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Cornell Law Library Robert Cantwell Prize for Exemplary Student Research


To be eligible to win, applicants must:

  • Be of 2L (JD), 3L (JD),  LLM, or JSD status at Cornell Law School
  • Have completed a scholarly research paper in the time period spanning May, 2019 – May, 2020.
  • Be the sole author of the scholarly research paper

Criteria for Acceptable Papers:

  • Seminar and other class papers and journal notes will be accepted; work product generated through summer or other employment will not be accepted
  • Minimum of 2500 words in length
  • Citations in Bluebook format with footnotes

Application Procedure:

Send submissions via email to Cassi Norgaisse at, no later than May 11, 2020. Include the following:

  • A cover email including the author’s name, law school year, degree anticipated, and contact information. Judges will not see the cover email.
  • A one page summary (500 words or less) of the research process involved, the lessons learned from that research process, the original purpose for which the paper was written, and the professor for whom the paper was written, if applicable.
  • The scholarly research paper. The paper must not be formatted for publication in a specific journal.

Because the judges review all submissions blind, do not include any author-identifying information in the summary or the paper.

Selection Criteria:

A panel composed of Research Services Librarians will judge submissions 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


Funding for the Cornell Law Library Prize for Exemplary Student Research 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 further invited to contribute to a Reading Room display about their research for public exhibition during the year following receipt of the prize.
  • Prizes are awarded in the judges’ discretion. Not all prizes may be awarded

Past Cantwell Prize Recipients:

2019 Recipients:

2018 Recipient:

2017 Recipients:

2016 Recipients:

2015 Recipients:

2014 Recipients:

2013 Recipients:

2012 Recipients:

2011 Recipients: