Yesterday, November 19, Lynn Stout, Distinguished Professor of Corporate & Business Law at Cornell University Law School, gave a talk about her new book, The Shareholder Value Myth: How Putting Shareholders First Harms Investors, Corporations and the Public.  William W. Bratton (Univ. of Pennsylvania Law School), James Cox (Duke Law School), and Todd Henderson (Univ. of Chicago Law School) spoke with Professor Stout.

We have posted a video of this event on our YouTube channel.  Read more about The Shareholder Value Myth in Cornell Law School’s Spotlights.

The Law Library is pleased to welcome Priya Rai, Deputy Librarian in Charge at the Justice T.P.S. Chawla Library, National Law University in Delhi, to Cornell Law School.

Ms. Rai’s visit is made possible through the Bitner Research Fellows Fund.  This endowment is designed to provide foreign law librarians with exposure to Cornell Law Library’s excellent resources and the expertise of its professional librarians, while learning about advanced legal research in a global context.

Ms. Rai will present at the faculty workshop on Wednesday, July 25, 12:00 Noon, in the Weiss Faculty Lounge.  Entitled “Access to Legal Information in the Digital Age: A Comparative Study of Electronic Commercial Databases and Public Domain Resource in Law,” her presentation will include the results of her research involving law students and faculty from leading law schools in India. In addition to comparing open access and commercial legal databases, she will discuss initiatives to promote access to legal information to all Indian citizens.

Ms. Rai is the 2012 recipient of the FCIL-SIS Schaffer Grant.   This grant provides financial assistance for a foreign law librarian to attend the American Association of Law Libraries Annual Meeting, which she will do immediately prior to visiting Cornell.

Our colleagues at the University of St. Thomas Law School library have released “Scholarly Impact of Law School Faculties in 2012: Applying Leiter Scores to Rank the Top Third.”  We’re happy to report that Cornell Law School’s score, using the protocols refined by Professor Brian Leiter, is ranked at number nine.

Gregory C. Sisk, Valerie Aggerbeck, Debby Hackerson, and Mary Wells explain that the Scholarly Impact Score measures the impact of a faculty’s legal scholarship on other legal scholars — the score looks at citations by other legal scholars, not by academic scholars as a whole.  Moreover, it measures the impact of tenured faculty, not untenured faculty or faculty with a primary appointment in clinical teaching or teaching legal research and writing.  The weighted score, upon which schools are rank-ordered, is twice the mean plus the median of each tenured faculty member’s citations in law reviews for the past five years (2007-2011).

The study identifies the ten most cited scholars at each school.  At Cornell this year, they are (in alphabetical order) Gregory S. Alexander, Kevin M. Clermont, Michael C. Dorf, Theodore Eisenberg, Valerie Hans, Michael Heise, Robert A. Hillman, Jeffrey J. Rachlinski, Stewart J. Schwab, and Lynn Stout.


Have you heard the old adage that people look like their pets? Visit our Reading Room display case for a glimpse at the variety of pets kept by Cornell Law School faculty and see if you can match each pet to its rightful owner. From iguanas to horses to dogs, the critters vary from large to small, slippery to cuddly.

Perhaps at some point in your law school career, your professors made mention of their pets and you can draw on those memories. If not, no worries – the law library will be providing clues on Facebook and Twitter throughout the month of November. Make your matches, complete the contest entry form, and submit it at the Circulation Desk during regular library hours for a chance to win a $50 gift card to Amazon. Contest forms are available at the display case. Contest ends November 30, 2011.

Want something interesting on your resume? Look into the Law Library Research Fellow program. This year we are looking for two law students (2Ls or 3Ls) to work as Fellows conducting research for faculty who don’t have their own research assistants or who need additional help with a project. Research Fellows’ hours are extremely flexible and the pay is the same as for a faculty research assistant. If you are interested you can find an online application at Library Research Fellows.

Collateral Knowledge coverToday Cornell Law School celebrates the publication of Professor Annelise Riles‘ new book Collateral Knowledge: Legal Reasoning in the Global Financial Markets.  Prof. Riles is the Jack G. Clarke ’52 Professor of Far Eastern Legal Studies and Director of the Clarke Program in East Asian Law and Culture.  The book examines how the financial markets are governed not only by legislatures that pass laws (from the top down), but also by  people and entities that participate in the system (from the bottom up), ranging from academics to people who fill out financial forms.  Prof. Riles engages her topic by means of ethnographic study in Japan.

The book is available in the library and from  I also recommend Professor Riles’ interesting blog, also entitled Collateral Knowledge, where she continues the discussion.

Professor Summers with the Uniform Commercial CodeCornell Law Library will miss our colleague, supporter, and great friend Professor Robert S. Summers who retired at the end of last year.  At his last contracts class in December of 2010, part of a series of Retirement Events, Professor Summers was honored by former and present students, colleagues, family, and friends.  He had two opportunities to address the group and in his first brief remarks he said it was the most appropriate occasion “to express his profound gratitude for 42 years at Cornell Law School.”  He expressed gratitude to his students, colleagues, research assistants, and administrative assistants, and “gratitude to the attentive and very helpful librarians – God bless them – their great contributions should be acknowledged more often.”

