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Penn Law capital campaign raises $180 million, surpasses fundraising goal

September 24, 2012

In a time of significant change for the legal academy and the profession, the University of Pennsylvania Law School has completed a record-breaking capital campaign, raising $180 million. The successful fundraising effort has enabled Penn Law proactively to transform its academic program and the way in which it prepares students for success in a rapidly evolving legal landscape.

“Bold Ambitions: The Campaign for Penn Law,” which surpassed its fundraising goal of $175 million, has served to transform the Law School’s physical and intellectual environment, increasing student financial aid by more than 100 percent, expanding the faculty by nearly 40 percent, increasing to 35 the number of joint degree and certificate programs the Law School offers, and adding 40,000 square feet to an entirely rebuilt Penn Law campus.

“The campaign has ushered in an era of momentous change at Penn Law driven by the need to innovate in an increasingly complex legal environment and to best train the next generation of lawyers,” said Michael A. Fitts, Dean of the Law School. “With these resources, the Law School is able to provide the finest cross-disciplinary, global legal education available anywhere in the country, now and for years to come.”

“The success of the Bold Ambitions campaign is an extraordinary achievement,” said Dr. Amy Gutmann, President of the University of Pennsylvania, “which is allowing Penn Law to expand the possibilities of what legal education can do to better our society and world.”

“Bold Ambitions was a great collective effort,” said Paul Levy L’72, who chaired the campaign. “We are enormously grateful to our alumni whose extraordinary generosity enabled us to surpass our goal, even in the face of an uncertain economy.”

“Thanks to our alumni and donors, we have assured a brilliant future for Penn Law,” said Paul Haaga Jr. L’74 WG ’74, chair of the Law School’s Board of Overseers. “For years to come, the Law School’s unsurpassed cross-disciplinary program will continue to attract the best and the brightest.”

The impetus for the campaign, which was publicly announced in 2006, dates back to the beginning of Fitts’ tenure as Dean in 2000 and his vision for a revamped legal education. Fitts believed that new generations of lawyers would require not only classical training in legal reasoning but in substantive emerging areas where students might practice.

“Lawyers now play critical roles in analyzing and addressing every fundamental issue in our society, and legal education must equip them with the ability to integrate knowledge of the law with perspectives from many other fields, from business and economics, to technology, to bioethics,” Fitts said.

Expanding the school’s classical legal training required adding substantial resources, first directed at growing the faculty in areas such as intellectual property and health law, and enhancing its cross-disciplinary strength.

During Fitts’ tenure as Dean, the Law School has brought more than 25 renowned scholars and promising young intellectuals to Penn Law, including appointments in corporate law and finance, intellectual property, international law, and science and technology. More than 60 percent of the faculty now hold advanced degrees in addition to the JD, and nearly half hold joint appointments within the University, supporting the Law School’s cross-disciplinary approach to legal education.

With support from the campaign, the Law School created 17 named professorships. Faculty growth has permitted the Law School to double the number of seminars and courses offered in the second and third years. The campaign has also made possible the creation and expansion of cross-disciplinary academic programs that are unrivaled among leading law schools. Meanwhile, Penn Law has maintained is relatively small class size, with approximately 240-260 JD students in each entering class.

 In partnership with graduate and professional schools across the University, Penn Law now offers 35 joint degrees and certificates. These include a three-year JD/MBA degree initiated with the Wharton School in 2008. The percentage of students graduating with joint degrees has doubled, and nearly 40 percent of the JD class graduate with certificates.

Similarly, the Bold Ambitions campaign has underwritten the creation of new interdisciplinary courses and clinical programs within the law curriculum, as well as the establishment of new academic institutes. This fall, for example, the Law School opened the Detkin Intellectual Property and Technology Legal Clinic, which will collaborate with Penn’s schools of Medicine and Engineering as well as Wharton. Other faculty-led institutes  include: the Center for Tax Law and Policy,  the Penn Program on Regulation,  the Center for Technology, Innovation & Competition,  the Center for Ethics & the Rule of Law, the Criminal Law Research Group, the Institute for Law & Economics, the Institute for Law & Philosophy, the Legal History Consortium, and the Penn Program on Documentaries & the Law.

In the area of international law, the campaign is positioning Penn Law as a leader in global legal education.  Significant growth in international programming in recent years has included creation of the Bok Visiting International Professors program, Global Research Seminar, International Human Rights Fellowship program, ACE Rule of Law Fellowship program, Global Forum, and the presentation of major conferences on pressing topics in international law.

With the support of Robert Toll L’66 and Jane Toll GSE’66, the Law School has also deepened its commitment to public interest legal service. The campaign has provided increased funding for students working in public interest and government positions – including guaranteed summer funding for students engaged in public interest work, expansion of the Toll Public Interest Scholars and Public Interest Fellows programs and the Toll Repayment Assistance Program, which offers substantial loan repayment for students pursuing public interest careers.

Correspondingly, the Bold Ambitions campaign has facilitated a significant increase in student scholarship support. An additional 71 named scholarship funds and unrestricted annual gifts has more than doubled the amount of financial assistance available annually for Penn Law students, from approximately $3.2 million prior to the campaign to $6.6 million today. The Levy Scholars program, for instance, provides scholarships to exceptional students pursuing specialized cross-disciplinary legal training.

To support the Law School’s significant growth in programming and in faculty, the Bold Ambitions campaign has funded a physical transformation of the Law School campus, which was completed in April with the opening of Golkin Hall, named in honor of Perry Golkin, W’74, WG’74, L’78 and Donna Golkin, WG’77 . The $33.5 million, 40,000 square-foot addition, which includes a state-of-the art courtroom, 350-seat auditorium as well as classrooms and administrative offices – was undertaken without borrowing for construction and followed a multi-year, $50 million top-to-bottom renovation of Penn Law’s other three interconnected buildings.