University of Hawaii alumnus Jay H. Shidler has donated $1 million to start the Dean’s Innovation Fund, which will bring UH Law School Dean Camille Nelson’s business-driven creative approach to legal education.
“Lawyers, businesspeople, philanthropists, advocates and society are facing challenging times and opportunities right now,” Nelson said in a press release. “When we think about things we didn’t even think about 10 or 20 years ago — immutable tokens, privacy, artificial intelligence, big data, privacy, cybersecurity, health care, constitutional disputes, you name it — we’re not talking about that in law. School and still have a legal role and We are trying to determine the impact.
Nelson said that while law schools are not meant to be centers or laboratories for innovation, lawyers must be innovators, entrepreneurs and innovators to meet the challenges of the future.
Schedler graduated from the UH Business School in 1968, and in 2006 the business school was named after him with a $25 million endowment.
After serving as an officer in the US Army Corps of Engineers, he founded The Shidler Group, which today invests equity and debt capital in US commercial properties and portfolios, and creates and capitalizes new real estate-related companies. Shidler was the founder and chairman of five New York Stock Exchange-listed public corporations that collectively issued more than $14.5 billion in debt and equity securities.
Shidler said of the new innovation fund: “Law firms’ clients are businesses and other organizations. These organizations are always innovating and changing, and lawyers must keep up with it. Since it is the law school that gave birth to them, it is only fair that they reflect the innovations happening in the real world and use some of them to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the delivery of instruction.
Recognizing that the law affects all areas of life and that society continues to evolve, the Dean’s Innovation Fund helps envision how legal education will reflect and connect those changes with visionary leaders, professors and students.
Celebrating its 50th anniversary next year and building on its achievements since its inception, the William S. Richardson UH School of Law is uniquely positioned to lead and participate in these important conversations and shape leaders for the legal profession and beyond.
Under the dean’s leadership, the new fund will help the law school reach students and faculty, including those who come from traditional backgrounds or who believe the door to law school is not open to them.
Some of the conversations prompted by the grant will address issues of ongoing social change, social justice, and equity, and help refocus the conversation about who we are as Americans, the differences between us, the laws that govern us, and who writes them as a society. It continues to face these problems across the country.
Shidler’s gift to the UH Law School in 2011 His philanthropic history with the University of Hawaii since 2006 is $228 million.
“I’m betting that we’re going to get a lot of money from this donation that will manifest itself in innovation that will have a lot of financial and educational impact,” Shidler said. “I believe her.”