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John H. Blume Appointed Director of Clinical, Advocacy and Skills Programs

John H. Blume, Professor of Law and Director of the Cornell Death Penalty Project, has been appointed by Dean Schwab to be the Law School’s first Director of Clinical, Advocacy and Skills Programs. In that capacity, Professor Blume will work with the current clinical and skills faculty to create coherence, direction and growth for the Law School’s clinical and skills curriculum.

“Our programs are growing and evolving to meet the needs not only of our students, but also of the populations we attempt to serve,” says Blume. The current program, composed of five clinics taught by full time members of the faculty, additional clinics supervised by experienced practitioners serving as adjunct professors, as well as a number of intensive externships and field placements and practical skills courses, provide students with opportunities to represent clients and to learn skills which will better prepare them for the practice of law.

“I am delighted that Professor Blume has agreed to take on this new role,” says Stewart Schwab, the Allan R. Tessler Dean and Professor of Law. “He is enormously talented in everything he does. As part of our well-rounded curriculum, we already have many important skills offerings. Professor Blume will help us coordinate and enhance those offerings and make us even better.”

“Regardless of whether our students go on to careers in public interest law or in the private sector, they gain practical legal skills that are not accessible in most traditional law school classes,” adds Blume. “They also begin to hone a sense of legal judgment and ethical lawyering that truly makes a ‘lawyer in the best sense.'”

Blume joined the Law School as a permanent faculty member in 1997 and formed the Cornell Death Penalty Project in conjunction with Professors Sheri Lynn Johnson and Stephen Garvey. He was the Executive Director of the South Carolina Death Penalty Resource Center until 1996, and since that year he has served on the Habeas Assistance and Training Project Counsel. At Cornell, in addition to his new directorship, Blume teaches Criminal Procedure, Evidence, and the Death Penalty in America and supervises several capital clinics.

Blume has extensive litigation experience at both trial and appellate levels. He has tried more than a dozen capital cases to verdict with only one of his clients ultimately being sentenced to death. He argued seven cases before the Supreme Court of the United States, and he has been co-counsel in numerous other Supreme Court cases. He has also argued cases in the United States Court of Appeals for the Second, Fourth, Fifth, Seventh, Ninth and Eleventh Circuits, as well as the United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces. In addition to his litigation experience, Professor Blume is a co-author of one of the leading Evidence casebooks, A Modern Approach to Evidence, as well as numerous book chapters and articles related to Criminal Procedure, Evidence and Capital Punishment. He is also a frequent presenter at CLE programs for criminal defense attorneys.

Blume notes, “I am excited to be the first director, as ours is a program on the rise. I am committed to making Cornell Law School a national leader in clinical and skills education.”

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