M.I.L.R. (Juris Doctor/Master of Industrial and Labor Relations), J.D./M.L.A. (Juris Doctor/Master of Landscape Architecture), J.D./M.M.H. (Juris Doctor/Master of Hospitality Management), J.D./M.P.A. (Juris Doctor/Master of Public Administration), J.D./M.P.S. (Juris Doctor/Master of Professional Studies), J.D./M.R.P. (Juris Doctor/Master of Regional Planning), J.D./M.S. (Juris Doctor/Master of Science), and J.D./Ph.D. (Juris Doctor/Doctor of Philosophy).

Students must take 14 credits in their area of concentration. The Law School offers concentrations in advocacy, business law and regulation, general practice, and public law. In addition, clinics, worth 4 to 6 credits, include the Legal Aid Clinic, Women and Law Clinic, and Youth Law Clinic. Multiple seminars in the upper-division are open to a maximum of 16 students per semester. Internships include the judicial externship, Neighborhood Legal Services, Criminal Justice, and legislative. Full-term externships are worth 12 credits at approved sites. Special lecture series are the Berger International Lecture Series, the Robert S. Stevens Lecture Series, the Berger Program in International Law, Clarke Lectures (part of Clarke program in East Asian Law and Culture), and Cyrus Mehri lecture series in public interest with 14 partner schools. A minority orientation program and a diversity weekend for admitted applicants are held. The most widely taken electives are Corporations, Evidence, and Federal Income Taxation.

To earn the J.D., candidates must complete 84 total credits, of which 36 are for required courses. They must maintain a minimum GPA of 2.3 in the required courses. The following first-year courses are required of all students: Civil Procedure, Constitutional Law, Contracts, Criminal Law, Lawyering, Property, and Torts. Required upper-level courses consist of a writing requirement (2 writing courses) and Professional Responsibility course. The required orientation program for first-year students is a 2-day introduction to the school.

In order to graduate, candidates must have a GPA of 2.3, have completed the upper-division writing requirement, first-year Lawyering Program, and Professional Responsibility course.


In the fall 2007 first-year class, 3976 applied and 199 enrolled. Ten transfers enrolled. The median LSAT percentile of the most recent first-year class was 97; the median GPA was 3.67 on a scale of 4.0.

Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree and take the LSAT. No specific undergraduate courses are required. Candidates are not interviewed.

The application deadline for fall entry is February 1. Applicants should submit an application form, LSAT results, a nonrefundable application fee of $70, 2 letters of recommendation, a personal statement, and Dean’s certification/recommendation. Transcripts must be sent via the LSDAS. Notification of the admissions decision is mid to late December (early action). The latest acceptable LSAT test date for fall entry is October (early action) December (regular decision). The law school uses the LSDAS.

Financial Aid

About 80% of current law students receive some form of aid. The average annual amount of aid from all sources combined, including scholarships, loans, and work contracts, is $40,000; maximum, $60,970. Awards are based on need and merit. Required financial statements are the FAFSA and Need Access. The aid application deadline for fall entry is March 15. Special funds for minority or disadvantaged students include need-based enhanced grants. First-year students are notified about their financial aid application at time of acceptance.


About 50% of the student body are women; 30%, minorities; 5%, African American; 10%, Asian American; 5%, Hispanic; and 1%, Native American. The majority of students come from the Northeast (56%). The average age of entering students is 23. About 40% of students enter directly from undergraduate school, 9% have a graduate degree, and 60% have worked full-time prior to entering law school.

Students edit the Cornell Law Review, Cornell Journal of Law and Public Policy, Cornell International Law Journal, LII Bulletin-NY, LII Bulletin-Patent, the student newspaper Tower, and the Cornell Law Forum. A variety of moot court competitions, such as the Cuccia Cup, Jessup, and Niagara CISG, are held, mostly at the school. Law student organizations include the Herbert W. Briggs Society of International Law, Cornell Law Students Association, and Environment Law Association. There are local chapters of National Lawyers Guild, Phi Delta Phi, and Order of the Coif.

The law school operates on a traditional semester basis. Courses for full-time students are offered days only and must be completed within 3 years. There is no part-time program. New students are admitted in the fall. There is a 4-week summer session. Transferable summer courses are offered.

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