The Competitive Edge is the blog of the Cornell Law Library, dedicated to the advancement of legal research, scholarship, and education among Cornell Law students, faculty, and the transnational research community.

Due to a breakage in the Reading Room sprinkler system, after hours key-card access will be disabled as of 5pm today until repairs can be completed. The work is being done as quickly as possible, but may take up to a couple of weeks.

During this time, please visit the library during normal operating summer hours to retrieve Reading Room materials or to check out any items at the Circulation Desk.  The rest of the library is unaffected and may be accessed as usual.

Please contact Amy Emerson with questions at

Every month the Cornell Law Library adds new titles to its collection. The most recent additions for July 2014 are posted, here. A few highlights from this month’s additions are featured below.

Capital in the Twenty-First Century - Thomas Piketty


Bentham's Theory of Law and Public Opinion -  Xiaobo Zhai; Michael Quinn


The Right to Health at the Public/Private Divide : A Global Comparative Study - Colleen M Flood; Aeyal M Gross


Every month the Cornell Law Library adds new titles to its collection. The most recent additions for June 2014 are posted, here. A few highlights from this month's additions are featured below.

Law and the Limits of Government : Temporary Versus Permanent Legislation – Frank Fagan

law and limits

The Criminology of War – Ruth Jamieson


Foreign Policy : From Conception to Diplomatic Practice - Ernest Petrič


reunion weekend 2014

summer hours 2014


Every month the Cornell Law Library adds new titles to its collection. The most recent additions for February 2014 are posted, here. A few highlights from this month's additions are featured below.


Promoting the Rule of Law : A Practitioners' Guide to Key Issues and Developments -  Lelia Mooney

rule of law


Interstate Liability for Climate Change-Related Damage - Elena Kosolapova

climate change


International Organizations : Politics, Law, Practice – Ian Hurd

international organizations

The Cornell Law Library is pleased to announce the 2014 recipients of The Cornell Law Library Robert Cantwell Prize for Exemplary Student Research:

First Prize:

The Religion of Alcoholics Anonymous (“AA”): Applying the Clergy Privilege to Certain AA Communications, by Ari Diaconis, 3L

d_diaconis_ari_ajd256Ari Diaconis cast a wide net in compiling his research, drawing from over 180 sources including in-person interviews, Bible scripture and empirical studies while also using traditional legal research and analysis.

Diaconis argued for the application of the clergy privilege to Alcoholics Anonymous (“AA”) by constructing a detailed history of AA from its origins to present day, relying on a variety of primary and secondary sources including interviews with current members. He then used that historical research to argue that AA constitutes a religion under Supreme Court precedent, providing analysis of the Court’s jurisprudence dating to the 19th Century.

“I learned a tremendous amount from conducting the research necessary for this Note,” he said of the process. “The most important of which include: (1) take things one piece at a time (even sentence by sentence at times); (2) pick topics that genuinely interest you; (3) do not always look for sources that support your thesis; rather, seek the truth; (4) do not trust everything you read; and (5) ask for help.”

Second Prize:

The Law Review Divide: A Study of Gender Diversity on the Top Twenty Law Reviews, by Lynne Kolodinsky, 3L

d_kolodinsky_lynne_lnk29Lynne Kolodinsky used empirical analysis as the basis for her research in examining gender diversity in law review membership.

Kolodinsky designed an original study seeking to explore the apparent gender disparity among top law review journals and possible explanations for that gap. Building on previous scholarship on gender diversity in legal academia, her goal was to produce “the first comprehensive statistical analysis of independently reported and verified data on the gender diversity of law review membership.”

Kolodinsky collected school enrollment data from the archives of the ABA-LSAC Official Guide to ABA-Approved Law Schools and also gathered information on law review admissions processes as the basis for her study. She then combined her findings with a broader discussion of women’s evolving experiences in the traditionally male-dominated law school setting using a variety of more traditional legal scholarship sources.

“Without this experience, I doubt I would have had any exposure to [statistical] software in law school,” she said. “I also learned how to effectively synthesize empirics with theory to make an original argument that contributes to the broader sphere of academic studies relating to women’s experiences in the legal field.”

