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McRoberts and Flanagan Chairs Appointed

At a meeting in October, the Cornell University Board of Trustees elected Professor Cynthia Farina to the position of William G. McRoberts Research Professor in Administration of the Law and Professor Sheri Lynn Johnson to the position of James and Mark Flanagan Professor of Law. The election followed a recommendation made to the Provost by Stewart J. Schwab, the Allan R. Tessler Dean and Professor of Law, after he had consulted with the Law School’s chaired faculty.

Established through a bequest of William G. McRoberts in 1953, the McRoberts chair is devoted to the scientific study of the administration of the law. Robert Summers was the last holder of the McRoberts chair, from 1976-2011, and has been the McRoberts Professor Emeritus since July 1.

"I am delighted with the appointment to the McRoberts Chair and honored to follow Professor Summers in holding it," says Farina. "We share a conviction that truly understanding the role of law in society requires attention to both theory and actual practice. And we share the belief that these are among the most important questions legal scholars can address." A nationally known scholar of the administrative process and co-author of the oldest and leading casebook in administrative law, Farina leads the Regulation Room project as a member of the Cornell e-Rulemaking Initiative (CeRI) team.

The Flanagan Chair was established in 1973 through the bequests of brothers James G. Flanagan LLB '37 and Thomas Mark Flanagan. "I am grateful for this honor," says Johnson, an expert on the interface of race and criminal procedure. Johnson is the Assistant Director of the Cornell Death Penalty Project, an initiative she co-founded in 1993 to foster empirical scholarship, offer students an opportunity to work with practitioners, and provide information and assistance for lawyers. Johnson currently teaches constitutional and criminal law and supervises the post-conviction litigation and capital trial clinics.

"Professor Farina and Professor Johnson are richly deserving of this honor," explains Dean Schwab. "They have each been leaders on the Cornell Law faculty for more than a quarter-century. They are highly visible, national leaders in their scholarly fields, and inspiring teachers and mentors for students here in Myron Taylor Hall."