Alumni Short

Law School Welcomes Distinguished Visiting Professor Gerald Torres

Ithaca, NEW YORK, August 28, 2013

Gerald Torres, Bryant Smith Chair of Law at the University of Texas, has joined Cornell Law School for the 2013 school year as the Marc and Beth Goldberg Distinguished Visiting Professor of Law. He will teach Federal Indian Law, Water Law, and a seminar on Law and Social Movements. A former president of the Association of American Law Schools (AALS), Torres is a leading figure in critical race theory and an expert in agricultural and environmental law.

“During my time at Cornell, I hope to help develop the Indian law and water law curricula and to connect with leaders around the state,” says Torres. “New York has always been an important place in the development of Indian law, and although the state is thought of as water-rich, profound conflicts continue to surround its water resources."

He has served as deputy assistant attorney general for the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the U.S. Department of Justice and as counsel to then U.S. attorney general Janet Reno. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the American Law Institute and has served on the boards of the Environmental Law Institute and the National Petroleum Council, as well as on the EPA's National Environmental Justice Advisory Council.

Torres adds that the Law and Social Movements seminar will enable him to "further explore work that I have been doing for several years and, importantly, to connect with some of the country’s leading experts on these issues, who happen to be doing similar work at Cornell.”

Torres was honored with the 2004 Legal Service Award from the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) for his work to advance the legal rights of Latinos. His latest book, The Miner's Canary: Enlisting Race, Resisting Power, Transforming Democracy (Harvard University Press, 2002) with Harvard law professor Lani Guinier, was described by Publisher's Weekly as "one of the most provocative and challenging books on race produced in years."

"I am extremely honored to hold the visiting professorship named in honor of Marc and Beth Goldberg,” adds Torres. "It promises to be an exciting year."

The Marc and Beth Goldberg Distinguished Visiting Professor of Law position honors Marc Goldberg '67 and his family, including two daughters who graduated from the College of Human Ecology at Cornell University. Mr. Goldberg created the professorship in 2004, noting how important professors are to the Law School's future.