August 29, 2003

Finding A Lead Lawyer

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The search for a new dean of the Cornell Law School is almost over. The search committee is expecting to select a candidate by the end of this semester.

The committee was formed fairly early last spring after Lee E. Teitelbaum, the former Allan R. Tessler Dean of Cornell Law School, announced his resignation due to “compelling family reasons” late last November. Teitelbaum left Cornell after the 2002-2003 academic year concluded. Prof. John A. Siliciano, law, is currently serving as the interim dean.


Under Teitelbaum’s tenure, there was a substantial increase in yield on admissions, rising from 19 percent when he began in 1999 to 27 percent in 2002.

“The law school is on a sound financial basis, with faculty salaries now at the average for our peer schools and reserves for additional faculty that will permit further growth,” Teitelbaum wrote in the letter announcing his resignation last November.

Many law school students do not see major obstacles awaiting a new dean.

“Most things are going well. I think most people don’t have burning issues to talk about,” said Victoria Hadfield grad.

Members of the search committee also noted the strong shape of the law school.

“The law school is in an extraordinarily healthy posture and what we’re looking for right now is someone who will take the law school to even higher levels of excellence,” said Kevin Clermont, the James and Mark Flanagan Professor of Law, a member of the committee. “So we’re looking for someone who values scholarship and teaching and will also build new strengths for a 21st century law school.”

Though the search committee was formed last spring, it took a break during the summer. It has now resumed meeting on a regular basis.

“The committee worked throughout the spring to identify internal and external prospects and expects to have a list of finalists early in the fall semester,” said Provost Biddy (Carolyn A.) Martin, chair of the committee.

The committee is currently in the process of conducting preliminary interviews and expects to have selected finalists in four to six weeks, though Martin said that it is currently impossible to know how many finalists there will be.

According to Martin, once the finalists are selected, they will be invited for on-campus interviews. Other members of the selection committee include Profs. Ted Eisenberg, Steve Garvey, Sherry Johnson, Barbara Holden-Smith and Annalies Riles.

Archived article by David Hillis