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Retired Professor Donates One Million to Emory Law
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The donation will be used to support a transactional law center at the law school.

Summary: Professor William J. Carney and his wife have provided $1 million to Emory Law.

Retired Emory Law Professor William J. Carney and his wife, Jane, have gifted $1 million to Emory Law School for its Center for Transactional Law and Practice, the Emory News Center reports.


With the donation, the center will be able to hire an assistant director, as well as strengthen its experiential programs and its offered courses. When Emory Law has matched the donation, the William and Jane Carney Chair of Transactional Law and Practice will be established, which will be filled by the executive director of the center.

The $1 million gift is one of the largest ever given by a professor to the school.

Carney said, “It’s a difficult legal market and students are graduating with significant debt. Graduates need practical knowledge, and the center gives young transactional lawyers a realistic understanding of what they need to do on day one.”

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Carney is the Charles Howard Candler Professor of Law Emeritus. He led the committee that created the center and also hired its first director. The center has grown significantly since it was founded in 2007. Over 200 second- and third-year law students are enrolled in the certificate program, led by executive director and professor Sue Payne.

In September, the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law received a $10 million donation.

The center encourages the connection of experiential and doctrinal learning. Thirteen professors are on the center’s faculty, and over 40 practitioners work in the center as adjunct professors. The certificate requirements include skills, doctrinal, and business courses that build on each other. As a final step before receiving the certificate, a capstone course or transactional law externship is completed. In addition, the center is known for its biennial conferences on the teaching of transactional law.

Last year, the SMU Dedman School of Law received an anonymous $4 million gift.

Emory Law Dean Robert Schapiro said, “Bill Carney is securing Emory’s position as the preeminent law school in teaching transactional law and practice, and as the leader in promoting effective transactional skills education. With this gift, we will be in a position to recruit the staff needed to enhance the quality and diversity of our transactional skills curriculum and to provide the resources to develop new ideas.”

The vice dean of the law school, Robert Ahdieh, said, “Carney has been among the leading professors teaching corporate and securities law for decades. But he has also always been committed to the idea that transactional lawyers need rigorous skills training.”

Colorado Law also received $10 million in a bequest.

According to Ahdieh, Carney’s experience as a transactional attorney assisted him as a professor. Carney is an interdisciplinary scholar who has studied the interconnections of economics and law.

After teaching for 36 years at the law school, Carney retired in 2012. He has published two casebooks, one on corporate finance, and another on mergers and acquisitions. He graduated from Yale Law School in 1962 and practiced in a private firm until he began teaching at the University of Wyoming in 1973. He has taught courses in foreign countries as well, such as Belgium, Russia, and Germany.

Carney was also a member of the board of directors of Pharmasset, Inc., a pharmaceutical company. Pharmasset, Inc. developed an oral treatment for hepatitis C, which 150 million people in the world suffer from. The company was acquired for around $11 billion by Gilead Sciences, Inc., in 2011. Sovaldi, Gilead’s drug, met approval from the Food and Drug Administration in December 2013.

Source: Emory News Center

Photo credit: Emory News Center


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