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Penn Law receives $3 million gift to expand public interest programs, establish Public Service Corps

February 28, 2018

The University of Pennsylvania Law School has received a $3 million gift from Robert Toll L’66 and Jane Toll GSE’66 to create and launch the new Toll Public Service Corps, while expanding the Toll Public Interest Scholars program, and funding additional financial and career support for alumni through loan forgiveness.

The new Toll Public Service Corps will be a cadre of students who aspire to advance equity and justice as public interest lawyers. The Service Corps will include an expanded number of Toll Public Interest Scholars, JD students who upon admission to Penn Law receive full tuition scholarships; the gift will also fund new scholarships for second- and third-year students who plan to dedicate their careers to public service.  

“This generous gift from the Tolls further increases access for Penn Law students to pursue impactful public service careers,” said Ted Ruger, Dean of the Law School and Bernard G. Segal Professor of Law. “The Law School prides itself on its public service ethos, and this gift supports us in strengthening that commitment.”

The Tolls’ gift will also establish Alumni Impact Awards, which will recognize Penn Law graduates for their exceptional work in the public interest, and which will complement the existing Toll Loan Repayment and Assistance Program (TolLRAP) for alumni working in public interest and public service who are paying off student debt.

“With these new and expanded programs, even more Penn Law graduates will have the opportunity to serve and advocate on behalf of those with the most need,” said Robert Toll.

“Our students and alumni are making such a powerful impact on the lives of low-income clients and marginalized communities,” said Arlene Rivera Finkelstein, Associate Dean for Public Interest Programs and Executive Director of the Toll Public Interest Center. “Their advocacy as members of nonprofit organizations, in government service, and as pro bono volunteers is expanding the capacity of all to respond to the increased poverty and inequality we face locally, nationally, and globally. We are deeply grateful for the Tolls’ ongoing support for public service so that we can continue to expand our programs to train and support the next generation of public interest lawyers.”

Penn Law’s public interest program was founded in 1989 and was renamed the Toll Public Interest Center (TPIC) in 2006, in recognition of a $10 million gift from the Tolls, which significantly expanded TPIC’s activities. Since then, the continuing generosity of the Tolls has allowed for the growth and expansion of TPIC’s activities. TPIC is now a hub of wide-ranging service at Penn Law. TPIC oversees the Penn Law pro bono program, facilitating a wide array of pro bono and public service opportunities through which all law students engage in impactful service while honing critical legal skills.

As a result of this program, each graduating class dedicates approximately 30,000 hours of pro bono legal service. In addition to administering the pro bono program, TPIC is home to all of Penn Law’s public interest programming, including the Toll Public Interest Scholars program and the Penn Law Postgraduate Fellowship Program, which launches graduates into impactful careers in service.

Robert Toll is the Executive Chairman of the Board of Toll Brothers, Inc. and has been a member of the Law School’s Board of Overseers since 1992. He is a former member of the Penn Board of Trustees and currently serves on the board of directors of Cornell Real Estate School; Seeds of Peace, which he and his wife Jane cofounded; Beth Shalom Synagogue; and the Metropolitan Opera.