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LOS ANGELES — Mark Robinson, founder and senior partner of personal injury firm Robinson, Calcagnie & Robinson in Newport Beach, Calif., has donated $1 million to the University of California at Irvine’s new law school. The gift sets up an endowment fund to be allocated according to the discretion of the dean, Erwin Chemerinsky, a professor at Duke Law School who was named dean last month. In August, local billionaire Donald Bren donated $20 million to establish an endowment fund for the salaries of 11 faculty members and the dean. The law school was named the Donald Bren School of Law. In May, UC Irvine received a $1 million gift from the Joan Irvine Smith and Athalie R. Clarke Foundation to be used to establish a law library. Robinson has served as lead or liaison counsel for plaintiffs’ lawyer in California, particularly in pharmaceutical cases. Last year, he obtained a $51 million verdict against Merck in the first federal trial over Vioxx. A judge lowered that award to $1.6 million several months ago. Robinson is best known for a $128 million verdict he obtained in 1978 for a boy injured in a Ford Pinto, the largest personal injury verdict on record at the time. He also served on the committee tasked with finding a dean for the Donald Bren School of Law, which will be the first public law school to open in California in 40 years. Classes are scheduled to begin in fall 2009.

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