About the Cantwell Prize:

A review panel comprised of Librarians Amy Emerson, Nina Scholtz and Mark Williams selected the winners from among 29 competitive entries.

Funding for the Prize is provided by an endowment given to the Law Library by Barbara Cantwell in honor of her late husband, Robert Cantwell, a 1956 graduate of Cornell Law School.

In addition to receiving a monetary award, the winners are also invited to publish their papers in Scholarship@Cornell Law, the Law Library’s digital repository, and to feature their papers in Reading Room displays.


The Law Library is pleased to announce that our HeinOnline databases now include four new titles:

  • The American Law Institute Library includes the Restatements of the Law and associated drafts.  Restatement topics include Agency, Business Associations, Conflict of Laws, Contracts, Economic Torts and Related Wrongs, Employment Law, Foreign Relations Law, Information Privacy Principles, Judgments, Law Governing Lawyers, Law of American Indians, Property, Restatement in the Courts, Restitution and Unjust Enrichment, Sales of Land, Security, Suretyship and Guaranty, Torts, Trusts, Unfair Competition, and U.S. Law of International Commercial Arbitration.  Some topics are still in draft form only – but those drafts are included!  This Library also includes ALI Annual Reports (1937-2010), Proceedings of ALI Annual Meetings (1923-2011), ALI Annual Meeting Speeches (1923-current), ALI Reporter (vols. 1-33), Statement of Essential Human Rights Archive, Principles of the Law, Uniform Commercial Code (including drafts), Model Penal Code (including drafts and other miscellaneous documents, 1951-2011), ALI-ABA Periodicals and other ALI documents.
  • History of Bankruptcy: Taxation and Economic Reform in America, Part III includes legislative histories, treatises, documents, and other materials related to bankruptcy law in America; books dating back to the late 1700s; and links to scholarly articles useful in the study of bankruptcy law.
  • The U.S. International Trade Library includes more than 4,000 publications from the U.S. International Trade Commission, dating back to 1951; legislative histories of free trade agreements and trade statutes; more than 200 books about international trade; United States Court of International Trade Reports (1980-current), and other materials.
  • Women and the Law contains nearly 500,000 pages from books, biographies, and periodicals about women’s roles in society and the law.  It also includes more than 70 titles from Emory University Law School’s Feminism and Legal Theory Project.

Remember that HeinOnline databases include images of the original publications and allow full-text searching across each library.

We’ve also just purchased a large collection of law e-books from the publisher Edward Elgar.  They’re full-text searchable and include easy PDF downloads of chapters using the platform ElgarOnline. Click “Law-Academic” in the left column for the full list of over 400 e-books, then narrow to your chosen subject using the subject list in the left column.  New titles will be added throughout the year.

Another newly available database is voxgov. As the publisher explains, voxgov provides access to “unfiltered original source news, media and information direct from all branches of the U.S. Federal Government,”  including Facebook and Twitter posts from legislators and others.  Save your searches and set up email alerts by registering for a free myvoxgov account.

prizelogoJust a few more days to submit papers for the annual Cornell Law Library Robert Cantwell Prize for Exemplary Student Research.

Papers will be accepted on an ongoing basis through May 1, 2014.  The winners will be announced May 8, 2014.

Entries may include, but are not limited to, papers written for a class or journal notes.  All papers must have been written in the time period spanning May, 2013 – May, 2014.  Work product generated through summer or other employment will not be accepted.  Papers must be a minimum of 10 pages in length, must be written in proper Bluebook format, and must be properly footnoted.

First prize is $500, second prize is $250, and both winners will be invited to publish their papers in Scholarship@Cornell Law, a digital repository of the Cornell Law Library.  For submission procedure and selection criteria, please see here:

cushion3Just in time for some serious studying, the Law Library is pleased to offer seat cushions.  Approximately 50 cushions were distributed throughout the Reading Room today.  All are available to use as needed, but please do not remove them from the Reading Room.

We look forward to hearing your feedback.  If they work well, we’ll purchase enough for all of the chairs.

Best of luck on exams!

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