In Honor of Unprecedented Gift, Drexel Law School to Be Named the Thomas R. Kline School of Law
September 17, 2014
Dear Member of the Drexel Community:
I am privileged to announce a landmark gift that will transform legal education at Drexel for generations to come: a $50 million commitment by Tom Kline, one of America’s most respected and influential trial lawyers and a champion of the elevation of trial advocacy training for law students. Tom’s vision and generosity will help our law school build the economic foundation needed to navigate today’s challenging legal education climate. To commemorate this, the largest single gift in Drexel’s history, our law school will be named the Thomas R. Kline School of Law.
Mr. Kline’s commitment to Drexel will carry great significance for lawyers across America. His important trial victories on behalf of catastrophically injured persons have contributed to the shaping of the law in the Commonwealth of 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.
Mr. 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.” Mr. 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.
Mr. Kline served four U.S. senators over two decades and chaired the Federal Judicial Nominating Commission for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania for more than a decade. He serves as both a Drexel University trustee and chair of the advisory board for Drexel’s law school.
Dedicated to both the short-term and long-term strength of the Kline School of Law, Mr. Kline’s gift includes the conveyance of the historic Beneficial Savings Fund Society Building at 12th and Chestnut streets to house the Thomas R. Kline Institute of Trial Advocacy of the Kline School of Law.
Drexel’s law students and faculty have built exceptional advocacy programs—including national successes in trial team competitions—utilizing, to date, modest resources. Once restored and renovated, this grand Horace Trumbauer-designed bank building located in the heart of Philadelphia’s legal community will house state-of-the-art facilities for students to build and hone their advocacy skills. The building will be transformational to the Market East corridor and serve as an anchor to the redeveloping neighborhood.
The Thomas R. Kline Institute of Trial Advocacy will dramatically change the entire range of the law school’s activities. It will advance courtroom simulation for the JD program and co-curricular programming and will enhance faculty interaction with students who undertake advocacy-based co-ops and clinical work. Additionally, it will support the development of post-graduate LLM and continuing legal education trial and appellate advocacy programs.
The gift will also serve the law school’s overarching mission to be a center of legal excellence in Pennsylvania, and a national leader in experience-based legal education, already a strength of the law school. I’m proud that our law school will be forever associated with Tom Kline.
This milestone reflects the outstanding and tireless work of the law faculty and professional staff, led by Founding Dean Roger Dennis, over the school’s eight-year history, and Mr. Kline’s association with the law school from its founding.
This is a great day for Drexel University, and I am extremely excited for the future of the Thomas R. Kline School of Law.
John A. Fry