TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Philadelphia Trial Lawyer Gives $50 Million to Drexel Law School; 4th Largest Gift to a U.S. Law School

Philadelphia Inquirer, Trial Lawyer Kline Gives $50M to Drexel Law School:

DrexelIn one of the largest gifts ever to a U.S. law school, Drexel University said Wednesday that Philadelphia trial lawyer Thomas R. Kline will give the eight-year-old institution $50 million to bolster its effort to reach the top ranks of legal education.

Drexel president John A. Fry said the money will be used to fund scholarships, add faculty and to expand the law school's trial advocacy program, which provides training for lawyers who plan to focus on courtroom practice.

Included in the gift is the former Beneficial Saving Fund Society building at 12th and Chestnut Streets, an imposing classical revival style structure that has been vacant since 2001 and that will house the law school's Institute for Trial Advocacy.

In recognition of the gift, the law school will be named the Thomas R. Kline School of Law. ...

Kline’s gift is the fourth-largest ever to a U.S. law school, Drexel said. The largest was a $130 million contribution to the University of Arizona law school in 1999 from broadcasting executive James Rogers; next is a $100 million gift from Domino’s Pizza founder Thomas S. Monaghan to the law school of Ave Maria University in Florida; in third place is a $55 million gift to the Chapman University law school from real estate developer Dale E. Fowler and his wife, Sarah Ann.

Legal Education | Permalink


And what good does this do for the world? One random law school becomes marginally better at the expense of other random law schools. No strong candidates will ever go to Drexel, even on a full scholarship. I couldn't think of more pointless philanthropic cause, especially with such a large amount of money.

Posted by: JM | Sep 18, 2014 7:59:48 AM

While not privy to this transaction, and without knowing Mr. Kline, my initial approach when seeing someone get a building/school named for them due to a donation is to rid myself of the thought that this was done for philanthropic reasons but more for ego.

Posted by: Daniel | Sep 18, 2014 9:14:07 AM

Wait wait wait - Ave Maria Law School got a $100 million gift and it is still faltering? Bottom of US News, 25th/50th/75th LSAT scores have fallen from 147/149/153 in 2010 to 141/146/148 last fall, class size down from 203 to 117 in the same timeframe, etc.

Wow - I guess there are some things money can't heal.

Posted by: Unemployed Northeastern | Sep 18, 2014 10:13:02 AM

Ave Maria Law is doing exactly what the 100 million intended it to do. It is turning out conservative Catholic attorneys.

Posted by: anon | Sep 19, 2014 7:11:05 AM

Some law deans would have been too nice-minded to allow themselves to be quoted praising the donor's law firm as the one you should consider calling if, "unfortunately, someone in your family faced catastrophic injuries." I also enjoyed Shanin Specter being quoted saying: "I don't think there are any lawyers in Philadelphia bringing claims that they know are not meritorious." I'd say Philadelphia is lucky indeed not to have that problem with any of its lawyers.

Posted by: Walter Olson | Sep 27, 2014 6:23:44 AM