Cornell Law School
Cornell Law School (Photo: Eustress via Wikimedia Commons)

University of Chicago Law School professor Eduardo Peñalver will take over at Cornell Law School on July 1, while Washington University in St. Louis School of Law has named University of Southern California Gould School of Law vice dean Nancy Staudt as its next top administrator, beginning on May 15.

U.S. News & World Report ranks Cornell at No. 13 and Washington University at No. 18.

Peñalver’s appointment marks his return to Ithaca, N.Y., where he has spent the bulk of his academic career. He received his undergraduate degree from Cornell before being awarded his juris doctor at Yale Law School, and served on the Cornell law faculty from 2006 to 2012. He will replace Stewart Schwab, dean since 2004.

“Eduardo’s extraordinary academic pedigree, deep love for Cornell, personal growth 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,” Cornell University Provost Kent Fuchs said.

“Cornell is a remarkable community of scholars and students,” Peñalver said. “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, an expert in property law, was director of faculty research at Cornell from 2009 to 2010. He said he plans to look for ways to help graduates find jobs, including boosting career assistance outside New York state and helping place graduates with the types of employers that don’t recruit on campus.

Staudt’s appointment at Washington University is also a homecoming—she taught there from 2000 to 2006. Beside her administrative duties at Southern California, she holds a joint appointment at the university’s Price School of Public Policy. Before that, Staudt taught at Northwestern University School of Law.

“Our committee interviewed an amazing group of candidates for the dean’s position,” said Edward Lawlor, dean of the university’s Brown School of Social Work and chairman of the law dean search committee. “Nancy Staudt impressed every constituency—faculty, staff, student, alumni, Washington University administrators—with her vision, energy, and knowledge of legal education.”

She will hold a joint appointment at the Brown School of Social Work.

Staudt replaces former dean Kent Syverud, who left in January to become chancellor of Syracuse University.

“Both the university and the school of law have enjoyed great success in recent years, and I am thrilled to be a part of this incredible momentum,” she said. “I look forward to many years of collaboration with our fabulous students and faculty and to connecting with the impressive legal community in St. Louis and beyond.”

Staudt, also a visiting professor at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, Israel, is an expert in tax policy well known throughout the legal profession for helping advance the empirical study of the law. She and her partner, Lee Epstein, also a professor at Southern California, have for years conducted empirical research into the courts and judicial decision-making. Epstein will also join the law faculty at Washington University.

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