General Information

Upon Arrival

Newly admitted graduate students should correspond with the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) in their field to clarify program details.  Upon arrival to campus, students should report to the DGS and the Graduate Field Administrator(GFA).

Field of Law DGS:
Mitchel Lasser
Jack G. Clarke Professor of Law
ml355@cornell.edu
118 Myron Taylor Hall

Field of Law GFA:  
Jenny Hutcherson
Associate Director
Graduate Legal Studies
jah637@cornell.edu
Hughes Hall L57

New graduate students should make every effort to meet professors, other graduate students, and administrators.  Students should also become familiar with the Cornell University campus and Graduate School resources.  The DGS and GFA, as well as other faculty members and staff, can provide assistance to become familiar with university and department policies.  An orientation meeting will be held for all incoming graduate students during August registration week.

Accommodations for Students with Disabilities

The Law School provides reasonable accommodations for students with qualifying disabilities.  The procedures for applying for an accommodation(s) due to such a disability apply to classroom accommodations, exam accommodations, and accommodations relating to our building.

  1. Students who believe they are entitled to an accommodation should communicate with the Dean of Students (J.D. students), the Associate Dean for Graduate Legal Studies (LL.M./J.S.D. students), or the Assistant Dean for International Programs (Exchange students) as soon as possible. In order to make decisions based upon an individual’s specific situation, it may take some time for the Law School’s Administrative Committee to determine what is appropriate and fair.  If at all possible, you should initiate the process in the spring or early summer before your matriculation, or, if later, as soon as the disability arises.
  2. Upon arrival in Ithaca, you should arrange for an appointment with Student Disability Services at Cornell University. They can offer you advice and guidance on the services available to students at the University.  In the alternative, you may wish to schedule a phone appointment before your arrival.  To schedule an appointment with Student Disability Services, call +1 607-254-4545 or write to sds_cu@cornell.edu.Students requesting disability accommodations must submit disability documentation and a Request for Disability Services and Accommodations Form to initiate the accommodation process.  The form and guidelines for disability documentation are available at the Student Disability Services website, http://sds.cornell.edu.  All documentation must be current and comprehensive in order to determine eligibility for accommodations in a law school environment.  This documentation should be in writing and should be from a physician who is familiar with your diagnosis and treatment.  In cases of learning disabilities, a full psycho-educational report including aptitude and achievement tests reflecting all the test and subtest scores and a description of test procedures is required.  (Student Disability Services may give you additional instructions.)  The report should be prepared by a professional qualified to diagnose a learning disability.  The report should make written recommendations based upon your needs for accommodation in a law school environment.
  3. Once Student Disability Services is satisfied that your documentation is sufficient, a written recommendation regarding possible accommodations for your disability will be sent to the Law School’s Administrative Committee. Due to the academic calendar, the Committee must have the written recommendation by the beginning of the fourth week of the Fall semester or, if later, as soon as the disability arises.  Therefore, it is important that you contact Student Disability Services as soon as possible.  This recommendation is a precondition to action by the Law School’s Administrative Committee on any request for an accommodation.
  4. In addition to a written recommendation, the Law School’s Administrative Committee will also need to receive a copy of the medical documentation. The Administrative Committee may request additional documentation or may request that your physician speak directly with the Law School Dean of Students.  The Administrative Committee may also ask that you be evaluated by another medical professional.
  5. We also ask you to make a written request regarding any specific type of exam accommodation or other academic accommodation which you believe to be appropriate. In this regard, please tell us the accommodations which you have been granted in college and graduate school, and on standardized tests including the LSAT and the SAT.
  6. While your prior testing history and other accommodation history is relevant to our determination of reasonable accommodations in Law School, it is important that you realize that we will not necessarily agree to grant the particular accommodations which you have been given in the past. Only after the Administrative Committee has thoroughly considered your request for an accommodation will we be able to arrange for what we believe to be a reasonable and appropriate accommodation, given your disability and the essential components of our academic program.  It is important for you to realize that an important feature of that program is the comparative grading of students based on examinations that are time-pressured, competitive, and occasionally stressful.
  7. Once we have received: (a) written recommendations from Student Disability Services regarding any suggested accommodations, (b) copies of your disability documentation, (c) a written request from you which includes your accommodation history, and (d) any additional information requested by the Administrative Committee, the Committee will consider the request and respond. In almost all cases, we have been able to give a student written notice of exam accommodations within two to three weeks of receiving all of the appropriate material. However, this is not always possible and the committee will respond as soon as it is able to complete its comprehensive review of the request as well as the supporting documentationA student should not discuss his/her need for classroom or exam accommodations directly with a particular law faculty member, unless asked by the Dean of Students on behalf of the Committee to do so.  The Administrative Committee may on occasion feel it is appropriate to discuss a particular accommodation request with an individual faculty member.
  8. If the specific accommodations that you requested are denied, you may appeal that decision to the Dean of the Law School. The Dean will review each appeal to determine whether in his or her judgment the Committee’s determination is clearly erroneous, and, if it is, then the Dean may make a judgment on what accommodations are reasonable or whether further information is needed.
  9. If you wish to request an accommodation on bar examinations, you must direct your request to the state or states to which you are applying for admission. Each state has its own procedures for bar admission. Cornell University has an enduring commitment to support equality of education and employment opportunity by affirming the value of diversity and by promoting an environment free from discrimination.  Cornell Law School is committed to Cornell University’s policy affirming equality of opportunity: No person shall be denied admission to any educational program or activity or be denied employment on the basis of any legally prohibited discrimination involving, but not limited to, such factors as race, color, creed, religion, national or ethnic origin, marital status, citizenship, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, disability, or protected veteran status.  If you feel that you have been discriminated against or harassed by a member of the university community, you have the right to file a discrimination complaint under Cornell Policy 6.4, which is available at https://www.dfa.cornell.edu/sites/default/files/vol6_4.pdf. You may also contact the Dean of Students (DOS@cornell.edu; +1 607-255-5839); Associate Dean for Graduate Legal Studies, Aimee Houghton (gls@cornell.edu; +1 607-255-5185); or the Law School Director of Human Resources, Liz Flint, who is the designated harassment advisor for Cornell Law School (es232@cornell.edu; +1 607-255-2101).

