Libraries and Hours Ask a Librarian

Law Library

Open until 5pm - Full Hours /

Cornell Law Library Robert Cantwell Prize for Exemplary Student Research

Cornell Law Library is pleased to award the Cantwell Prize for Exemplary Student Research. 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.


  • First Place – $500.00
  • Second Place – $250.00

Winners are invited to publish their paper in Scholarship@Cornell Law, a digital repository of the Cornell Law Library.  Here, papers are provided with exposure to the global community, including scholars, researchers, and potential employers. Winners are also invited to contribute to a Reading Room display about their research for public exhibition during the year following receipt of the prize.


To be eligible to win, applicants must:

  • Be of 2L (JD), 3L (JD), or LLM status at Cornell Law School
  • Have completed the scholarly research paper in the time period spanning May 2022-May 2023.
  • Be the sole author of the scholarly research paper

Papers must:

  • Not have been prepared for summer or other employment.
  • Be at least 2500 words.
  • Use with consistency a standard, recognized citation format.

Application Procedure:

Email submissions to Shannon Slack no later than May 16, 2023. Submissions must include:

  • A cover email listing the author’s name, law school year, degree anticipated, and contact information.
  • A summary of no more than 500 words describing the research involved, lessons learned from that research process, the purpose for which the paper was written, and the course and professor for whom the paper was written (if applicable). The summary must not indicate publication status of the paper or include any author-identifying information.
  • The scholarly research paper. Papers must not include any author-identifying information or be formatted for publication in a specific journal.

Selection Criteria:

A judges’ panel composed of research librarians will judge papers based on how well they demonstrate the following:

  • Sophistication, originality, or unusual depth or breadth in the use of research materials, including, but not limited to, print resources, electronic search engines and databases, primary and secondary legal resources, interdisciplinary resources, and empirical resources.
  • Exceptional innovation in research strategy, including evidence of ability to locate, select, and critically evaluate research materials.
  • Skillful synthesis of research results into a comprehensive scholarly analysis.

Prizes are awarded in the judges’ discretion. Not all prizes may be awarded. Judges do not have access to the cover emails or the submitters’ identities.

Past Cantwell Prize Recipients:

2022 Recipients:

  • First Place: Form CRS in Practice: How the SEC Fails to Protect Retail Investors by Zev T. Chabu
  • Second Place: An Extraordinary Court in Ordinary Times? A Re-evaluation of Ireland’s Special Criminal Court, Fifty Years On by Diarmuid O’Leary

2021 Recipients:

  • First Place: Insanity Step Zero: A Modern Application of M’Naghten’s Question Four Test by Michael Mills
  • Second Place: Iconic Designs, Icon Status, and Intellectual Property: Discussing Copyright and Fashion and the Ideal Mode of Protection for Fashion Designs and Patterns by Bianca Lindau

2020 Recipients:

  • First Place: Patenting Pot: The Hazy Uncertainty Surrounding Cannabis Patents by Andrew Kingsbury
  • Second Place: Without the Forbidden Fruit: Returning to the Wild Beast Test by Jennifer Yu

2019 Recipients:

2018 Recipient:

2017 Recipients:

2016 Recipients:

2015 Recipients:

2014 Recipients:

2013 Recipients:

2012 Recipients:

2011 Recipients: