Build Your Legacy

​Giving to USD School of Law

Dean Ferrulo

Last year at this time, we still had $7 million to raise to meet our goal of raising $31.5 million in the Leading Change Comprehensive Campaign.  I am pleased to report that, in June, we reached our goal and completed the largest campaign in the law school‘s history.  That truly was a great achievement, of which we can all be very proud. I was heartened by how many of our alumni responded to our appeals for support throughout the campaign and the high level of participation we achieved. Thank you!

Looking back on the campaign, I can point to many generous gifts that have made a real difference to our law school, including those from George Strong ’74 (JD) and his wife Annsley, which has enabled us to add the Experiential Advocacy Practicum to the first year; from Jack McGrory ’81 (JD) and Kevin Ruddy ’73 (BA), ’77 (JD) which have enabled us expand the outreach to military veterans by our Veterans Legal Clinic; and from numerous donors, led by Paul Petersen and Bob Fellmeth, that have funded the Petersen-Fellmeth Professor in Residence in Child Rights, just to name a few notable gifts.  Given the emphasis we placed on increasing funding for scholarships because of their increasing importance in recruiting and retaining highly qualified and diverse students, I am especially pleased to report that we more than tripled the number of endowed and privately funded awards available to benefit students.  When the campaign started, we had 34 named scholarships; we set an ambitious campaign goal of increasing that number to 80; by the time that the campaign closed out on June 30, our privately funded student scholarships totaled 118.  What an incredible achievement and an investment in the future of our law school that will bring value to our students for generations to come.

As successful as the Leading Change Campaign was, and as generous as you have been, our work is not over.  The excellent and innovative legal training that students seek, employers require, and our alumni expect us to provide at USD is expensive.  To remain competitive with the best law schools and retain our reputation for providing the highest quality legal education, we will need to continue expand our alumni donor base and build our endowment.

During the campaign, I was heartened by the commitments many of you made to support causes, activities, programs or initiatives that are meaningful to you personally and also beneficial to the law school and our students.  I urge you to consider renewing or extending that support, so you can continue to experience the impact of your gifts. 

At the same time, I am frequently asked what my highest funding priorities are.  As Dean, I have learned that my responsibility in answering that question is not to identify the greatest needs of the law school but to let you know where your gifts can have the greatest impact.   Nevertheless, choosing a few priorities each year among the many important and impactful things we do at the law school, in and outside of the classroom, is always difficult.     

With that said, let me highlight a few of my highest priorities and where I see the greatest opportunities for your gifts to have an impact in 2018-2019.

  • Foundations of Practice. Although we have seen an improvement in our placements, the legal job market remains challenging and many of our students, even some of the best, do not have full-time, long-terms jobs lined up at the time they graduate.  In particular, those seeking public sector jobs at both the local and state level often are being asked to work as unpaid interns or clerks for several months, and sometimes a year or longer, in order to be considered for a permanent position.  Part of our Graduate Jobs Initiative, Foundations of Practice provides fellowships to these graduates to enable them to pursue these opportunities for long-term employment in their chosen fields rather than having to take contract or short-term positions to cover living costs.  Several of our competitors have raised considerable funds to support these programs and have improved their placement results by funding these positions.  Because I believe that USD graduates deserve to have the same opportunities, I have made this my top funding priority.
  • Our Policy Centers:  CPIL, CAI and EPIC. As reported in the media and confirmed by the essays we received, the resurgence of law school applications is being driven by a generation of students who see law as an instrument of social change and are committed to public service.  Many of them tell us they chose to come to USD because of our course offerings in such areas as immigration, human rights and environmental law, and the advocacy opportunities provided by our policy centers, especially the Center of Public Interest Law (CPIL), Child Advocacy Institute (CAI) and Energy Policy Initiatives Center (EPIC).  Additional funding for these centers will enable us to meet the demand for new courses, advocacy and experiential opportunities.
  • Legal Clinics. Our 13 legal clinics provide much needed pro bono legal services to low income individuals and families, to veterans and student entrepreneurs, while giving our students valuable hands-on legal experience representing clients.  Each clinic is supervised by one or more highly talented and dedicated attorneys, along with a support staff.  Donor support is critical to sustaining the great work done by them and our students.
  • Friedman Institute for Securities and Corporate Law (FISCL). Hugh Friedman was one of the law school’s first faculty members and he taught business law at USD for 55 years until his death in 2013. A pillar of the San Diego legal community, Hugh was an acknowledged expert on corporations and corporate governance.  With initial funding from the Honorable Lynn Schenk, ’70 (JD) and Casey Gerry Schenk, Francavilla Blatt & Penfield, and under the leadership of Patrick Daniels ’97 (JD) and Adam Bass, ’88 (BA), ’91 (JD), an initiative is underway to rename the Center for Corporate Securities in honor of Professor Freidman.  I can think of no greater tribute to Hugh’s enduring legacy at USD than to have an Institute bearing his name addressing important policy issues in corporate and securities law.  I ask you to join us in supporting this initiative.  

Beyond these funding priorities, as tuition and living costs continue to rise, increasing scholarships continues to be critical to keeping legal education accessible and affordable and reducing student debt.  If you have funded or endowed a scholarship, I ask you to consider making a commitment to continue funding the scholarship or build the endowment.   

Donors have funded scholarships for a wide variety of purposes, as well as to honor many different people.  For example, Mitsuru Nagata recently funded an endowed scholarship in memory of his daughter, Joyce Nagata Maguire ’82 (JD), and her love of the law and dedication to the legal profession.  Under the terms of this scholarship, recipients will embody hard work, discipline, compassion, and patriotism, values important to the Nagata family.   

Finally, let me make a special appeal for a new scholarship in tribute to our beloved alumna Sister Sally Furay ’72 (JD), ’78 (Honorary Degree).  Sister Sally completed her law degree while serving as Provost and Academic Vice President of USD, a position which she held for 25 years. Thanks both to her administrative support and personal commitment, serving as a legal clinic supervisor, USD became a pioneer in clinical legal education.  Sister Sally was also the principal force behind another major landmark in our history of curricular innovation, the offering of one of the nation’s first courses in Sex Discrimination and the Law, which she boldly approved in 1974 and then taught, along with the Honorable Lynn Schenk ’70 (JD) and Justice Judith McConnell, until 1992.  Sister Sally was a true trailblazer in every respect whose visionary leadership was critical in building the law school into a recognized national institution. My goal is to award the first law scholarship in Sister Sally’s honor in January 2020, the fifth anniversary of her death.  I hope you will join me in making this fitting tribute to Sister Sally possible!

With my sincere thanks and best wishes,

Dean and Professor of Law