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Law School Receives $5 Million Gift from Kirkland & Ellis

Gift provides scholarships for future JD-MBA students, unrestricted support

CHICAGO --- Northwestern University School of Law has received a $5 million gift from the Kirkland & Ellis Foundation and 31 of the law firm’s senior partners who are alumni of the Law School. The gift, to be given over five years, is one of the largest single gifts in the Law School’s history.

In part it will establish the Kirkland & Ellis Scholarship Fund to provide scholarships for future students in the law school’s JD-MBA program, the largest and most integrated program of its kind.

A sizable majority of the gift is earmarked for unrestricted support of the Law School. 

“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,” said Daniel Rodriguez, dean and Harold Washington Professor at Northwestern University School of Law.

Given the challenges all law schools are facing in the current legal environment, Rodriguez said addressing myriad issues necessitates significant external funding at even higher levels than before. The Kirkland & Ellis gift, as well as others like it, will facilitate the Law School’s ability to meet and surmount these obstacles in the years ahead.

“This gift from Kirkland & Ellis will provide a meaningful boost in our efforts to address what is among my highest priorities as dean: easing the financial burdens faced by our law students and young alumni, burdens which can be alleviated by a combination of short-term and long-term measures, including limiting tuition increases, reducing student debt and looking closely at the size of our law school class,” Rodriguez said.

“These tough issues, along with employment challenges in this new legal economy, must be confronted with bold initiative and creative tactics. This major gift, and the generosity on the part of successful Northwestern Law alums which it reflects, is just the momentum we need as we continue our aggressive fundraising efforts.” 

The effort behind the donation was led by Jeffrey C. Hammes, a 1985 graduate of Northwestern Law and chairman of Kirkland & Ellis’ Global Management Executive Committee. He is also a member of the Northwestern Law Board.

“Our Firm and our individual partners have supported Northwestern Law School for many years,” said Hammes. “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. 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.”

Northwestern President Morton Schapiro said the University is committed to strengthening partnerships in the legal community.

“We are extremely proud of our relationship with Kirkland & Ellis and grateful for this generous gift,” said Schapiro. “It is a testament to Kirkland’s confidence in our students and to Dean Rodriguez’s leadership and vision. The gift, which includes the contributions of so many Northwestern alumni currently working at the firm, clearly illustrates the impact our University has had on their lives and careers.”

Kirkland & Ellis LLP is a 1,500-attorney law firm representing global clients in complex litigation and dispute resolution/arbitration, corporate, tax, restructuring, and intellectual property and technology matters. The Firm has offices in Chicago, Hong Kong, London, Los Angeles, Munich, New York, Palo Alto, San Francisco, Shanghai and Washington, D.C.