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Law school fundraising I am writing in response to the recent article suggesting law school fundraising is motivated in part by a desire to increase resources for U.S. News & World Report ranking purposes, and thus promotes inefficient spending. [" Donations to law schools soaring," Jan. 28.] In fact, the rise in fundraising is motivated by a need to make legal education more affordable and to produce graduates who are better equipped to succeed in a rapidly changing legal market. Like any law school dean, I have focused attention on fundraising, to the extent that we have tripled our annual fundraising base in the last four years. This increase has meant that there is a significant amount of money beyond tuition to provide support for activities that would otherwise not occur � providing additional scholarships, hiring new faculty and launching a human rights clinic, for example. I know other law schools could similarly identify the many ways in which fundraising has enhanced the quality of student education. Tuition dollars are scarce, and we are intensely aware that tuition increases pressure on students to take on debt that will affect their career options. Simply put, fundraising allows schools to fulfill their mission more effectively in a time of limited resources. Changes in legal education that improve the quality of the experience � such as the rise of clinical education � are very expensive. Fundraising plays a critical role in making them possible. U.S. News & World Report considers spending per student in its ranking system. Though this is an imperfect measure of educational quality, legal educators have limited ability to quantify the output of legal education (i.e., how well we educate). The use of spending as an input is sensible because the resources made available by fundraising have permitted law schools to have smaller classes, recruit top faculty, offer more clinics and increase financial support for students; each of these ends, in turn, significantly correlates with a stronger legal education. William Michael Treanor New York The writer is dean and Paul Fuller Professor of Law at Fordham University School of Law. Confirmation of justices In “ Confirm by supermajority,” Luther T. Munford laments the “partisan” 5-4 opinions of the Roberts Court and the key role played in these decisions by Justice Anthony M. Kennedy. How a vote that regularly finds five Republicans on one side and two on the other can be termed “partisan” boggles my poor mind. Munford further decries the fact that a five-member majority can “amend” the Constitution. Political scientists would tell him that five-member majorities have been doing that for some time. Somehow, however, I doubt, given the author’s clear biases, that he would be equally disturbed at the five-member majorities created by the votes of justices Sandra Day O’Connor, Lewis Powell and Arthur Goldberg and the results these decisions caused. Francis Graham Lee Philadelphia The writer is a professor of political science at Saint Joseph’s University. Fees for pro bono cases Re: “ Fees paid in pro bono cases are contested“: Davis Wright Tremaine successfully represented my publication, Prison Legal News, for more than seven years in what turned out to be the largest public records settlement in Washington state history, Prison Legal News v. Washington Department of Corrections. The firm’s lawyers took the case pro bono in 2000 when every other Washington firm we had approached turned us down, and they did a fantastic job representing us. We lost at the trial court level, lost on appeal and then won, 6-3, in the state Supreme Court. Eventually, after 7 1/2 years of litigation, they received $341,000 in fees and costs. Our magazine could never have afforded to hire counsel. Moreover, few firms could go that long without being paid when the state raised a vigorous scorched-earth defense of their illegal conduct. A key point overlooked by your article is that large attorney fee awards can and should act as a deterrent to civil rights violators. All too often the damages awards in civil rights cases (especially those involving the First Amendment) are relatively paltry, and government agencies can view them as “the cost of doing business.” When civil rights violators are sued by plaintiffs represented by large corporate firms, they need to factor in the fact that they might be held liable for a large fee award if they lose, and they should settle sooner rather than later. All the whining comes from agencies that have been found to have violated the law and that vigorously defended their illegal conduct. Paul Wright Brattleboro, Vt. The writer is editor of Prison Legal News.

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