Cornell Law School’s mission has been international in scope and purpose since it opened its doors in 1887. Cornell Law School graduates are trained to succeed in a rapidly evolving transnational environment. Faculty members’ teaching and research is internationally respected, and the cosmopolitan student body is drawn from around the globe. J.D. students can participate in unique international joint- and dual-degree programs, as well as in semester exchanges at leading world universities, and in a summer institute in Paris. A steady flow of international visiting faculty, scholars, and speakers enrich the life of the school, as does its acclaimed library, which hosts Web sites and bound collections of international importance.
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The Peace Tower at Myron Taylor Hall is a symbol of Cornell Law School's longstanding commitment to world peace through international law.
From the beginning, Cornell Law School has embraced an international perspective, a diverse student body, and international scholarship. Cornell Law School’s first entering class in 1887 included a Japanese student, a professor of international law, and required lectures in Roman and international law.
An early faculty member, Charles Evans Hughes, became a judge on the Permanent Court of International Justice, and later Governor of New York, U.S. Secretary of State, Associate Justice, and Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.
Chief Justice Hughes' Cornell student, Myron Taylor, built Myron Taylor Hall, with its beautiful Peace Tower, a symbol of the post-World War I aspirations of Cornell's faculty—"world peace through international law." In 1948, Taylor's love of Cornell, combined with his experience in the worlds of business and diplomacy (Chairman of U.S. Steel and U.S. representative to the Vatican), led him to found a lecture series in international law that continues to this day.
In 1992, the international program was renamed the Berger International Legal Studies Program, in honor of Leo Berger ’56 and Arvilla Berger. This endowment enables the law school to support the following:
Cornell's 2008 Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition team took first place at the regional round in New York City. Read More From left: Carter Stewart '09, Montse Ferrer '09, Hiral Mehta '08, and Jennifer Jude '09.
In 2001, the Clarke Center for International and Comparative Legal Studies was created, with the generous support and vision of Jack G. Clarke ’52 and Dorothea Clarke, who also have endowed three professorial chairs, as well as East Asian and Middle Eastern programs. The Clarke Center provides an administrative infrastructure for faculty and student initiatives, and Clarke funds support international alumni activities and enhancement of the law library’s international and comparative collections.The Clarke Program in East Asian Law and Culture
The Clarke Program in East Asian Law and Culture, founded in 2002, brings a broad interdisciplinary and humanistic focus to the study of law in East Asia. Through research, teaching and scholarly dialogue, it seeks to expand the purview of legal scholarship and to develop new ways of thinking about transnational law, politics and culture.The Mori, Hamada & Matsumoto Faculty Exchange
As part of Cornell Law School's Asian law initiative, the Tokyo law firm, Mori, Hamada & Matsumoto, has generously agreed to sponsor faculty exchanges. Under this arrangement, Cornell law faculty travel to Japan, and faculty from Japanese universities come to Cornell, to collaborate on research projects, give seminars, and teach courses.
Judge Ra'id Al-Sa'edi, Chief Investigative Judge of the Iraqi High Tribunal, was the 2008 Clarke Initiative for Law and Development in the Middle East and North Africa Fellow. Read More
The Clarke Initiative for Law and Development in the Middle East and North Africa program supports conferences, professional travel, visiting and adjunct faculty members who teach courses related to the Middle East, scholarships for exceptional students, library materials dedicated to the Clarke Initiative for Law and Development in the Middle East and North Africa Speaker Series, with speakers who address current legal and policy issues facing the region.
Avon Global Center for Women and JusticeIn 2008, with a generous grant from the Avon Foundation, Cornell Law School established the Avon Global Center for Women and Justice. The Center's mission is to work with judges, legal professionals, governmental and non-governmental organizations to improve access to justice in an effort to eliminate violence against women and girls.