Scholarship @ Cornell Law

    W. David Curtiss - Clip 2

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    From the video archives of the Cornell Law School Heritage Project. The interviewer is Frank Fink; the videographer, Thomas R. Bruce. This video covers reflections by W. David Curtiss on the loyalty of law school alumni, the law school\u27s participation in the university, and the burdens of writing and grading exams and making judgments about students in academic difficulty. David Curtiss received both his AB (1938) and LLB (1940) from Cornell. As an undergraduate he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and as a law student to the Order of the Coif. He opened his own law office in Sodus after graduation and became the youngest District Attorney in New York State when he was appointed D.A. of Wayne Country in 1941.During WWII he served in the Navy and was discharged with the rank of Lieutenant Commander. After joining the faculty at the University of Buffalo Law School in 1946, he returned to Cornell in 1947 where he taught for nearly 40 years specializing in criminal law and local government law. He retired as Professor of Law Emeritus in 1986. After retirement he launched a new career in the field of labor arbitration and mediation, and began research on a biography of Myron C. Taylor, the principal benefactor of the present home of Cornell Law School. Professor Curtiss was elected Faculty Trustee of Cornell from 1966-71 and also served as Associate Dean of the Law School 1958-62, but he is most remembered for his committed and compassionate teaching. His legacy lies with thousands of students who remember him with admiration and affection.In his honor the Class of 1952 established the W. David Curtiss Scholarship in 2007. In the 1950s David Curtiss recorded a radio segment for the This I Believe project. Drawing on his experiences as soldier, law student, and attorney he said, I believe that it is wishful thinking for anyone to expect a return to the good old days of certainty and stability, since change and uncertainty are among the most characteristic aspects of our times. This being true, I came to realize that the important thing in life was to learn to accept these changes, to live with uncertainty, and above all to be flexible enough to adjust to whatever situations might arise. He was born in 1916 and died in 2011 at the age of 94

    Sol M. Linowitz - Clip 1

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    From the video archives of the Cornell Law School Heritage Project. The speaker is Sol Linowitz,\u2738 delivering the keynote address at the Law School\u27s centennial celebration. The talk explores dehumanizing changes in the practice of law, the need for greater public understanding of law, and steps law schools might take to respond. Sol M. Linowitz (1913 - 2005) was an international lawyer, diplomat, and businessman. He graduated from Hamilton College Phi Beta Kappa in 1935 and was salutatorian of his class. At Cornell he served as editor of the Cornell Law Quarterly, was elected to the Order of the Coif, and graduated first in his class in 1938. He co-founded Xerox and served as chairman of the board from 1960 to 1966.He also founded the International Executive Service Corps, a volunteer program that sends U.S. executives to provide managerial and technical expertise to developing countries. He wrote two books, The Betrayed Profession (1994), a critique of the legal profession, and The Making of a Public Man, A Memoir (1985). He entered the world stage when President Johnson appointed him U.S. ambassador to the Organization of American States (OAS) (1966 - 1969). Later, President Carter asked him to co-negotiate the Panama Canal Treaties in 1977 and named him special ambassador to the Middle East. President Clinton awarded him the nation\u27s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, in 1988. Sol Linowitz\u27s service to Cornell spanned more than three decades. He served as Trustee for nearly 30 years, he was a Presidential Councillor and served on many committees, and was also a member of the university\u27s Campaign Advisory Council. At the Law School he served on the Advisory Council, the Law School Campaign Steering Committee, and was president of the Law Association. His distinguished career belied his humble background. The son of Russian immigrants, Sol Linowitz helped pay for his schooling by teaching violin. He also played with the Utica Symphony

