Tuesday, September 24, 2013
According to dean Bruce Smith, the school will use some of the money to send graduates into yearlong fellowships at county public defender offices around the state. Said Smith: “In looking at this gift and thinking about where students could gain practical training while giving back to the state, we think public defenders’ offices are an area where both come together.” The school already sends recent graduates into fellowships at county prosecutor offices and at Illinois' Legal Services Corp.-funded organizations.
The law school plans to use the rest of the money to expand its advocacy programs, adding classes in negotiation, mediation, small-group dynamics and electronic discovery.
So who is (or was) this Jerome Mirza whose foundation is making the $2 million gift? The National Journal has this to say:
Jerome Mirza graduated from Illinois Law in 1963 and became a highly successful personal-injury attorney before his death in 2007. He served as the president of the Illinois State Bar Association and the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association. He remained active with his alma mater, hosting an advocacy program at the law school each year.
I congratulate the University of Illinois College of Law for receiving the gift, and the Mirza Foundation for making it. I wish more foundations and other nonprofits would make such worthwhile donations.