Academic Misconduct

In accordance with the Code of Legislation of the Graduate School, “All students are expected to adhere to the provisions of Cornell’s Code of Academic Integrity and all other university policies.  Regarding their academic programs, students should particularly review University Policy 1.2 on Academic Misconduct and University Policy 4.6 on Standards of Ethical Conduct.”

Commencement

For information on degree conferral dates, commencement, and diploma distribution please review the Thesis and Dissertation Policy.  J.S.D. students are invited to participate in Law School Convocation in mid-May in the year of their defense.

Cornell Law School Information

History

Cornell Law School was founded in 1887 and began offering graduate law degrees in 1929.  A brief history can be found at http://www.lawschool.cornell.edu/about/history.cfm.

Special Events

J.S.D. students have their own student association (JSDA) and also attend events held for all Cornell Law students and Cornell Graduate School students.  Event updates are available through the weekly E-Newsletter Scoops and via email.

Alumni Newsletter

The Cornell Law Forum is the Law School’s magazine, published twice annually for alumni and friends.  The most current issue is always available online.

Field of Law Faculty and Staff

The J.S.D. program is supported by dedicated faculty members and managed by the Graduate Legal Studies office.  Students may nominate any Field-Approved faculty members to serve on their Special Committee.  For a complete Field-Approved list see the “Faculty” section of the Law Field of Study.

Graduate Legal Studies Staff:

Aimée Houghton    Jenny Hutcherson (GFA)     Lauren Wasson
Associate Dean       Associate Director                Associate Director

Field of Law Office Hours

Faculty members’ office hours vary and faculty should be contacted directly regarding their availability.

The Graduate Legal Studies staff are available during the following hours:

Monday – Friday:  8:30 a.m. – 4:45 p.m.

Forms

All forms referenced in this handbook are available on the Graduate School’s website or will be emailed directly from the Graduate Legal Studies office.  If you have questions about the proper form to use for a particular circumstance, please contact the GFA.