A number of Kirkland & Ellis partners have reached into their own pockets to give $5 million to Northwestern University Law School—among the largest single donation the school has ever received. 

The money, which will be disbursed over five years, will create the Kirkland & Ellis Scholarship Fund for students in the school’s J.D./MBA program. More than half of the gift is unrestricted, meaning administrators may spend it on programs of their choosing.

“This is of great significance because it will give us the flexibility to pursue initiatives that benefit our students, enhance our competitive position and set aside funds for the long-term interests of the Law School,” dean Daniel Rodriguez said in announcing the donation.

The gift is from the Kirkland & Ellis Foundation plus 31 senior Kirkland partners who are Northwestern alumni.

Rodriguez said that the Kirkland donation and other gifts would help the law school limit tuition increases and debt loads, and allow flexibility regarding class size.

The Kirkland gift was spearheaded by Jeffrey Hammes, chairman of the firm’s global management executive committee and a member of Northwestern’s law school fund board. He graduated from the school in 1985.

“We are grateful for the strong relationship we have built with Northwestern and the many talented Northwestern alumni that have contributed to the success of our Firm,” Hammes said. “This latest gift reflects our continued support of Northwestern Law, its current dean, Dan Rodriguez, its faculty, staff and outstanding students, some of whom will be designated Kirkland & Ellis Scholars.”

Contact Karen Sloan at ksloan@alm.com.