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Law school

In Trust

8:26 AM  Jun 29th, 2012
by Thomas M. Columbus

Michael Doman this summer is taking his first classes at the University of Dayton School of Law. He might not be there if not for a man dead for more than a third of a century.

“The program in law and technology,” Doman said, “is one of the main reasons I chose to attend UDSL.”

He points to the qualifications of the faculty and to an annual event — The Scholarly Symposia Series: Current Issues in Intellectual Property Law. “The program provides great opportunities to connect with alumni through the intellectual property symposiums. These events are not only great for networking but also provide an opportunity to hear perspectives from attorneys who are currently practicing.”

Jason Williams, who received a UD juris doctorate in 2010 and a master of laws in 2011, saw the same benefits of the symposium as did Doman. “A number of us in the IP track attended the symposia regularly,” he said. “It’s a great networking event. We go to meet attorneys in the area. We got to know them; they got to know us.”

It didn’t hurt that the people they met at the symposia were people they also met when interviewing for summer jobs. And, said Williams, now an associate in the intellectual property department of Dinsmore’s Dayton office, that networking “helped me in landing this job.”

Williams and Doman both see significance in hearing the perspectives of practicing attorneys. The topics are often current and of a kind not found in class. Bringing that perspective back to class, Williams noted, added depth to the classroom experience.

And the symposium’s treatment of current, cutting-edge subjects draws practitioners to campus, noted Kelly Henrici ’94, director of the program in law and technology.

The symposium is able to exist because of a man dead for more than a third of a century. That man, Hubert Estabrook, before he died in 1975, made a decision that continues to affect the profession that he served.

In 1920, Estabrook was one of the founders of the firm Estabrook, Finn & McKee, the predecessor by merger of the Dayton office of Porter Wright Morris & Arthur. At his death, he and his wife, Gladys, left their estate to be used to fund legal education in Ohio. The fund distributes its funds to Ohio’s nine law schools and other institutions that advance the study of law in the state.

According to R. Bruce Snyder, current trustee for the trust, the first trustee was John Henry, an adjunct professor at UD. Upon Henry’s death in 1989, Snyder succeeded him.

“From then until now,” Snyder said, “the trust has distributed about $150,000 a year to try to jump-start programs at the nine Ohio law schools, programs that were perhaps risky and might not be tried.”

On campus in May during Alumni Weekend to accept the Honorable Walter H. Rice Honorary Alumni Award, Snyder remarked that the school’s “professors and students have made a career of making me look good as a trustee; we give seed money and often these things fail; at UD, they don’t.”

Snyder indicated that during his trusteeship, donations to the School of Law from the trust and Porter Wright have supported a number of programs at the school besides the program in law and technology. One of those in tune with the University’s mission as a Catholic and Marianist institution is the Symposium on Law, Religion & Ethics.

“Most recently,” Snyder said, “the trust pledged $100,000 to renovate the student lounge [the Jury Box]. The trust’s first grant to the law school was to create a student lounge.”

As Henrici said in speaking of the format of the intellectual property symposium: “We feed the mind, the heart, the soul and the belly.”

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