ST. PAUL, December 10, 2013 — The law firm of Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi L.L.P., along with two of its partners, have donated $1.125 million to William Mitchell College of Law. This is the largest gift from a law firm and its partners in the college’s 113-year history, and is given in honor of the firm’s 75th anniversary.
The gifts establish two endowed faculty positions and expand Mitchell’s scholarships for women. In addition to the firm’s gift, leadership gifts were made by the chair of its board, Martin Lueck, and by Kathleen Flynn Peterson, a partner at the firm. Lueck is a 1984 graduate of William Mitchell; Kathleen Flynn Peterson is a 1981 graduate. Both are or have been members of Mitchell’s Board of Trustees.
“The practical education that I received at Mitchell changed the course of my life and career,” said Lueck, who is one of the top business lawyers and litigators in the country. “This investment in the college by the firm and its partners truly underscores the value we place on legal education that doesn’t just teach students theory, but also how to be outstanding, compassionate, and practice-ready lawyers.”
The gifts create the Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi Distinguished Professorship in Intellectual Property, the Martin R. Lueck and Mallory K. Mullins Professorship in Advocacy; and expand Mitchell’s scholarships for women through the Kathleen Flynn Peterson Scholarship.
“William Mitchell and our students truly have benefitted from our strong partnership with Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi L.L.P. over many decades,” said Mitchell President and Dean Eric Janus, “and we are grateful for what the firm’s support has meant in advancing the quality and accessibility of our legal education. These gifts will help in addressing key needs in the legal market, and supporting core strengths of Mitchell. We are a leader nationally in intellectual property law and trial advocacy, and have a rich heritage for building ethnic and gender diversity in the legal profession.”
The Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi Distinguished Professorship in Intellectual Property is the first in the field at Mitchell and one of only a few dedicated to IP law in the nation.
The Martin R. Lueck and Mallory K. Mullins Professorship, created by Lueck and his wife Mallory Mullins, is the first endowed professorship at the college devoted to the field of advocacy. It has been awarded to Prof. John Sonsteng, who has taught Advanced Advocacy and other courses aimed at building trial skills at Mitchell since 1979. He also is faculty member and regional director of the National Institute for Trial Advocacy.
These donations bring the college’s total number of endowed faculty positions to 11, up from three in 2010. During that same period, Mitchell has raised more than $20 million for scholarships, faculty support and innovation as part of its “If Not for Mitchell” fund-raising campaign.
“Students need our help more than ever before,” said Kathleen Flynn Peterson, one of the top litigation lawyers in the U.S., and who with her husband Steven created the Kathleen Flynn Peterson Scholarship. “We hope our gift will not only help students achieve their goal of obtaining an excellent legal education, but also serve as an encouragement and recognition of their desire to become outstanding trial lawyers.”