Back in 1915, people were already grumbling about the proliferation of law journals. But Professor Edwin H. Woodruff, who would soon become the Law School's fifth dean, stuck to his plan. He was confident Cornell's new quarterly would enhance legal scholarship, enrich the intellectual life of the college, and improve the law itself-and he was right.
"The Law Review has succeeded spectacularly in each regard," said Eduardo Peñalver, the Allan R. Tessler Dean and Professor of Law, celebrating the Cornell Law Review's hundredth anniversary in the Berger Atrium on April 15. "The Law Review has produced a great deal of groundbreaking legal scholarship, including a number of undisputed classics, and indeed, all of us benefit from the enrichment afforded in these pages."
For one hundred years old, the Law Review is looking very, very good. Reviewing this first century, Penãlver named two milestones-"Property and Sovereignty" (1927), written by Morris Cohen, and "Inside the Judicial Mind" (2001), co-authored by Jeffrey Rachlinski, the Henry Allen Mark Professor of Law-that dramatically reshaped legal thinking. Over the years, the Law Review has grown increasingly ambitious, complex, and far-reaching.
For its first volume, the staff included only six student editors. For this hundredth volume, there are ninety student editors, taking full responsibility for six issues each year and receiving more than 2,000 submissions from all over the country. This latest issue, weighing in at more than 200 pages, addresses the limits of congressional power, the Supreme Court's much-criticized decision in Lochner v. New York, and the difficulty of regulating banks in this post-crash era.
To Robert Hillman '72, who was a student editor on the Law Review in the early 1970s and its faculty advisor in the 1980s and '90s, the challenges remain familiar. "I'm struck by how much the issues the Law Review faces today resemble those of 1970 and even of 1915," said Hillman, the Edwin H. Woodruff Professor of Law, responding to longstanding criticisms that law reviews are either too academic or too doctrinal, and that the vast numbers of law reviews dilute their value. "From its beginning, the Law Review has been a leader in publishing work of interest to the entire legal community. Readers can easily find quality material both in their fields and to broaden their horizons, in large part because of the abundance of published pieces. The Law Review continues to be an important training ground for student editors and writers, and a celebration of this centennial is certainly in order."
Standing at the podium, incoming editor in chief Mateo J. de la Torre offered a toast as his promise for the future. "Volume 100 and the 99 volumes that came before it have set a tremendously high bar for volume 101," he said. "It's only with the support of our alumni and Cornell faculty that I can say with absolute confidence that I look forward to this next volume leading us to another successful one hundred years."