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Law School welcomes new dean, Eduardo Peñalver

Eduardo Penalver


Today, Eduardo Peñalver begins his term as the Allan R. Tessler Dean of Cornell Law School – the 16th dean in the school’s history and the first Latino dean of an Ivy League law school. Previously, Peñalver was the John P. Wilson Professor of Law at the University of Chicago Law School.

Peñalver succeeds Stewart J. Schwab, who had been dean since 2004. Schwab, a faculty member since 1983, plans to return to teaching at the Law School after a sabbatical in the 2014-15 term. Over the past several months, Schwab and Peñalver have been working on a smooth transition.

“I am excited and honored to return home to Cornell Law School as its next dean. My most formative intellectual experiences have been at Cornell, both as an undergraduate and, more recently, as a member of the law school faculty,” said Peñalver. “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, who received his B.A. from Cornell's College of Arts and Sciences in 1994 and his law degree from Yale Law School in 1999, joined the Cornell faculty in 2006 and the Chicago faculty in 2013. He taught at Fordham Law School 2003-06 and has been a visiting professor at Harvard and Yale law schools.

Upon completing law school, he clerked for Judge Guido Calabresi of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and for Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens. Between college and law school, Peñalver studied philosophy and theology as a Rhodes scholar at the University of Oxford.

Praised by colleagues as an important, passionate and brilliant scholar, Peñalver has had his work on property law published in scholarly law journals at Yale University, the University of Michigan, Cornell and the University of Pennsylvania. He is considered to be a leading voice in the “progressive property” movement. His research explores how property law creates or reinforces communal bonds and how property rights mediate the relationship between individuals and communities.

Peñalver’s book “Property Outlaws” (co-authored with Sonia Katyal), published by Yale University Press in 2010, explores the role of disobedience in the evolution of property law. His most recent book, “An Introduction to Property Theory” (co-authored with Gregory Alexander), was published by Cambridge University Press in 2011.

Christopher Brouwer is a senior editor at Cornell Law School.

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Joe Schwartz