Alum Shidler donates $1 million to UH School of Law

William S. Richardson Law School Dean Camille Nelson sits with alumnus and philanthropist Jay Shidler.

University of Hawaii at Mānoa former student and philanthropist businessman Jay H. Shidler donated $1 million in cash to launch the Dean’s Innovation Fund at William S. Richardson School of Law. The fund will uh dean of law school Camille Nelson to introduce into legal education the kind of innovative approach that drives business.

“Lawyers, business people, philanthropists, advocates and the community are all looking for hard times and opportunity right now,” Nelson said. “When we consider things that we never thought of 10 or 20 years ago – non-fungible tokens, cryptocurrency, artificial intelligence, big data, privacy, cybersecurity, healthcare, constitutional contention, etc. – we don’t “We don’t talk about it in law school and we always try to understand the legal role and impact. Whenever there are cutting-edge issues, lawyers need to be involved in resolving the issues. Although we did not see law schools as centers or laboratories of innovation, lawyers must be creative, increasingly enterprising and innovative to meet the challenges of the future.

“Clients of law firms are corporations and other types of organizations. These organizations are constantly innovating and changing, and lawyers need to keep up,” Shidler said. “Since law school is what gives rise to these, it is appropriate that they reflect the innovations that occur in the real world and that they can use some of them to improve efficiency and the effectiveness of their teaching delivery.”

Recognizing that the law affects nearly every aspect of life and that society continues to evolve, the Dean’s Innovation Fund will help determine how legal education can reflect and anticipate these changes with visionary leaders, professors and students who can meet them.

Celebrating its 50th anniversary next year and building on its achievements since its inception, the uh The law school is uniquely positioned to lead and participate in these important conversations and to develop leaders for the legal profession and beyond.

“We are thrilled with this gift,” Nelson said. “It allows us to initiate conversations and seed possibilities that, frankly, we didn’t have the resources to. This is a really catalytic and exciting opportunity for us. Mr. Shidler allowed us to think about where we should be more engaged and how we should be more present.

Under the direction of the dean, the new fund can be used to help the law school recruit potential students and faculty, including those who may come from non-traditional backgrounds or who may believe the door to a legal education is not theirs. is not open. Some of the conversations made possible by the donation will examine ongoing societal changes, issues of social justice and equity and help refocus the discussion on who we are as Americans, the disparities between us, the laws that govern us and who writes them as communities continue to confront these issues across the country.

Related: Shidler College of Business Receives $228 Million in Total Donations from Alumnus Jay H. Shidler, October 4, 2017

Shidler’s Gift to the uh the law school follows its historic gift of $117 million in cash and land leases in 2017 to the Shidler College of Commercewhich could bring in at least $7.2 billion over the term of the leases, and its history of philanthropic efforts with uh totaling $228 million since 2006. The gift to create the Dean’s Innovation Fund stems from his hopes for even greater relevance of the law school through Nelson’s vision and leadership.

“I just bet that we will get our money’s worth with this donation which will result in innovation that will have multiple financial and educational impacts. I trust him,” Shidler said.

This trust is reciprocated by Nelson. “Mr. Shidler has been incredibly generous, and I think a person of his caliber who takes the time to invest in law school sends a signal about the future,” Nelson said. “The notion of a The Dean’s Innovation Fund itself is innovative and underscores the reality that wherever there are future problems requiring solutions and collaboration, lawyers are also there.

Jon J. Epps