Later, near the end of the occasion, he said:

I wish also to express my profound gratitude and appreciation … to the excellent librarians, without whom naught! I’m a book worm and those librarians have satisfied the appetite of that worm in a most remarkable way. And sometimes I fear the librarians don’t get quite their due and I want to emphasize their importance.

And for a good many years I not only was heavily engaged in supporting our librarians here but I was chair of the Cornell University Library board. And we did our best to get people in line to support the Library budget and to support the efforts of the librarians to make the campus conscious of the profound importance of those libraries. We just tend too often to take all those books on those shelves for granted. Let me tell you there’s a lot of work behind that, a lot of careful attention behind that, and much gratitude is due.

Rana book coverIn honor of Professor Aziz Rana‘s new book The Two Faces of American Freedom, today Cornell Law School hosted a celebration featuring remarks from Nancy Rosenblum, the Senator Joseph Clark Professor of Ethics in Politics and Government at Harvard University, William Forbath, the Lloyd M. Bentsen Chair in Law at the University of Texas at Austin School of Law, and Richard Bensel, Associate Chair and Professor in Cornell University’s Department of Government.  The book is also being featured at the Law Library circulation desk in the Reading Room.

Professor Rana’s book, which grew out of his dissertation work at Harvard, argues that in the United States, freedom and exclusion were not competing values, but part of the same ideological system.  Those in power maintained their economic and social freedom by denying those same freedoms to others (e.g., Indians and African Americans).  This practice continues today; interest groups (for example, the Tea Party movement and labor unions) advocate for policies to protect their economic well-being and against policies that will extend privileges and benefits to others, fearing their own economic and political positions will diminish.  The book’s concluding argument is that political change and the preservation and extension of freedom has continuously been the result of groups of people, most often the marginalized, unifying their voices in support of freedom.  For these and other insights, presented in beautifully written prose, take a look at the book.

Computer mouseOur own Professor Bob Hillman and his collaborator Professor Maureen O’Rourke of the Boston University School of Law have a forthcoming article on the law of software contracts, which is available on SSRN’s Legal Scholarship Network (LSN).  Professors Hillman and O’Rourke are not new to the topic: they are the Reporter and Associate Reporter for the American Law Institute’s (ALI) Principles of the Law of Software Contracts.  The Principles have been years in the making with a discussion draft submitted to the ALI back in 2007.  ALI membership unanimously approved the final draft in May 2009.  The current law of software contracts is a messy patchwork drawing from federal intellectual property law, common law, and Article 2 of the Uniform Commercial Code.  Thus, the Principles project seeks to “clarify and unify the law of software transactions” by addressing issues of contract formation, enforcement of terms, automated disablement, and contract interpretation, among other issues.

Now, while software and software law may seem mundane in today’s digitally-driven world, the Principles have not been without controversy, especially in the areas of indemnification and warranties.  Specifically, section 3.05, “Other Implied Quality Warranties,” has garnered attention.  The section creates a non-excludable implied warranty that “the software contains no material hidden defects of which the transferor was aware at the time of the transfer.”  Software providers have expressed concern over the phrase “material hidden defects” and the meanings of the individual words.  There is a fear that litigation against them will increase.  Professor Hillman addresses the issue of section 3.05 in a thorough blog post last summer.  It is worth a read and there are several comments that readers should consider, too.  They highlight the notion that exciting controversy is not just the domain of constitutional law cases at the Supreme Court!

Property Outlaws book coverCornell Law School is celebrating the publication of Prof. Eduardo Peñalver’s book Property Outlaws: How Squatters, Pirates, and Protesters Improve the Law of Ownership, which he co-authored with Sonia K. Katyal, Professor at Fordham University School of Law.  The library catalog information for the book is available here. You can see the Table of Contents and read selected pages from the book at

If you are intrigued by the concept of the role of the lawbreaker as a force in the evolution of property law, you can read an earlier treatment of the topic entitled “Property Outlaws,” co-authored by Professors Peñalver and Katyal in 155 U. PA. L. REV. 1095 (2007) and available in Scholarship@Cornell Law.  The book expands the scope of the earlier article and also introduces the concept of “Altlaws.”  Altlaws appear to violate the laws of intellectual property but “skirt the boundaries of property legality and can often make an objectively plausible argument that, although in a sense they are rebelling against the property status quo, their conduct actually falls within the boundaries of legal permissibility.”  Altlaws push against the unclear boundaries of intellectual property law, as opposed to Outlaws who clearly operate outside the boundaries of property law.

For more of Professor Peñalver’s writings, see his faculty publications page and the Scholarship@Cornell Law online repository.

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