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 invites 2Ls, 3Ls, and LLMs to submit scholarly research papers to be considered for the annual Cornell Law Library Robert Cantwell Prize for Exemplary Student Research.prizelogo

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:  http://www.lawschool.cornell.edu/library/WhatWeDo/HelpStudents/PrizeStudentResearch.cfm

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

 

Ben Rudofsky (3L) is the winner of the Halloween Research Competition and will receive a $25 gift card to the Cornell Store. Congratulations to all of you who had the correct answer of Royal v. Grounds, 471 F. App'x 324 (5th Cir. 2012).

The lesson - as always - vampires DO NOT have civil rights...or something.

nosferatu

Enter our research competition to win a $25 gift card to the Cornell Store! The rules are easy: email the answer to the question below to mjw332@cornell.edu by midnight on October 31. We will draw a winner from the pool of correct answers next week and announce it on the blog.

The Problem:

Bill Compton, a Louisiana prisoner and vampire, is claiming the prison where he is serving his sentence is violating his civil rights. Compton asserts that as Vampire King of the State of Louisiana, he has been barred from practicing his religion related to his role as leader of the vampires, which includes access to necessary food items such as real human blood rather than the Tru Blood synthetic bottled version that the prison has provided him.

Compton’s civil rights suit was rejected in district court on summary judgment and he appealed that decision in a federal circuit court. That court subsequently dismissed his claim as frivolous and noted that the suit counted as a “strike” under 28. U.S.C. 1915.

Locate a factually similar case involving a self-proclaimed vampire that inspired the story above. Send in the name of the case and the citation to mjw332@cornell.edu by midnight, October 31 for a chance to win the $25 Cornell Store gift card.

The Cornell Law Library is pleased to announce the 2013 recipients of The Cornell Law Library Prize for Exemplary Student Research:

First Place: Libor Integrity and Holistic Domestic Enforcement, by Milson C. Yu, 3L

Milson YuMilson Yu crafted a coherent and well-written note embracing a complex and wide range of sources.  He looked at the history and methodology of the London Interbank Offered Rate (Libor), an estimate of the cost of short-term borrowing for large London banks; examined the limits of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s enforcement authority in the context of rigging Libor; and outlined “a two-part plan to engage the CFTC in active oversight and enforcement of Libor.”  His sources included a sophisticated collection of unpublished private reports, administrative regulations, decisions, and reports, briefs and orders from federal litigation, federal case and statutory law, legislative history materials, and articles and empirical studies in law reviews and business journals, among other sources.

Through extended research into his area of interest, Milson discovered that advanced research techniques such as combining search terms with Boolean connectors and tracking updates to his research significantly improved his search results.

Second Place: How to Kill Copyright: A Brute-Force Approach to Content Creation, by Kirk Sigmon, 3L

sigmon_kirk_kas468Kirk Sigmon’s idea and research were quite original; he wove a collection of very different sources together for an interesting thought experiment.   In the course of examining the topic of copyrightable content randomly generated by computer, he drew on both research in computer science and a mix of primary and secondary legal sources to support his discussion of whether copyrightable content could be generated, whether the content would be amenable to copyright, and the legal ramifications of generating this content.

Kirk comments about his paper:  “It is a fusion of cryptanalytic science, computer science, and intellectual property law – a sort of hybrid that does not easily lend itself to research in a standard library.  But that was what made it a fun paper to write.”

A review panel comprised of Librarians Amy Emerson, Matt Morrison, Nina Scholtz, and Carissa Vogel selected the winners from among 19 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.

Reading Room_2The Law Library invites Cornell Law 2Ls, 3Ls, and LLMs to submit scholarly research papers to be considered for the annual Cornell Law Library Prize for Exemplary Student Research.

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, 2012 – May, 2013.  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, our digital repository.  For submission procedure and selection criteria, please see Prize for Exemplary Student Research.

Papers will be accepted on an ongoing basis through May 1, 2013.  The winners will be announced May 8, 2013.

Attention Cornell students:  Are you researching in the area of European communities or identities?  Would you like to qualify for a cash prize of up to $1,000?  If so, we have the contest for you.

Cornell University Library and the Cornell Institute for European Studies are sponsoring Europe in the World: Perspectives on Communities, a contest offering cash prizes for the best creative scholarship on the communities and identities of Europe.  Build on your research about Europe by preparing and submitting a project with data or information visualization, spatial analysis, mixed media illustration, time-lapse visualization,l or other creative work.

Cash prizes will be offered in both graduate and undergraduate categories:

  • First prize, $1,000
  • Second prize, $500
  • Third prize, $250

For details about the contest, visit olinuris.library.cornell.edu/europe2013.  Olin Library will have a workshop about the contest on Thursday, October 25, 4:30-5:30 pm in Olin Library 106G.  For more information about European statistics, see Cornell University Library's research guide, which includes information about data visualization tools.  For more help with data visualization, e-mail CUL's Visual Resources Help.

The Cornell Law Library is pleased to announce the 2012 recipients of The Cornell Law Library Prize for Exemplary Student Research:

First Place: Annexation of the Jury’s Role in Res Judicata Disputes: The Silent Migration from Question of Fact to Question of Law, by Steven Madrid, 2L

Steven Madrid focused his research on two hundred years of case law to uncover an historical development not currently identified in any secondary source.  Discerning the silent migration of the jury’s role in res judicata disputes from question of fact to question of law required performing the difficult research task of proving a negative – in this instance, proving the absence of cases overturning relevant precedent or otherwise affirmatively establishing res judicata disputes as a question of law.  Steven’s research was further challenged by the fact that current terminology, i.e. “res judicata,” “collateral estoppel,” “claim preclusion,” and “issue preclusion,” was rarely used in nineteenth century cases.  This necessarily led to the creation of innovative search queries to complete the project.

Steven’s foray into the history of his topic was unplanned at the outset of his research, and he notes that, “by maintaining an open attitude a researcher can mold his/her topic into a slight variation that may prove more interesting and novel.”

Second Place: Targeted Killing and Just War:  Reconciling Kill-Capture Missions and the Combatant Civilian Framework, by Louis Guard, 3L

Louis Guard’s research encompassed a diverse array of legal, philosophical, and factual resources.  Not only did he examine the theoretical underpinnings of customary international law principles, but he successfully navigated the intricate research involved in locating hard evidence of customary international law as well.  To this he added an accurate accounting of the specific facts and circumstances surrounding his topic.  His sources included blogs, military-specific news sources, policy briefs and position papers, speeches and public statements, treaties and their interpretive documents, and even a number of forthcoming publications.

Through discussions with both scholars and practitioners, Louis learned how depth of research affects quality of scholarship.  He states, “Academic pieces lacking in rigorous research seem to do little in advancing the [academic] dialogue and are short lived.  The more novel and valuable contributions always seemed to be those that were more thoroughly and competently researched.”

A review panel comprised of Librarians Jean Callihan, Pat Court, Amy Emerson, Matt Morrison and Nina Scholtz selected the winners from among 27 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 Cornell Law Library invites 2Ls, 3Ls, and LLMs to submit scholarly research papers to be considered for the Cornell Law Library Prize for Exemplary Student Research.  All papers must have been written in the time period spanning June, 2011 – May, 2012.  Entries may include, but are not limited to, papers written for a class or journal notes.  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 visit the Law Library website.  Submissions will be accepted on an ongoing basis through May 2, 2012.

The Cornell Law Library invites 2Ls, 3Ls, and LLMs to submit scholarly research papers to be considered for the Cornell Law Library Prize for Exemplary Student Research. All papers must have been written in the time period spanning June, 2011 – May, 2012. Entries may include, but are not limited to, papers written for a class or journal notes. 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 visit the Law Library website. Submissions will be accepted on an ongoing basis through May 2, 2012.

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