Penn Law Receives $50 Million for Public Interest Lawyering

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The University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School announced in late September a $50 million donation from the Robert and Jane Toll Foundation to dramatically expand the Toll Public Interest Scholars and Fellows Program, which is designed to boost programming for students pursuing public interest legal careers.

The gift—the largest devoted entirely to the training and support of public interest lawyers, and among the 10 largest ever given to a US law school—will double the number of public interest graduates in the coming decade through scholarships beginning in the 2021–22 academic year.

“The timing could not be more important, as our country acknowledges how inadequately our criminal justice system and other institutions have responded to the country’s long history of racism and inequality,” Penn President Amy Gutmann said in a statement. “The Tolls’ visionary philanthropy firmly place Penn Carey Law in a preeminent position to support a new generation of leaders to do the substantial work required for serious reform.”

Founded by Robert Toll L’66 and Jane Toll GEd’66, the Robert and Jane Toll Foundation focuses primarily on supporting projects that are dedicated to education and promoting racial and financial equality. Robert Toll, the cofounder of the American luxury home construction company Toll Brothers, and his wife, Jane, made a $3 million donation to Penn Law in 2018 to create and launch the Toll Public Service Corps, which includes Toll Scholars and Fellows, while also establishing Alumni Impact Awards and funding additional financial and career support for alumni. Additionally, in 2006, the Tolls gave $10 million to Penn Law’s public interest program, which was consequently renamed the Toll Public Interest Center.

“Our goal is to greatly increase the number of students entering careers in public interest,” said Robert Toll, who has been a member of Penn Law’s board of overseers since 1992 and is a former Penn trustee. “It’s my hope that this opportunity leads to even more tangible, positive change from future Law School graduates.”

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