Aviva A. Orenstein

Aviva A. Orenstein

Professor of Law and Val Nolan Faculty Fellow

  • A.B., Cornell University 1981
  • J.D., Cornell Law School 1986
  • Earned her A.B. summa cum laude from Cornell University
  • Earned her J.D. magna cum laude at Cornell; articles editor of the Cornell Law Review; and elected to the Order of the Coif
  • Chair, American Association of Law Schools Evidence Section, 2005-06.
  • Founder and organizer, Outreach for Legal Literacy (1995-present)
  • Fellow, Poynter Center for the Study of Ethics and American Institutions (2005-06)
  • Clerk, the late Hon. Edward R. Becker, Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit (1987-88)

Professor Orenstein writes and teaches in the area of evidence. Her current scholarship examines special evidence rules that allow prosecutors to introduce evidence of a defendant's prior sexual offenses in rape and child molestation cases.

Orenstein teaches Civil Procedure and Family Law and has in the recent past taught Legal Profession, and Children and the Law. In 2000-2001, she directed the Child Advocacy Clinic, supervising law students who serve as guardian ad litem for children in contested-custody cases. She has served as a court-appointed special advocate for abused and neglected children and currently does pro bono work in the local family court. In 2004-05, she was a fellow at the Poynter Center for the Study of Ethics and American Institutions, where she now participates in a seminar on "The Ethics and Politics of Childhood."

Orenstein founded and supervises an Outreach for Legal Literacy, a program through which law students teach constitutional law and civics to local fifth-graders. She has written and produced a number of plays on legal and ethical questions used for the professional development of law students and the local bar.

Selected Works
  • EVIDENCE LAW, A STUDENT'S GUIDE TO THE LAW OF EVIDENCE AS APPLIED IN AMERICAN TRIALS, 3rd ed. (with Roger C. Park, David P. Leonard, and Steven Goldberg). Eagan, MN: West Law School, 2011.
  • Her Last Words: Dying Declarations and Modern Confrontation Jurisprudence, 2010 UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS LAW REVIEW 1141 (2010).
  • Honoring Margaret Berger with a Crazy Idea: Insisting that Judges Employ a Balancing Test before Admitting the Accused's Convictions under Federal Rule of Evidence 609(a)(2), BROOKLYN LAW REVIEW (Forthcoming, 2010).
  • Presuming Guilt or Protecting Victims?: Analyzing the Special Treatment of Those Accused of Rape, in RACE TO INJUSTICE: LESSONS LEARNED FROM THE DUKE LACROSSE RAPE CASE (Michael L. Seigel, Ed.) Durham, NC: Carolina Academic Press, 2009.
  • Propensity or Stereotype?: A Misguided Evidence Experiment in Indian Country, 19 CORNELL JOURNAL OF LAW AND PUBLIC POLICY 173 (2009). [HeinOnline]
  • Children As Witness: A Symposium on Child Competence and the Accused's Right to Confront Child Witnesses, 82 INDIANA LAW JOURNAL 909 (2007).
  • Special Issues Raised By Rape Trials, in Ethics and Evidence Symposium, 76 FORDHAM LAW REVIEW 1585 (2007).