Yale Law dean says new curriculum needed for next batch of leaders

Old Campus at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, November 28, 2012. REUTERS/Michelle McLoughlin/File Photo
  • Dean Heather Gerken says school is adapting to better prepare students to lead
  • Initiatives funded by Alibaba co-founder, Blackstone and Promontory execs

Nov 3 - Backed by a graduate who helped found a top Chinese multinational, Yale Law School is "broadening and modernizing" its curriculum, its dean said Wednesday.

The school's new Joseph C. Tsai Leadership Program is funded by a donation from Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. co-founder and executive vice chairman Joseph Tsai. A gift from Blackstone Inc chief financial officer Michael Chae establishes an offshoot private sector leadership program, and another gift from Promontory Financial Group founder and chairman Eugene Ludwig funds a public sector leadership track.

All three donors are Yale Law School alumni. The school would not disclose the amounts of the gifts. A representative for Ludwig declined to say how much his family donated, while representatives for the other donors' companies did not immediately respond Wednesday.

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Tsai previously donated $30 million to Yale Law in 2016 to support its China Law Center.

Yale Law will use the latest round of funds to add courses on accounting, statistics, corporate finance, big data, globalization, and “emerging issues related to technological change,” the school said.

Alumni will also be available through the program to mentor students — a feature Yale Law Dean Heather Gerken said is key as the school admits more first-generation college students and diverse students who may lack preexisting networks.

Gerken said the fundamentals of legal education won't change for students in the law school. "What will be different is that there will be a much wider range of options. We’re trying to dream into existence a curriculum for the next 100 years," she said.

(NOTE: This story has been updated to reflect Eugene Ludwig's title as Chairman of Promontory Financial Group.)

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Karen Sloan reports on law firms, law schools, and the business of law. Reach her at karen.sloan@thomsonreuters.com