Faculty
Aviva A. Orenstein
Faculty

Aviva A. Orenstein

Interim Assistant Dean for Career Services; Associate Dean for Academic Affairs; Professor of Law and Val Nolan Faculty Fellow

Education
  • A.B., Cornell University 1981
  • J.D., Cornell Law School 1986
Background
  • Appointed associate dean for academic affairs in 2017
  • 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)
Biography

Professor Orenstein writes and teaches in the area of evidence. Her scholarly interests concern the intersection of evidence law and culture, and she is currently writing about jurors’ emotions and how the emotion of regret can justify rules excluding character evidence.

Orenstein also teaches Civil Procedure and, occasionally, Family Law, Legal Profession, and Children and the Law. For the past three years, she has taught American evidence law in China. On her recent sabbatical she studied Bible, Talmud, and Jewish law as a visiting second-year student in the Hebrew College Rabbinical School in Newton, MA. Her Aramaic is much improved and her appreciation for the cultural aspects of legal interpretation has deepened.

In 2000-2001, Orenstein directed the Child Advocacy Clinic, supervising law students who serve as guardians ad litem for children in contested-custody cases. She has served as a court-appointed special advocate for abused and neglected children and currently performs pro bono work in the local juvenile court. In 2004-2005, Orenstein was a fellow at the Poynter Center for the Study of Ethics and American Institutions, where she participated 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. Orenstein was a humor columnist for the Bloomington Herald-Times and still runs into folks who have put laminated copies of her essays on their refrigerator.  No one does this with her scholarship.  In 2016, her debut novel, Fat Chance, was published to little acclaim but much personal delight. Orenstein is the mother of three grown sons.  She was named associate dean for academic affairs in 2017.

Selected Works

BOOKS

  • PARK & ORENSTEIN, TRIAL OBJECTIONS HANDBOOK (3d ed. fall 2017).
  • PARK, ORENSTEIN, NANCE & GOLDBERG, EVIDENCE LAW: A STUDENT'S GUIDE TO THE LAW OF EVIDENCE AS APPLIED IN AMERICAN TRIALS (4th ed. fall 2017).
  • ORENSTEIN, ACING EVIDENCE (2d ed. 2016) (Chinese translation expected spring 2018).

ARTICLES AND BOOK CHAPTERS

  • Once We Were Slaves, Now We Are Free: The Legal, Administrative, and Psychosocial Issues Raised by Passover Seders in Prison, 41 PEPP. L. REV. 65 (2014).
  • Empirical Fallacies of Evidence Law: A Critical Look at the Admission of Prior Sex Crimes, 81 U. CIN. L. REV. 794 (2013) (with Tamara Rice Lave).
  • Facing the Unfaceable: Dealing with Prosecutorial Denial in Postconviction Cases of Actual Innocence, 46 SAN DIEGO L. REV. 401 (2011).
  • Sex, Threats, and Excited Words: Regina v. Bedingfield and its Lessons for Modern Evidence Law, 79 FORDHAM L. REV. 115 (2010).
  • Her Dying Words: The Dying Declaration in Domestic Violence Murders as an Exception to and Indictment of Modern Confrontation Jurisprudence, 2010 ILL. L. REV. 1141.
  • Deviance, Due Process, and the False Promise of Federal Rule of Evidence 403, 90 CORNELL L. REV. 1487 (2005).
  • My God!: A Feminist Critique of the Excited Utterance Exception to the Hearsay Rule, 85 CAL. L. REV. 153 (1997).