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Drexel University of Law Receives $50 Million Gift
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Summary: Drexel University of Law has received a $50 million donation from celebrated lawyer Thomas R. Kline.



Drexel University has received its largest gift yet, the fourth largest donation ever given to a U.S. law school, after celebrated Philadelphia trial lawyer Thomas R. Kline pledged to give the school $50 million to bolster its ranking, giving as well a historical building to expand their campus.

“This is a major, major moment for the law school,” said Drexel president John A. Fry, as reported by “This gives us the opportunity to put this relatively new law school on a firm financial footing and, in particular, establish it as a force for the practice of Trial Advocacy.”

He was referring to the school’s unique experience-focused approach to teaching law. Specifically, the new building Kline donated, located at 12th and Chestnut, which is expected to be fully renovated by 2017, will be called the Thomas R. Kline Institute of Trial Advocacy, and will offer courtroom stimulation for the JD program.

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Kline made his decision to make this donation after discussions with the school’s dean, Roger Dennis, and also in consideration that his son attended the school. He serves as chairman of the law school’s board.

“It is our collective vision to create a law school with national stature,” Kline said. “The foundation is there. What we now have is an opportunity to not only build programmatic changes, but we also have a magnificent magnet that is a true gem of the City of Philadelphia.”

In honor of his contribution, Drexel University’s School of Law will be named the Thomas R. Kline School of Law.

The name comes with prestige, considering Kline has been a celebrated lawyer for 35 years, voted No. 1 lawyer in Pennsylvania for 11 consecutive years by the peer-reviewed Super Lawyers Survey, as reported. He has received many such honors, making the National Law Journal’s “Hall of Fame.”

Kline, and law firm he founded in 1995 with partner Shanin Specter, Kline & Specter P.C., is known for their success in representing catastrophic personal-injury cases. They’ve claimed winning awards and settlements greater than a total of $1.7 billion, with the further results that corporate and government changes in civil law have resulted from their influence.

Notably, he has recently represented a victim in the Pennsylvania State University sexual abuse cases.

“We aspire to swiftly establish our law school as a force, especially in the area of trial advocacy, and to gain recognition nationwide,” said Kline. “I am especially excited about the establishment of a new trial advocacy institute, unique in American law school education.”

President Fry said the money would fund scholarships, which are increasingly important with today’s lowering enrollments, as well as bolstering faculty, and of course expanding the schools’ trial-advocacy program.



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