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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Marquette hits the jackpot . . . again

Coming on the heels of a $51 million gift last May, Marquette University Law School just announced another major gift:  $30 million from Joseph J. Zilber, Milwaukee philanthropist, real estate developer and Chairman of the Board of  Zilber Ltd., a real estate holding company.  (HT:  Empirical Legal Studies blog.)  Congrats to Dean Kearney and everyone else at Marquette.

So, an end-of-summer question:  If a generous donor dropped $30 million (all at once, let's assume) on your law school, how -- in your view -- should your school's (let's assume) responsible-yet-visionary administration use that money?

Posted by Rick Garnett on August 21, 2007 at 03:16 PM in Life of Law Schools | Permalink


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» Naming Opportunity from ProfessorBainbridge.com ®
Like museums, colleges, and the like, law schools routinely offer donors naming opportunities. Marquette, for example, recently announced a $30 million gift from Joseph J. Zilber, in gratitude for which a four-story atrium in the planned new Law School... [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 21, 2007 4:42:26 PM


The quintupling suggestion was tongue in cheek and intended to criticize (as many other have before me) the heavy weight that USNWR places on salary as opposed to other (e.g., scholarship) expenditures.

Posted by: Alafair Burke | Aug 22, 2007 2:10:48 PM

I would spend some on student scholarships and recruitment/outreach attempts. You could improve your rankings by "buying" good students and do good in the world by giving folks that might not otherwise have the opportunity to go to law school the chance to do so (assuming we think that improving opportunities to go to law school is a good thing for the world).

Posted by: Joseph Slater | Aug 22, 2007 9:55:09 AM

would a law school need to quintuple faculty salaries to increase its US News ranking significantly? seems there may be diminishing returns after an increase of a few thousand dollars per faculty member.

Posted by: anon | Aug 21, 2007 10:41:40 PM

Better fund their LRAP program, hire a full-time public interest/pro bono coordinator, and fund varied clinical programs.

Posted by: IT | Aug 21, 2007 8:49:53 PM

Even though Orin is probably kidding, blowing the 30 mil by temporarily quintupling faculty salaries wouldn't be wholly indefensible, at least for lower rated schools in a world where employers hire students, and students value their degrees, based on US News ratings. US News weighs salary expenditures heavily, and significant upswings in ratings can in theory be self-continuing if a self-funded increase then attracts students with higher LSATs and GPAs. And I imagine that a school that paid CEO salaries (OK, it's only 30 million, so baby CEO salaries) could improve its reputation by landing big fish from big ponds, at least for high-profile, short-term gigs in its small pond.

So let the raises begin!

Posted by: Alafair Burke | Aug 21, 2007 8:05:55 PM

For faculty salaries, of course.

Posted by: Orin Kerr | Aug 21, 2007 6:13:55 PM

The Board of Governors has a moral duty to allow the generous donor to run the school as a sole proprietorship. They should rubber stamp his use of the school as a tool to prop up his real estate projects. They should acquiesce in the firing of a tenured prof who resists and all personnel decisions at the school should be made on the basis of whether or not the individuals in question blindly follow the donor's orders. Finally, all of the school's promotional materials should highlight the donor's (airbrushed) biography.

Marquette is a Catholic school. They have a moral obligation to act in this way. I should know. I learned this from the dean of my uber-Catholic alma mater, Ave Maria School of Law. If Marquette wants to repent and become authentically Catholic again, these steps must be taken.

Posted by: Boko Fittleworth | Aug 21, 2007 4:37:27 PM

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