Drexel Renames Law School After Thomas R. Kline

$50 million gift is one of largest ever given to a law school.

Thomas R. Kline, center. Photo: Courtesy of Drexel University.

Thomas R. Kline, center. Photo: Courtesy of Drexel University.

The Legal Intelligencer reports that Drexel’s Earle Mack School of Law is being renamed — the newly rechristened Thomas R. Kline School of Law is taking on the name of the Philadelphia litigator who just donated $50 million to the school.

It’s the largest gift ever given Drexel, and one of the largest ever given any law school.

Kline’s endowment will in large part go toward the creation of the law school’s Thomas R. Kline Institute of Trial Advocacy. Along with program changes to the school’s existing trial advocacy curriculum, the creation of the institute entails the renovation of the building that will house the institute—the Beneficial Saving Fund Society Building, which is owned by Kline, located at 12th and Chestnut streets. The building is valued at roughly $4.5 million to $5 million, which is factored into the donation’s total amount.

“It’s been a tough number of years” for legal education, (Drexel President) Fry said. “I think this gives us an opportunity to put this relatively new law school on firm financial footing … and establish it as a real force for the practice of trial advocacy.”

The law school, founded in 2006, was formerly known as the Earle Mack School of Law. However, Mack, a former U.S. ambassador, “graciously agreed” to remove his name from the school in an effort to help the university encourage funding from donors, according to Drexel’s administration.

Drexel offers a bio of Kline:

Kline has a distinguished career as a trial lawyer. He has spent more than 35 years representing catastrophically injured persons. He is founding partner, along with Shanin Specter, of the nationally recognized law firm of Kline & Specter. Kline’s many groundbreaking cases have contributed to the shaping of the law in Pennsylvania, and his many jury verdicts and settlements are well known for resulting in corporate, institutional and governmental changes through the civil justice system, in addition to compensation for his clients.

Kline has consistently been named one of the top lawyers in the state and nation by leading publications. He is recognized as the No. 1 lawyer in Pennsylvania for the past 11 consecutive years by the peer-reviewed Super Lawyers survey. He is a past president of the Inner Circle of Advocates, described by The Washington Post as “a select group of the nation’s 100 most celebrated trial lawyers.” Kline is named among the top 500 of all lawyers in America by Lawdragon, is listed in The National Law Journal‘s “Hall of Fame” and recently received a lifetime achievement award from The Legal Intelligencer.