Law schools are struggling against waning interest from prospective students, but deep-pocketed donors continue to open their wallets for new programs and financial aid.
Those gifts are in addition to a recent $10 million donation from financier David Rubenstein to the University of Chicago Law School for student scholarships and a $2 million donation from the Jerome Mirza Foundation to the University of Illinois College of Law to beef up its advocacy program.
The Nancy and Charles Wall Family Foundation has donated $1.57 million to the University of Missouri School of Law to establish the Wall Chair in Corporate Law and Governance, to which professor Thom Lambert has been named. Charles Wall graduated from the Columbia, Mo., law school in 1970 and went on to become general counsel of Altria Group Inc. (formerly Philip Morris International). He retired in 2010 and now serves on the board of the New York City Opera.
“We regularly compete with top private and public law schools for faculty members with outstanding credentials, valuable expertise and national reputations in their fields,” law dean Gary Myers said. “This gift helps us to level the playing field and attract and retain the best and brightest faculty at MU.”
A $1.3 million donation to the West Virginia University College of Law comes courtesy of a trust established by former Secretary of Defense Louis Arthur Johnson. The money will establish the Louis A. Johnson Scholarship Fund.
Johnson was born in 1891 co-founded the firm that would become Steptoe & Johnson (which has since split into two firms bearing the same name). He served during World War I and became secretary of defense under President Harry Truman. Johnson died in 1966, but had established the trust in 1960.
“His legacy will now live on in the future graduates of the WVU College of law and the important work they will do throughout their careers,” said attorney Robert M. Steptoe Jr.
A $1 million gift to Northwestern University School of Law by the Jay Pritzker Foundation will establish the Jay A. Pritzker Fellowship Program, which will provide $50,000 to recent graduates who pursue public-interest law careers. The program will last for three years and will target graduates who demonstrate financial need. The donation is intended to spur $25,000 matching gifts.
“Northwestern Law students are passionate about serving the public good,” said Foundation trustee Dan Pritzker, an alumnus of the class of 1986. “These fellowships can make a tangible difference in the lives of many, benefiting not only the graduates but the communities they are committed to serving.”
Finally, the University of Oregon School of Law got $850,000 from the Morris J. Galen Fund to bolster legal research and writing. The money expand the number of upper-level legal writing courses, and to name one professor each year as Galen Scholar. Recipients will research and support programs related to legal writing.
Oregon Law alumni established the fund in honor of Galen, class of 1950. Galen is a founding partner of Portland, Ore., firm Tonkon Torp.