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Registrar’s Office

The Registrar's Office works to provide the best service to our students and to provide this service and valuable information in a timely and efficient manner. The work of the Office of the Registrar interacts with many aspects of the Cornell Law School community. We encourage everyone to contact us whenever assistance is required.

Learning Outcomes

Cornell Law School is fully committed to providing our students with the analytical and practical skills that are fundamental to exceptional lawyering. We further believe that the best lawyers– lawyers who have the strongest positive impact on their clients, organizations, and communities—are those who are able to combine these skills with self-awareness, responsibility, clear ethical values, and strong interpersonal and leadership skills.

Cornell Law School seeks to develop students who will not only be skillful problem solvers and effective client advocates, but who will also flourish in law school and throughout their careers, becoming high-impact leaders in the organizations and communities of which they will be a part.

Therefore, we offer a rigorous program of legal education designed to prepare students, upon graduation, for admission to the bar and for effective, ethical and responsible participation in the legal profession at the highest levels.

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

  • Possess knowledge of the substantive and procedural law required for effective participation in the legal profession. Graduates will be able to:
    • Identify and describe legal terms, concepts, theories, rules, and principles.
    • Understand how the law operates in domestic and global contexts.
  • Engage effectively in legal research, analysis, and problem solving in a time frame appropriate to legal practice. Graduates will be able independently and critically to analyze common law and statutory authority to:
    • Spot relevant issues.
    • Identify controlling authority and accurately assess weight of authorities.
    • Apply governing rules to legally relevant fact patterns.
    • Marshal relevant facts and governing rules to reach reasoned, well-supported conclusions that address the issues at hand.
    • Employ deductive reasoning and analogy to devise strategies and solutions for complex legal issues in academic environments and in various practice settings.
  • Communicate effectively in both oral and written form as counselors and advocates. Graduates will be able to:
    • Identify appropriate audience(s) and tailor written and oral advocacy accordingly.
    • Convey legally relevant information objectively and persuasively.
    • Explain complex legal concepts orally and in writing in a manner that both members of the legal profession and the public can understand.
    • Interact respectfully and effectively with persons of all backgrounds and levels of skill and training, demonstrating professionalism both in person and online.
    • Write and speak clearly and concisely in a well-organized, well-reasoned manner.
    • Assess complex fact patterns in the course of a professional conversation, deposition, or oral argument, and provide meaningful legal analysis during that discourse.
    • Employ active listening skills.
  • Possess the practical skills fundamental to exceptional lawyering and client representation. Graduates will be able to:
    • Work effectively in teams and independently.
    • Pose creative solutions to complex problems independently as well as through collaboration with peers, senior members of the profession, and interdisciplinary teams.
    • Engage in culturally competent interactions in an increasingly global legal community connected across countries and cultures through technology, immersive study, and transnational practice.
    • Appreciate the impact of their professional conduct and counsel in diverse professional settings, both formal and informal, in-person and online.
    • Reflect on and draw lessons from experience to improve their own performance and provide effective professional feedback to others.
    • Arrange their affairs in a professional manner, including by meeting deadlines, keeping scheduled appointments, attending and preparing appropriately for client and court meetings, and responding promptly to administrative offices, clients, and colleagues.
    • Regularly reflect on their unique aptitudes and capacities and proactively consider how these capabilities align with the broad variety of legal skills and practice settings, taking timely and appropriate steps to seek support when necessary.
  • Conduct themselves with the highest moral and ethical standards. Graduates will be able to:
    • Demonstrate knowledge of the ethical rules and expectations that govern members of the legal profession.
    • Apply those ethical expectations throughout their course of study and careers in interactions with courts, clients, and colleagues.
    • Apply the law governing lawyers to resolve ethical, moral, and other professional dilemmas.
    • Understand what the governing law is.
    • 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.

An Appendix

Cornell Law School has a history of providing equal educational opportunities to qualified matriculated law students with disabilities. Cornell Law School is committed to complying with the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and federal and state regulations, which require institutions such as Cornell Law School to provide reasonable accommodations for students with diagnosed and documented disabilities. Accommodations will help all our students achieve the above-listed Learning Outcomes. Students with disabilities who invoke the school’s Accommodation Process (see Law School Procedures for Accommodations for Students with Disabilities in the Student Handbook) are reviewed individually, on a case-by-case basis, in order to determine reasonable accommodations.

As stated above, students must engage effectively in legal research, analysis, and problem-solving in a time frame appropriate to legal practice. To expand on this one example, students must be able to meet deadlines; keep scheduled appointments; attend and be prepared for class, as well as client and court meetings and appearances as scheduled; promptly respond to faculty, administrative offices, clients, and colleagues; and complete all assignments, exams, and administrative tasks within the assigned timeframe.

Even more particularly, law school exams are less often testing students’ knowledge of a subject than testing the ability to solve a legal problem. Unlike examinations in other disciplines, law school exams usually aim at testing what lawyers do in practice. A lawyer needs to reach a legal solution to a complex fact pattern. Although difficulty with reading or concentrating might slow the process of researching the legal problem, thinking like a lawyer often requires the ability to process that problem and quickly identify a solution. This happens most obviously in oral arguments, but also occurs on a daily basis when lawyers interact with each other and with clients. Thinking like a lawyer must happen at a particular pace so that a lawyer can function in front of a judge, other lawyers, or a client, solving real problems on the fly. A lawyer must assess complex fact patterns in the course of a professional conversation, deposition, oral argument, or elsewhere, and then provide meaningful legal analysis during that discourse. Careful analysis conducted over time is important as well, but a lawyer must be able often to provide advice and analysis in real time on the spot.

Timed law school examinations are testing this cognitive capacity for a timed response, making accommodation by time extension inappropriate. If not testing for timed response, the teacher would signal this intention by setting any time limit so generously that accommodation by time extension is unnecessary. Thus, the law requires no time extensions for the law school’s examinations.

Nevertheless, for reasons of concern and caution, the law school will consider granting an extension of the time within which to complete an examination, if it was approved by Student Disability Services after individualized assessment, but normally not for more than a time-and-a-half accommodation including breaks.

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.

Equal Opportunity Statement

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, citizenship, ancestry, sex, gender (including identity or expression), sexual orientation, marital status, age, disability, or protected veteran status.

Transferring to Cornell Law School

Students transferring into Cornell Law School from another ABA-approved law school may receive up to 32 credit hours toward the 84 credit hours required for a J.D. degree. The amount of credit is determined by the registrar and depends upon the particular courses taken by the transfer student.

Students at Cornell Law School who are enrolled in the J.D. program may receive up to 6 credits of advanced standing for work done at other ABA-approved law schools, including work done in summer and winter session programs. Transfer credit will not be given unless the work done is completed at the C or better level. Such work must be approved in advance by the Dean of Students.

More information about the transfer process can be found at http://www.lawschool.cornell.edu/admissions/FAQ/admission_and_preparation.cfm

The Law School has a number of formal programs through which participating students are eligible to receive advanced standing credit of up to 24 credit hours for satisfactory work completed. The list of participating institutions with which the Law School has written agreements for transfer dual degree credit can be found at: http://www.lawschool.cornell.edu/international/study_abroad/international_dual_degrees/ index.cfm

This link contains more information about the law school’s exchange programs. J.D. students may earn up to 12 credits for a semester abroad.


Registrar’s Office
(607) 255-7190
Cornell Law School
160 Myron Taylor Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853

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