Thomas Wolfe was wrong. You can return home again.
That’s the lesson of Eduardo M. Peñalver, a former Cornell graduate and faculty member, who was named dean of Cornell Law. Peñalver replaces Stewart J. Schwab, who will return to the Cornell Law faculty after taking a year-long sabbatical.
Peñalver, who’ll assume his role on July 1, is the first Hispanic dean of an Ivy League law school. At 41, he is among the youngest law deans in the country.
A Scholar’s Scholar
Peñalver joins Cornell from the University of Chicago, where he teaches courses on property, religious, and public law. Before that, he lectured at Cornell Law from 2006-2012, where he also acted as Director of Faculty Research and an adviser to the Cornell Law Review. In addition, Peñalver spent three years at Fordham Law, along with serving as a visiting professor at Harvard Law and Yale Law.
Regarded as an expert in property and land use law, Peñalver has published four books on the subject. His scholarship has appeared in law journals from Yale, Columbia, Cornell, and the universities of Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Virginia. Chicago Law’s Lior Strahilevitz counts him among “the most important and imaginative property scholars of our era.”
As an undergraduate, Peñalver graduated Magna Cum Laude from Cornell, where he met his wife, Sital Kilantry, who runs the International Human Rights Clinic at the University of Chicago Law School. He was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford’s Oriel College, where he studied philosophy and religion and graduated with first class honors. After earning his J.D. at Yale Law, he clerked for Judge Guido Calabresi of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens. Peñalver also spent two years as a litigation associate at Kellogg, Huber, Hansen, Todd & Evans, PLLC.
The Perfect Fit
Peñalver is thrilled to return to his old stomping grounds. “Cornell Law School is a remarkable community of scholars and students. It is diverse, intellectually rigorous and exceptionally collegial, and I look forward to working with our faculty, students, staff, alumni and the university leadership to guide the law school into the future,” Peñalver told the Cornell Chronicle.
The school is also happy to welcome him back. According to Kent Fuchs in the Cornell Chronicle, “Eduardo’s extraordinary academic pedigree, deep love for Cornell, personal warmth, and engaging vision make him ideally suited to build upon the excellent work of Dean Schwab and to further advance the pre-eminence of the Law School.”
Despite a 27% decline in applications over the past three years, Cornell Law remains in good shape. It maintained its #13 ranking in the latest U.S. News and World Report survey. Cornell Law’s nine-month placement rate for graduates has risen nearly 10 points to 85.8%. And graduates also enjoy among the highest starting salaries for private and public sector work, at $160,000 and $60,472 respectively.
Property, Power and Freedom
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