McGeorge Law says trial lawyer's $25 mln gift will expand access

The top of the cap of a graduating student is pictured during their graduation ceremony at UC San Diego in San Diego
REUTERS/Mike Blake
  • Las Vegas trial lawyer and alumnus Eglet giving $25 million
  • The funds will create scholarships for underrepresented students

(Reuters) - The University of Pacific McGeorge School of Law on Tuesday announced a $30 million influx of cash, thanks to a deep-pocketed donor and university funds, with most of the money earmarked for student scholarships.

Alumnus and prominent trial lawyer Robert Eglet, along with his wife and law partner Tracy Eglet, are providing the bulk of the new funding with a $25 million donation to the school. It’s the largest single gift in the history of McGeorge Law and the third largest to any California law school on record, according to McGeorge officials. (Chapman University Dale E. Fowler School of Law received $55 million in 2013, while Pepperdine University Caruso School of Law received a $50 million gift in 2019. Both schools were renamed for those donors.)

Eglet, who graduated from McGeorge in 1988, heads the trial team at Las Vegas firm Eglet Adams and has served as lead trial counsel in more than 130 civil jury trials. He has secured more than $1.5 billion in verdicts and settlements in the past 10 years, including an $800 million settlement on behalf of victims of the 2017 Las Vegas mass shooting. Tracy Eglet represents plaintiffs in product defense and negligence cases.

The Sacramento law school won’t be changing its name for the Eglets—it’s already named for former professor Verne Adrian McGeorge, who helped establish it in the 1920s.

But McGeorge is renaming its advocacy center the Eglet Center for Advocacy and Dispute Resolution, as $5 million of the new donation will go toward bolstering its activities. Those funds will be used to endow three faculty chairs at the center and cover competition fees and travel costs for McGeorge students competing in mock trial, moot court and negotiations.

“Trial law is my passion, and I want to do something that will enhance McGeorge's mock trial program,” Robert Eglet said in a statement announcing the gift.

The largest portion of the Eglet’s donation—$20 million—will be put toward scholarships for first-generation college students and students of color.

“The new need-based scholarships will help us address a systemic barrier to diversifying the law school and the profession, and the advocacy center fund will help cement the institution as a leader in trial advocacy, moot court, and legal education,” McGeorge Law Dean Michael Hunter Schwartz said in a statement.

The University of Pacific’s Powell initiative is contributing $5 million in matching funds to bring the total law school donation to $30 million.

October has proven to be a generous month for law schools. Last week, Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law announced a $13 million donation, while Vanderbilt Law School unveiled a $10 million gift.

Read more:

Villanova Law's biggest donor ponies up another $13 million

Vanderbilt Law bags $10 million gift from alumnus

Reporting by Karen Sloan

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Karen Sloan reports on law firms, law schools, and the business of law. Reach her at