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Loyola Law School in Chicago to Rename Building After Big Donation by PI Lawyer (Corrected)

Posted Sep 14, 2009 12:35 PM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Corrected: Loyola University Chicago’s law school is changing the name of its downtown building to the Philip H. Corboy Law Center.

The school announced the name change today and the largest donation in the school’s history—made by Philip Corboy, the well-known Chicago personal injury lawyer, according to a press release.

A previous newspaper report said the entire law school would be renamed, but that is incorrect, according to the law school's communications director, Maeve Kiley. Citing the report, ABAJournal.com republished the incorrect information.

Law school Dean David Yellen told the Chicago Tribune there were no strings attached to Corboy’s gift, which tops a $5 million donation made in 2006. The exact amount was not disclosed. Corboy is also donating his papers to Loyola.

Corboy graduated first in his class from the law school in 1949, but he couldn’t find a job with any of the large law firms because he was "an Irish Catholic graduate of a local school," Yellen said. He formed his own law firm a few years after graduation.

One of the earlier law schools to change its name to honor a big donor is the University of Florida Fredric G. Levin College of Law. In 1999, the school took on Levin’s name after it received a large donation from the PI lawyer, raising hackles among some who criticized the change as crass, the Christian Science Monitor reported. The same year, Temple changed its law school’s name to the James E. Beasley School of Law after a big donation from the lawyer. Roger Williams University, on the other hand, removed the name of a big donor from its law school after he used the N-word during a board meeting.

Meanwhile the St. Thomas University law school in Miami is raising money from lawyers who are paying for naming rights from everything from walkways to classrooms.

Updated at 12:35 p.m. to correct previous report that the entire law school was being renamed.

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