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"The American Ideal in Legal Education"

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by David L. Mulliken '75 and Edward "Ned" J. Kelly, III, '81

The Law School launched the current capital campaign with a bold ambition: to be the American ideal in legal education. For those close to the Law School, this is already an honest claim. The power of the student experience, the commitment to teaching excellence, the culture of civility and citizenship—all this makes Virginia unique in the legal academy and a treasure to the profession.

We have the privilege of serving as co-chairs of the Capital Campaign. We know the Law School is special, and we are confident you share that belief. The evidence is staggering. In 2009–10, our alumni giving rate surpassed 50% for the fifth year in a row. The number of alumni donors was 8,430, a new record. Attendance at reunions surged, bringing over a thousand friends and graduates back to the Law School. And 90% of the Class of 2010 pledged their support at graduation, putting them in the vanguard of future annual giving.

These are unrivaled measures of affinity that are reflected in the campaign. To date, two-thirds of our alumni have made a gift or pledge to the campaign, and we have raised $132 million toward our goal of $150 million (see chart). We want everyone to be counted before the campaign ends on June 30, 2012.

Financial aid is at the heart of this effort. Although Virginia is first in alumni loyalty, the number and size of our scholarship endowments lag our private peers and the price of tuition. The campaign is closing that gap. We have established new scholarships and expanded coverage for public interest law and loan forgiveness. Endowed and non-endowed gift s have made this possible, and will make the Law School more competitive going forward.

We have the advantage of belonging to an historic and great institution, but it takes resources to be the best. The Law School, good as it is, can improve. Its most important assets are people—faculty and students—and they are the reason for this campaign. Our focus is not bricks and mortar, but rather the study and instruction that make for skilled and moral lawyers.

Our aim when we finish the campaign is to be able to provide:

These gains will enhance the Law School, not change it. The Law School will still be true to the student experience—only better. It will remain a home for gifted teachers—only better. It will continue to be synonymous with leadership in American life—only better. When we finish the campaign, we will be Virginia, even better.

That is a proud wish for all of us. Thank you for keeping the Law School strong. We hope you will help us make it stronger in this campaign.


David L. Mulliken ’75 is co-chair of the Law School Capital Campaign. He was a senior partner with Latham & Watkins in San Diego and London.

Edward “Ned” J. Kelly, III, ’81 is co-chair of the Law School Capital Campaign. He is chairman of global banking for Citigroup.

Capital Campaign Progress