Gift, creation of Kline Center to boost judicial education

Duquesne University School of Law announced on July 25 that it would use a gift of $7.5 million from one its most famous alums to create the “Thomas R. Kline Center for Judicial Education.” The recently announced gift, the largest in the law school’s history, will enable Duquesne Law, in collaboration with the Administrative Office of The Pennsylvania Courts, to create the first-of-its-kind program in the nation aimed at making Pennsylvania’s continuing education of judges the best in the nation. The program is to be conducted under the auspices of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and will coordinate with deans and legal scholars at all of Pennsylvania’s law schools to institute an innovative, high-level curriculum of courses and seminars for the state’s more than 600 trial and appellate jurists. Kline, Class of ‘78, told a gathering of about 200 people at the law school that creating the program at his alma mater was a source of great pride to him. The Hazleton, Pa., native was a sixth grade teacher when he decided to attend law school. Today, Kline is one of the state’s most successful and acclaimed trial lawyers. “Tom had the great advantage of being disadvantaged,” said Shanin Specter, in a speech introducing his law partner. Kline said that, for him, establishing the Kline Center for Judicial Education was “the intersection of my pride in my alma mater, my commitment to legal education, my respect for the judicial process and the need for the highest standards for lawyers and judges.” He added: “We need an educated judiciary. We need fairness and balance.” Pennsylvania Supreme Court Chief Justice Thomas G. Saylor, who attended the event along with three other justices, predicted: “Pennsylvania will become a national model for the continued education of judges.”

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