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Despite its connection with one of the country’s wealthiest universities, Emory’s law school is anything but rich. Though the Atlanta university as a whole boasts a $4.4 billion endowment — the eighth-largest in the nation, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education — the law school’s endowment was worth just $21.9 million at the close of fiscal year 2001. Emory’s endowment appears truly meager when compared with the fiscal year 2001 endowments at other law schools around the country. Forget about competing with the top 10 law schools, as ranked by U.S. News & World Report — even though that’s where Emory’s law school dean candidates and current leaders say they’d like to see the school someday. Not many can hope to compete with the $326.6 million endowment at No. 2 Stanford law, or the $289 million at No. 4 Columbia. But even among schools that share Emory’s No. 27 ranking, Emory is clearly the poor relation. For example, the University of Georgia’s law school endowment, at $41.6 million, is about double Emory’s. Notre Dame’s law school has a $109.5 million endowment, and the law school at Washington University in St. Louis has a $120.1 million endowment. Only one — Washington University — has a university endowment even approaching the size of Emory’s. And none has Coca-Cola Co. — some 38 percent of Emory University’s endowment is in Coke stock — in its backyard. So what’s the problem? FOUR KEYS There’s not just one. First, Emory law school’s endowment has been small for a long time. Former dean Howard O. Hunter, now interim provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at Emory University, said around the time of the school’s founding in 1916, donors established two $25,000 endowed chairs. Though $50,000 was a lot of money in 1916, when Hunter became dean 73 years later, in 1989, the endowment was just $3 million. “It was tiny,” he said, joking, “We kept it in a very small box in the second drawer of my desk.” To give that number some perspective, Georgia State University’s law school, which isn’t quite 20 years old, already has about $4.3 million in its endowment. In Hunter’s 12 years at Emory, he said, the endowment increased to a high of around $25 million in 2000. In fiscal year 2001, however, it was worth just $21.9 million. And there’s the second problem. Emory’s law school endowment is invested with the rest of the university’s endowment, according to Hunter. Though the Coca-Cola Co. has been a very generous donor, its stock has been declining lately. The stock hit a high of about $88 a share in 1998, and now trades at around $47 per share. Between fiscal years 2000 and 2001, Emory University’s endowment declined 14.2 percent, from more than $5 billion to $4.4 billion; the law school’s endowment declined about 15 percent, from $25 million to $21.9 million. Third, although Emory’s law school was founded in 1916, its classes were, for about half a century, quite small. Hunter said usual class size through the 1930s was 13 or 14 students and the number declined during World War II, with just two members in the class of 1944. The postwar GI Bill of Rights helped boost enrollment, but the school didn’t graduate its first class of about 100 until the early 1970s. This means that compared to its peer schools, Emory probably has fewer older, wealthy alumni to tap for money, and fewer graduates old enough to consider the law school as a beneficiary of their multimillion-dollar estates. Emory’s total number of living alumni isn’t all that low-eight other law schools the Daily Report analyzed had about the same number or fewer living alumni. But in general, a greater percentage of the alumni at other schools give money, and some give more money per capita than Emory alums. Emory had about 8,657 living alumni in 2001. Of those alumni, 25 percent gave money to the school, for a total of $636,989, or about $294 per person. By contrast, Cornell’s law school had 8,500 living alumni in 2001. Of those, 33 percent gave a total of $3.4 million, or $1,212 per person. Finally, a new study out from The American Lawyer asked some 5,000 big-firm summer associates around the country to rate their law schools in various areas. In one area, students ranked Emory (along with Yale and UCLA) lowest when it came to preparing students for private practice. Though those sentiments may not affect Emory’s finances now, they could in the future when those students graduate, rise through the ranks to lucrative partnerships, and begin looking for places to donate their money. Neither dean search committee chairman Richard D. Freer nor acting law school dean Peter Hay returned calls about this story. SILVER LINING It’s not all financial gloom and doom for Emory. The growth of Emory’s endowment — even with recent declines — has been quite healthy. During Hunter’s term as dean, for example, the endowment grew more than 700 percent, from $3 million to a high of $25 million. According to data from an Association of American Law Schools survey of law school finances, between 1992 and 2001, Emory’s endowment growth far outstripped that at the University of Georgia, which shares Emory’s U.S. News ranking and is its closest geographic peer. During that period, Emory’s endowment grew from $7.8 million to $21.9 million, about a 180 percent increase; UGA’s grew from $23.6 million to $41.6 million, a 76 percent increase. Linda Steckley, Duke University School of Law’s associate dean for external relations and the past chairwoman of the AALS section that compiles the survey, said the mission of Emory’s new law dean — whoever takes the job — is clear. “Anything under $50 million would be low in comparison to other top-tier schools in the country,” she said. “That is something that you would want a new dean to focus on.” FUND-RAISING EXPERIENCE Emory’s dean candidates appear