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Yale Law School Works to Create Fund in Hillary Clinton’s Name
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Hillary Clinton

Summary: A former classmate of Hillary Clinton’s is working diligently to get a fund created in her name for those in public interest work.

Yale Law School can count numerous well-known politicians, celebrities, and prominent persons as their alumni. One of those alumni is the presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton ’73. Some of her former classmates are working with the law school to have a fund created in her honor.


Classmate Rosalind Fink ’72 is working with the development office to develop the Hillary Rodham Clinton Fund for the Public Interest. Fink explained to the Yale Daily News that the fund should allow for two recent Yale graduates in “public interest work” to obtain a year-long fellowship from the fund starting next fall, once the law school formally announces the creation of the fund.

The fund is still in an early stage of development but the ultimate goal is to raise enough money so that Yale Law can create additional legal clinics that will enable law students more opportunities for hands-on experience working with clients on matters like immigration.

Clinton has led a notable career that started out in the public interest sector. During law school, she worked at the Yale Child Study Center and was later an attorney for the Children’s Defense Fund. She then worked at the University of Arkansas School of Law where she was one of only two female faculty members. She was their first director of a legal aid clinic. Of course, since then Clinton went through two presidential campaigns and served as secretary of state and as a U.S. senator for New York.

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Fink said, “The idea was to connect her legacy to the Law School’s increasing model of public service due to clinics so we’re hoping that friends of the Law School and friends of the Clintons will contribute to the fund.”

The idea for the fund began a while ago but was delayed while the development office went through some staff changes. When Clinton and her former classmates visited in February, the idea gained traction. Former Law School Dean Harold Koh, who was Clinton’s legal advisor when she was secretary of state, explained to them that there were students applying for fellowships but there was no room to provide more funding for additional fellowships.

Fink told Yale Daily News that Clinton indicates she will give an unknown donation to the fund and will help make phone calls to solicit donations. There is a concern over whether Clinton’s controversial political career during the last few years could diminish the reputation of the fund. Clinton was highly criticized for her role as secretary of state and the handling of the Benghazi, Libya attack in 2012 that left the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans dead. She was also questioned heavily about her use of a private email server for official business as secretary of state since the attack and during the presidential campaign in 2016.

Despite this concern, current law students don’t see it as a big issue. Law student Paul Joo ’18 said, “It makes sense to separate out someone’s political stance from their prominence in the community. If we used any level of politicization as cause to not have funds like that in their name, we would be left with a pretty short list.”

Do you think those with controversial careers should be honored by major institutions? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

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