    M. Carr Ferguson - Clip 2

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    From the video archives of the Cornell Law School Heritage Project. The interviewer is Peter W. Martin; the videographer, Jae-Hyon Ahn. This video covers Carr Ferguson\u27s observations on changes in large law firm practice and in legal education during his career. M. Carr Ferguson was born in Washington, D.C. in 1931. He earned both a B.A. and an LL.B. from Cornell University in 1952 and then 1954. He began his career as a member of the original class of thirty lawyers of the Attorney General\u27s Honor Graduate Recruitment Program, serving as trial attorney and special assistant to the attorney general for five years. In 1960 he obtained an LL.M. from New York University and began a teaching career , first as Assistant Professor of Law at the University of Iowa College of Law from 1960-62; then as Associate Professor and Denison Professor of Law at New York University from 1962-77. He is visiting Professor of Law at Stanford University, adjunct Professor of Law at New York University, and visiting Professor of Law at the University of San Diego. President Jimmy Carter nominated Carr Ferguson to be Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Tax Division in the United States Department of Justice where he served from 1977-81. Carr Ferguson is partner at Davis Polk & Wardell. He was with Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz from 1969-77. He has served on the comissioner\u27s advisory board to the IRS, has counseled the Tax Division and assisted in tax reform both within the U.S. and abroad, and has served on advisory groups to the Tax Court and the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.The American Bar Association Section of Taxation presented him with the 2008 Distinguished Service Award for outstanding service to the legal profession, the tax system, and tax education. Carr Ferguson has taught, consulted, lectured, and written on international and domestic tax law. He is an expert on corporate reorganization. He is a member of the Order of the Coif and emeritus member of the Cornell Law School Advisory Council. In 2000 he established with his wife the M. Carr and Marian Ferguson Law Scholarship for second year law students for excellence in the classroom and beyond

    MTH courtyard, 1998

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    A picture of Myron Taylor Hall, home of Cornell Law School, taken in 1998.

    Racism, Unreasonable Belief, and Bernhard Goetz

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    How should the law respond when one person (D) kills another person (V), who is black, because D believes that V is about to kill him, but D would not have so believed if V had been white? Should D be exonerated on grounds of self-defense? The canonical case raising this question is People v. Goetz. Some commentators argue that norms of equal treatment and anti-discrimination require that D’s claim of self-defense be rejected. I argue that denying D’s claim of self-defense would be at odds with the principle that criminal liability should only be imposed on an actor if he culpably chooses to cause or unjustifiably risk causing harm, not for possessing or choosing to possess racist or otherwise illiberal beliefs or desires. Moreover, insofar as this harm principle can fairly be characterized as one to which a liberal state must adhere, then a liberal state should acknowledge D’s claim of self-defense, norms of equal treatment and anti-discrimination to the contrary notwithstanding

    1988 Law School Convocation

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    From the video archives of the Cornell Law School Heritage Project. Full video coverage of the 1988 Law School Convocation. Speakers are Dean Peter W. Martin, Cornell President Frank H.T. Rhodes, and Law Professor Steven H. Shiffrin; the videographer is Thomas R. Bruce

    Rudolf B. Schlesinger - Clip 2

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    From the video archives of the Cornell Law School Heritage Project. The interviewer-videographer is Thomas R. Bruce. This video covers Rudolf Schlesinger\u27s reflections on the distinctive features that held him at Cornell Law School, changes in the composition of the student body and legal education generally, and his approach to comparative law. Rudolf Schlesinger was born in Munich in 1909 to an American father. He studied at the Universities of Geneva and Berlin and submitted his doctoral thesis in commercial law at Munich only weeks before the Third Reich planned to block promotions to the doctorate for Jews. This was in the summer of 1933. He graduated summa cum laude, the third summa granted that century by the faculty. Thereafter he worked as a lawyer for a German private bank, developing a background in finance while also assisting German Jews to transfer their assets out of the country. When daily life for Jews in Germany began to rapidly decline, he was able to emigrate to the United States thanks to his father\u27s citizenship in 1938. Shortly after his arrival, Rudolf Schlesinger enrolled at Columbia Law School. There he was elected Editor in Chief of the Columbia Law Review, graduating with distinction in 1942. He clerked for a year for Chief Judge Irving Lehman of New York\u27s highest court, the Court of Appeals, and served as Law Secretary for that court for another year. For four years he was law associate at the Wall Street firm, Milbank, Tweed, Hope & Hadley. In 1948 Rudolf Schlesinger began his academic career at Cornell Law School. He became William Nelson Cromwell Professor of International and Comparative Law, retiring in 1975 to join Hastings College of Law as professor emeritus until 1994. He was a prolific writer and wrote on comparative law, civil procedure, international business transactions, and contracts. He directed a ten-year international research project on contracts. In 1950 the first edition of his Comparative Law: Cases, Text and Materials, appeared and with it came the recognition of comparative law as a mainstream academic subject. His casebook made six editions and is still used today. For the Law Revision Commission he produced a book-length study in 1955 of Article 5 of the proposed Uniform Commercial Code, a study that proved integral to the development of the UCC. Perhaps his crowning achievement was a ten-year study, thanks to the Ford Foundation, by nine comparatists from countries dealing with ten legal systems. Published in 1968, Formation of Contracts: A Study of the Common Core of Legal Systems, was a study of the law of offer and acceptance as they combine to make contracts, but beyond the original research question it brought nations and people together and inspired a much larger project, The Common Core of European Private Law Project, an ongoing series at Cambridge University Press. Rudolf Schlesinger, the father of comparative law who first showed that shared notions and principles in the law of transactions and of procedure could impact international relations and even peace, died in 1996

