Skip to page contents.
Registrar's Mission Header Image Short

Mission Statement and Learning Outcomes

Mission Statement

Cornell Law School's mission remains that articulated by Cornell President Andrew Dickson White upon the founding of the law school 120 years ago: "Our aim is to keep its instruction strong, its standard high, and so to produce … a fair number of well-trained, large-minded, morally based lawyers in the best sense."

Cornell Law School offers a 3-year J.D. program for 200 students per class, a one-year LL.M. program for about 90 students from countries throughout the world, and a doctoral (J.S.D.) program for about 2-3 new students per year. Cornell Law School has 39 tenured and tenure-track faculty, including 14 with chaired faculty positions; and eleven clinical professors in the legal research and writing program and in clinics at the local, national, and international level. The Cornell Law School faculty is consistently ranked among the top in the country for scholarly productivity and influence. The faculty has pre-eminence in many areas, including quantitative and qualitative empirical legal studies, international and comparative law, and robust doctrinal scholarship in core fields.

Our commitment is to continue to be recognized as the leader among law schools at combining inspiring theoretical, doctrinal, and experiential teaching with cutting-edge scholarship in a supportive, intellectually rich community, so that our graduates can achieve excellence in all facets of the legal profession.

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the program of legal education, Cornell Law School graduates will:

1. Possess knowledge of the substantive and procedural law required for effective participation in the legal profession. Graduates will be able to:

  1. Identify and describe legal terms, concepts, theories, rules, and principles.
  2. Understand how the law operates in domestic and global contexts.

2. Engage in legal research, analysis, and problem-solving. Graduates will be able to independently and critically analyze common law and statutory authority to:

  1. Spot relevant issues.
  2. Identify controlling authority and accurately assess weight of authorities.
  3. Apply governing rules to legally relevant fact patterns.
  4. Marshal relevant facts and governing rules to reach reasoned, well-supported conclusions that address the issues at hand.
  5. Employ deductive reasoning and analogy to devise strategies and solutions for complex legal issues in academic environments and in various practice settings.

3. Communicate effectively in both oral and written form as counselors and advocates. Graduates will be able to:

  1. Identify appropriate audience(s) and tailor written and oral advocacy accordingly.
  2. Convey legally relevant information objectively and persuasively.
  3. Explain complex legal concepts orally and in writing in a manner that both members of the legal profession and the public can understand.
  4. Write and speak clearly and concisely in a well-organized, well-reasoned manner.
  5. Employ active listening skills.

4. Possess the practical skills fundamental to exceptional lawyering and client representation. Graduates will be able to:

  1. Work effectively in teams and independently.
  2. Pose creative solutions to complex problems independently as well as through collaboration with peers, senior members of the profession, and interdisciplinary teams.
  3. Engage in culturally competent interactions in an increasingly global legal community connected across countries and cultures through technology, immersive study, and transnational practice.
  4. Appreciate the impact of their professional conduct and counsel in diverse professional settings, both formal and informal, in person and online.
  5. Reflect on and draw lessons from experience to improve their own performance and provide effective professional feedback to others.

5. Conduct themselves with the highest moral and ethical standards. Graduates will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate knowledge of the ethical rules and expectations which govern members of the legal profession.
  2. Apply those ethical expectations throughout their course of study and careers in interactions with courts, clients, and colleagues.
  3. Apply the law governing lawyers to resolve ethical, moral, and other professional dilemmas.
  4. Understand what the governing law is.
  5. Exercise with due care the role entrusted to them as officers of the legal system and public citizens, having special responsibility for the quality of justice.

Cornell Equal Educational and Employment Opportunity Statement - Non-Discrimination Policy

Cornell University has an enduring commitment to support equality of education and employment opportunity by affirming the value of diversity and by promoting an environment free from discrimination. Cornell Law School is committed to Cornell University's policy affirming equality of opportunity.

No person shall be denied admission to any educational program or activity or be denied employment on the basis of any legally prohibited discrimination involving, but not limited to, such factors as race, color, creed, religion, national or ethnic origin, marital status, citizenship, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, disability, or protected veteran status.