to have varying degrees of fund-raising experience. Vanderbilt University law professor James F. Blumstein listed grants he’s received in his curriculum vitae. The eight grants total more than $1.5 million, and most were for investigating health care-related legal issues. Also, during an interview he said he had secured $1 million from Vanderbilt’s central administration in 1972 to start the Vanderbilt Institute for Public Policy Studies, which exists today. Candidate and UGA law professor Thomas J. Schoenbaum, speaking from Verona, Italy, where he is teaching a UGA study abroad program, said his fund-raising experience was primarily in three categories. During his time as executive director of the Dean Rusk Center for International and Comparative Law, Schoenbaum said, he raised close to $1 million for research and fellowships from foundations, including the Rockefeller Foundation. Working with UGA’s law school deans during the 1980s and 1990s, he also helped to raise about $10 million to build Rusk Hall. And while an associate dean at Tulane University’s law school, Schoenbaum said, he raised a $50,000 challenge grant to create the Tulane Maritime Law Center, which still exists. Thomas B. Metzloff, the candidate from Duke’s law school, said during his speech to students and faculty that he thought he’d raised the most money in grants at Duke. However, he did not list dollar figures and did not return a call seeking details. Neither candidates Polly J. Price nor Thomas A. Arthur, both Emory law professors, mentioned any fund-raising experience in their speeches to students and faculty. Price was out of town and could not be reached for comment; Arthur did not return a call asking if he had fund-raising experience. FAR TO GO … AND HOW TO GET THERE Despite the growth of its endowment, Emory’s law school has far to go before it catches up to the endowments at some of its peer schools — notably, Washington University and Notre Dame University. According to Ron Gray, director of development at Washington University, a big factor propelling his school’s $109.5 million endowment is the school’s dean, Joel Seligman. Seligman has the distinction of having raised the largest-ever single gift to a law school: $100 million, when he was law dean at the University of Arizona. “When I arrived at Arizona, it had one of the smallest endowments in the country,” Seligman said. “I had no background in fund raising before I started. The key was … ‘Where are we going?’ “ One place Seligman goes is out to lunch. And dinner. And breakfast. He estimates he attends 100 to 150 meals per year with donors and potential donors. Then there are the 20 or 30 larger meetings with donors each year, scheduled events like reunion weekend and many, many phone calls. At each of those contacts, he said, he tries to give donors an exciting short- and long-range view of where the law school is going. He also tells potential donors practical ways their money will be spent — for example, increasing the number of faculty, supporting endowed chairs and paying for guaranteed clinical programs for second- and third-year students. Development director Gray said Seligman also is a top securities lawyer and has been quoted repeatedly in the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times on issues related to Enron. “Our alumni are delighted to have someone that’s a figure on the national scene,” Gray said. At Notre Dame’s law school, Director of Law School Advancement Glenn Rosswurm chalks up his school’s $120.1 million endowment to the school’s dean, and in large part to loyal alumni and university-level support. About 20 percent of all Notre Dame law alums are “double domers” — people who got both their undergraduate and law degrees at Notre Dame, according to Rosswurm. He said even undergraduate alums who got their J.D.s elsewhere are so loyal that they’ll donate to its law school instead of or in addition to their own. The school’s Catholic affiliation is a big component of building that loyalty, as are classes specifically designed to explore moral and spiritual aspects of the law. “Even in your sort of typical first-year classes-contracts, torts … it is remarkable to me how the professors are able to work in the moral and ethical aspects. It’s not just black-letter law,” said Rosswurm, who graduated from Notre Dame’s law school in 1991. The development office there, however, is only 2 years old. The university previously handled all fund raising, Rosswurm said. The university still is very, very supportive, according to Rosswurm. The law school was part of a university-wide fund-raising campaign called “Generations” that raised more than $1 billion — some of which went to the law school. Also, he said, the university has committed to helping the law school construct a building that will double its space. HOMEGROWN SUPPORT University support — or lack of it — has been a frequent topic of discussion among Emory law school professors and administrators, as well as some of the law school dean candidates. One candidate, Vanderbilt professor Blumstein, even admonished the school to get over feeling slighted and to work toward a reciprocal relationship with the central administration, saying, “This cannot be a law school that feels screwed by the university and continues to go on feeling screwed by the university.” But, according to former law dean Hunter, university support is very generous. It comprises about 20 percent of the law school’s $20 million annual operating budget, he said. During his time as dean, he said, university administrators “were very supportive of what we did in the law school, and increased their support for the operating budget dramatically.” Still, he acknowledged that the school’s endowment should be much larger — about $100 million — adding, “We still have a long way to go.”

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