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Alumni fund center to prepare students for careers in transactional law

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

LAWRENCE – The Polsinelli law firm and its University of Kansas alumni attorneys have committed $250,000 to create the Polsinelli Transactional Law Center at the KU School of Law.

The Polsinelli Transactional Law Center capitalizes on its namesake’s distinguished reputation to cultivate a new generation of lawyers with the practical skills necessary for successful careers. The center will serve as the umbrella for transactional law courses, symposia and programming related to mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, stock offerings, financing, real estate and other business transactions.

“KU students work extremely hard learning the foundations of law, then getting the hands-on experience necessary to begin their careers ready for practice. It is important that graduates enter the workforce with the ability to understand clients’ business challenges and context,” said 1972 KU Law graduate Thomas Kokoruda, a shareholder in Polsinelli’s health care litigation practice group. “The new Polsinelli Transactional Law Center will help KU Law students become business-minded and go beyond technical lawyering.”

The center was established with $250,000 in gifts and pledges from 67 KU Law alumni and friends employed by Polsinelli – representing a 100 percent alumni participation rate.  

Stephen Mazza, dean and professor of law, expressed gratitude for the gifts.

“This generous support from Polsinelli allows us to expand practical opportunities for KU Law students, maximizing their ability to hit the ground running right out of law school,” he said. “These gifts help us build on our exceptional Far Above fundraising success, and they create a program that will benefit law students immediately and for generations to come.” 

Over the past 30 years, Polsinelli has funded KU Law moot court teams, diversity scholarships and classroom remodeling. And the firm’s commitment extends beyond financial support. As part of the Polsinelli Transactional Law Center, firm attorneys helped teach an intensive simulation course on Due Diligence in Business Transactions this spring, and the firm will sponsor and help prepare KU teams for the National Transactional LawMeet.

“The center bridges legal knowledge with the actual practice of law,” said Lisa Schultes, a 1985 KU Law alumna and a Polsinelli corporate and transactional law attorney who coordinated the center's inaugural course. “The KU Law students were excited to be involved in an actual business acquisition and to learn the real-world steps necessary to successfully close a transaction. The Polsinelli attorneys enjoyed the opportunity to share their expertise and to give back to the law school. We were impressed with the students’ legal skills, business acumen and enthusiasm.”

“Polsinelli is invested in the quality of the KU law school,” said Jack Kilroy, a firm shareholder and 1973 KU Law graduate. “We are proud to employ more than 65 KU Law grads, and we interview on campus planning to hire more.”

Law professors Webb Hecker and Virginia Harper Ho will serve as co-directors of the center. “Having spent a career teaching doctrinal business law, I am excited to participate in an endeavor that will enable KU students to integrate that law with practice,” Hecker said. “The Polsinelli Transactional Law Center will benefit aspiring transactional lawyers in multiple significant ways not previously possible.”

That outcome aligns with Polsinelli’s commitment to education.

“A steadfast partner to the academic community, Polsinelli has invested in universities across the country by providing sponsorships, in-kind and pro bono services. To sponsor the Transactional Law Center was a natural fit for us,” said Edward “Trip” Frizell , Polsinelli Business Services division chair, who earned his bachelor’s, master’s and juris doctor from KU.

Polsinelli was established in 1972 in Kansas City, Missouri. Today the firm employs more than 800 attorneys in 20 offices, serving corporations, institutions and entrepreneurs nationally. Polsinelli attorneys provide practical legal counsel infused with business insight, and focus on health care, financial services, real estate, intellectual property, mid-market corporate and business litigation. Polsinelli attorneys have depth of experience in 100 service areas and 70 industries.

The firm’s gifts were managed by KU Endowment, the independent, nonprofit organization serving as the official fundraising and fund-management organization for KU. Founded in 1891, KU Endowment was the first foundation of its kind at a U.S. public university.


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