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Valerie Hans Named Inaugural Charles F. Rechlin Professor of Law

This fall Cornell Law introduced a new professorship, endowed by long-time friend of the school Charles Rechlin, A.B. ’68, J.D. ’71. The first Charles F. Rechlin Professorship was announced on November 15, with inaugural holder Valerie Hans.

two people standing in the Law Library

Charles Rechlin and Valerie Hans.

Hans conducts empirical studies of law and the courts and is one of the nation’s leading authorities on the jury system. Trained as a social scientist, she has carried out extensive research and lectured around the globe on juries and jury reforms as well as the uses of social science in law.

“Becoming a chaired professor is the very top of the professional ladder for those of us in academia,” says Hans. “I am honored and thrilled to receive this position and deeply grateful to Charles Rechlin for the generosity that made this chaired professorship possible. I had the chance to meet Charley this summer when he was in Ithaca, but of course his reputation as one of the very best lawyers in his field preceded him.”

Rechlin is a former partner at Sullivan & Cromwell, where he built a distinguished career in corporate and securities law spanning more than thirty years. Since retiring from legal practice in 2005, he has applied his passion for cogent writing into a second career as an author and has published two short-story collections, Winners and Losers and The Riverdale Chronicles.

The Rechlin professorship, effectively an advance on a bequest, is the latest gift from Rechlin. In 2000, he established the Charles F. Rechlin Scholarship, awarded annually at the discretion of the dean, with preference given to students who have demonstrated an interest in business and financial law. In 2016, he enhanced the Herbert R. Reif Prize, awarded to the student who, in the judgment of the faculty, writes the note or comment for Cornell Law Review that best exemplifies the skillful and lucid use of the English language in writing about the law.

Rechlin visited Ithaca this summer for a dinner held in his honor by Cornell Law, where he was joined by Professors Valerie Hans, Sherry Colb, Charles Whitehead, Celia Bigoness, and E.F. Roberts.

“I’ve always felt an enormous debt to Cornell Law School for setting me on the path to a rewarding legal career,” says Rechlin. “Key was my experience with the school’s outstanding faculty, both inside and outside the classroom. Endowing this Chair has permitted me to repay at least a portion this debt, while helping to ensure that the tradition of providing students a top-notch faculty continues into the future.”

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