University of Pittsburgh

Pitt Law Alumni Give $1 Million Gift to Support Elder Law Clinic

Publish Date/Time: 
November 11, 2013

Two alumni of the Law School, motivated by gratitude for their academic experience and their belief in Dean Carter’s vision for the school, have made a $1 million gift to the school.  The gift, given in support of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law’s Elder Law Clinic, is from a husband and wife who are both Pitt Law graduates.  “We felt as though it was time for us to give back to the School that so profoundly changed our lives, both professionally and personally,” said the donors, who credit their Pitt Law School degrees with being a key factor in the career success they have experienced over the past 30 years in the Pittsburgh community, as well as their family success since they met in law school.

The couple went on to note that, in addition to being “exceedingly proud of and grateful to Pitt Law, ”they specifically wanted to make this gift now in order to be very supportive of Dean William M. Carter, Jr. and the leadership he is providing to move the Law School forward during this period of change in legal education.

In thanking the donors, Dean Carter noted that a gift of this magnitude represents a significant and tangible expression of commitment to advancing Pitt Law in a way that will benefit both the students in the Law School as well as serving many of the needs of elderly members of the Pittsburgh community.

"This gift will advance two of the primary goals that I identified for the Law School from the very beginning of my deanship: strengthening and increasing our range of experiential learning programs and furthering the Law School’s already-strong commitment to community service and access to justice,” said Dean Carter.  “In clinical legal education -- a field in which Pitt Law has been a leader for nearly two decades -- students learn by doing.  Law clinics provide hands-on training of law students in the competencies necessary to become successful legal professionals, while simultaneously providing direct legal service to underserved individuals. We are grateful for the support of dedicated alumni and I am deeply moved by their decision to fund these important initiatives.”

Pitt Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg expressed his thanks to the donors.  “This generous gift from two of our distinguished Law School graduates demonstrates their dedication to the University of Pittsburgh Law School and its long-standing commitment to offering opportunities to build better lives to our students and those they will serve throughout their careers,“ Chancellor Nordenberg said.

The Elder Law Clinic focuses on the needs of Allegheny County’s aging population and serves both elderly individuals and family members struggling to assist them.  The Clinic has represented elderly individuals contesting petitions seeking to declare them incapacitated and have also represented family members seeking the legal authority to make decisions on behalf of an incapacitated relative.   In all of these cases, Clinic students advise their clients about less restrictive alternatives to guardianship and limited guardianship and work with their clients to seek the best result for the older adult.  The Clinic also assists clients with settling small estates, advises individuals about the eligibility requirements for Medical Assistance coverage for nursing home care, and provides education to caregivers, social workers, physicians and aging services providers as to the legal standard for incapacity, the guardianship process and alternatives to guardianship.

A feature on the Elder Law Clinic as well as the announcement of this gift is featured in the Post-Gazette here.  

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