December 12, 2003

Schwab Named Dean of Law School

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Last Friday, President Jeffrey S. Lehman ’77 announced that Prof. Stewart J. Schwab, law, has been named the new Allan R. Tessler Dean of Cornell Law School. Schwab, replacing Lee Teitelbaum who resigned last winter after serving since 1999, inherits an “extraordinarily healthy” institution, according to Kevin Clermont, the James and Mark Flanagan Professor of Law and a member of the committee that recommended three candidates to Lehman.

The committee was formed last spring and has met weekly this semester, looking for a candidate who had administrative experience, ambition, character, scholarship and commitment to teaching and students, Provost Biddy (Carolyn A.) Martin told The Sun earlier this summer. A list of five finalists was released in early October, and that list was then whittled down to three recommendations from which Lehman chose from.

Before that final list, however, each finalist took part in a two-day interview process, allowing two non-University based candidates get a feel for the campus and Cornell in general.

“I was honored to have been chosen as a finalist,” Schwab said, the last of the five to be interviewed.

Schwab is now responsible for 45 full-time faculty members and about 600 students in the school’s J.D. degree program and another 60 additional students in the masters of laws degree program. “I am confident that, with his strong leadership, the Law School will make ever greater contributions to our understanding of the law and legal institutions and will continue to prepare our students for lives of accomplished service within a rapidly changing profession,” Lehman said.

Schwab’s credentials indicate a range of experience and knowledge suitable for the position. He earned an M.A. in labor economics and a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Michigan, after which he clerked for the Hon. J. Dickson Phillips of the U.S. Court of Appeals and U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Sandra Day O’Connor before joining the law school faculty in 1983.

At Cornell, Schwab has taught courses on subjects ranging from comparative labor, contracts in a global society and corporations to empirical studies of the legal system, torts and law and economics. He’s also moonlighted at various other positions, serving as distinguished visiting professor at the University of Nebraska Law School this spring and a Fullbright senior scholar at the Australian National University’s Centre for Law and Economics in 1998. He’s also been a visiting fellow at Oxford University’s Centre for Socio-Legal Studies, and has served in various other positions at Victoria University, University of Virginia Law School, Duke University and the University of Michigan.

Schwab has also written widely, authoring with Samuel Estreicher Foundations of Labor and Employment Law and also writing Employment Law: Cases and Materials alongside such legal luminaries as Steven L. Willborn and John F. Burton, Jr. His writings have been featured in the law journals of Yale University, University of Chicago, New York University, William and Mary, University of Michigan and Cornell. He currently is the co-editor of the Journal of Empirical Legal Studies.

He has also served as a consultant for the World Bank on reform of labor and employment laws throughout the former Soviet Union and has been called upon for consultation for ERISA, ESOP and Title VII litigation.

“Stewart brings to the position 20 years of teaching and scholarship in areas that have enormous significance and breadth. He is one of our most productive and distinguished legal scholars and is widely respected by his colleagues. I look forward to working with him,” Martin said.

The members of the search committee were Martin; Walter Cohen, vice provost; Stephen Crane, chair, Law School Advisory Council; Prof. Theodore Eisenberg, the H. A. Mark Professor of Law; Prof. Stephen Garvey, law; Prof. Barbara Holden-Smith, law; Prof. Sheri Lynn Johnson, law; Prof. Annelise Riles, law; Prof. Faust Rossi, the S. S. Leibowitz Professor of Trial Technology and Prof. Carol Grumbach, senior lecturer and director, Lawyering Program.

Archived article by Michael Morisy