    Gerald F. Phillips

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    From the video archives of the Cornell Law School Heritage Project. The interviewer is Peter W. Martin; the videographer, Jaesuk Yoo. This video covers Gerald Phillips\u27s experiences as a law student, the path that led him into the motion picture industry, and his subsequent work and teaching in the field of dispute resolution (mediation and arbitration). Gerald Phillips was born in New York, N.Y. in 1925. He earned an AB at Darmouth College and an MBA from the Amos Tuck School at Darmouth, and then a JD from Cornell Law School in 1950. He began his career at the prestigious New York law firm founded by his father, Phillips, Nizer, Benjamin, Krim & Ballon. It was there that he worked with the famed trial lawyer Louis Nizer over the course of more than 50 years on some of the most important cases in the motion picture industry, cases that involved First Amendment issues, censorship, and antitrust. He was admitted to practice law in New York, California, and also before the United States Supreme Court. Gerald Phillips was Vice President of United Artists leading its Litigation Department and its Special Markets Division from 1950-83. He negotiated the first licensing agreement for feature motion pictures with HBO. From 1984-87 he was Chairman of WNYC, New York\u27s public radio station. In 1990 he helped his daughter start her own law firm, Phillips Lerner ALC, which specialized in complex family law. At this time he recreated himself and became an arbitrator and mediator, primarily in entertainment matters. He had a reputation for crafting resolutions that were win/win. Gerald Phillips was a prolific writer and was interested in enhancing the reputation of lawyers, always with ethics at the forefront. His book, Fair Deal for All Clients, examines how to improve the image of lawyers by educating the public about lawyers\u27 billing practices and exhorts lawyers to change billing practices which harm the profession. Phillips was adjunct professor at Pepperdine University School of Law. He co-founded the College of Arbitrators and was past president of Dispute Resolution Services. His work with the Beverly Hills Bar Association and with the Los Angeles County Bar Association was very important to him, especially the latter where he served as a member of the Professional Responsibility and Ethics Committee. Attorney, ethicist, and philanthropist, Gerald Phillips died in 2015. Together with his family he created the Phillips/Samuels/Victor Family Fund at the Dartmouth Ethics Institute at Dartmouth College

    Kittipong Kittayarak

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    From the video archives of the Cornell Law School Heritage Project. The interviewer is Peter W. Martin; the videographer, Jae-Hyon Ahn. This video contains an interview with Kittipong Kittayarak, Cornell Law School LLM 1983, covering his initial impressions of U.S. legal education and Cornell, his experience while a student in Ithaca, his subsequent graduate work in the U.S. and work on Thai criminal law reform. Kittipong Kittayarak received his first law degree, an LLB from Chulalongkorn University in Thailand. In 1983 he earned an LLM from Cornell Law School after which he returned to Thailand to qualify for the Thai Bar. He then returned to North America to earn an LLM from Harvard in 1988 and a JSD from Stanford in 1990. Today he is Executive Director of the Thailand Institute of Justice (TIJ) and Professor of Law at Chulalongkorn University. Dr. Kittipong has long been involved in judicial and criminal justice reform in Thailand. He served on the Senate\u27s Judicial Committee from 1994-99, the Constitution Drafting Committee in 1997, and the Law Reform Commission from 2004-06. He also served on the Police Reform Commission from 2006-08. He is known as a champion for the reform of Thai criminal justice towards due process and the rule of law, and for pioneering the implementation of restorative justice and community justice programs. He was deeply involved in the National Reconciliation Committee from 2005-06 which focused on conflicts in the deep south of Thailand and was a member of the Truth for Reconciliation Commission of Thailand from 2010-12. He served for six years as Permanent Secretary for Justice from 2008-14 and was the youngest civil servant to serve in this capacity. Dr. Kittipong has received many honors including Fulbright Scholar in 1987-90 and Eisenhower Fellow in 2001. In 2000 he was selected Man of the Year by the Association for the Promotion of Women\u27s Status Under the Royal Patronage. Before becoming director of the Thailand Institute of Justice (TIJ) he served as Advisor to the Prime Minister. The TIJ works to promote justice as it relates to UN standards and norms. Dr. Kittypong is working toward TIJ becoming a member of the Institutes of the UN Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Programme Network (PNI)
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