Legendary Trial Lawyer Thomas R. Kline Speaks at Drexel Law School Commencement

Thomas R. Kline School of Law at Commencement

Drexel University’s Thomas R. Kline School of Law celebrated the class of 2015 at its seventh commencement ceremony that took place at the Kimmel Center for Performing Arts (300 S. Broad Street) on Thursday, May 21 from 2 to 5 p.m.

The 129 members of the Class of 2015 walked at the first commencement since legendary trial lawyer Thomas R. Kline provided a $50 million gift to support the law school. Kline, a lifetime advocate for civil justice, spoke at the ceremony. His landmark gift to the law school earlier this year was the largest single gift in the University’s history.

A founding partner of Kline & Specter, which was described by The Philadelphia Inquirer as "one of the country's leading personal injury law firms," Kline is one of America's most respected and influential lawyers. His many groundbreaking cases have helped shape the law and have resulted in corporate, institutional and governmental change and justice for his clients.

Prominent Philadelphia attorney Leslie Anne Miller received an honorary degree. Currently a solo practitioner, Miller spent 25 years as an active litigator before being selected by Gov. Edward G. Rendell to serve as his first General Counsel.

Prominent jurists and lawyers who have been partners in educating the graduates and in establishing the law school joined in the celebration, as did Drexel President John A. Fry and Kline School of Law Dean Roger Dennis.

The Class of 2015 includes students who have filed motions before the U.S. Court of Appeals and who defeated rivals from prominent law schools in regional mock trial, moot court and negotiating competitions. Members of the trial team were champions in regional competitions, while members of the Moot Court Board were semi-finalists in the regional rounds of an international moot court contest.   

These students have gained more than 58,000 hours of professional practice experience through cooperative education, clinic placements and pro bono service. More than 17,000 of those hours were provided through pro bono service, in which students provided unpaid legal services to under-represented members of the community.

As part of his $50 million gift this year, Kline established the Thomas R. Kline Institute of Trial Advocacy. The institute, to be located in the historic Beneficial Savings Fund Society Building at 12th and Chestnut streets, will house state-of-the-art facilities for students to build and hone their advocacy skills.