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Chicago-Kent College of Law establishes Ralph Brill Faculty Chair

CHICAGO–September 2, 2008–-Chicago-Kent College of Law has announced the establishment of an endowed chair honoring Professor Ralph L. Brill, a member of the faculty since 1961 who founded both the law school’s groundbreaking legal research and writing program and its award-winning moot court program. In nearly five decades, Professor Brill has taught many courses, including torts, products liability, advanced torts, and legal research and writing, to more than 8,000 Chicago-Kent students. He continues to maintain a full-time schedule, teaching torts to first-year students.

In the spring of 2006, to honor what Chicago-Kent Dean Harold J. Krent called Professor Brill’s “extraordinary commitment to legal education and to generations of Chicago-Kent students,” the law school announced plans to name its first faculty-endowed chair after him. The school launched an aggressive fundraising campaign led by Thomas A. Demetrio, a 1973 Chicago-Kent graduate and a partner in the Chicago law firm of Corboy and Demetrio.

“Ralph Brill’s commitment to our law school and our students is truly outstanding,” said Demetrio. “He has helped many of us become better lawyers and better people. I am delighted to honor Ralph’s service and to thank him for his commitment by leading the campaign for the Ralph Brill Chair.”

The Ralph Brill Faculty Chair was created with more than $1.5 million in cash and pledges contributed by more than 400 Chicago-Kent alumni and friends. This endowed chair will provide income and support in perpetuity to enable the law school to attract an accomplished legal scholar and teacher who will prepare Chicago-Kent students for success and influence leading public policy issues. The first faculty member to hold the Ralph Brill Chair will be named at a later date.

“I am deeply honored by the establishment of a chair in my name,” said Professor Brill. “I have seen Chicago-Kent become one of the best law schools in the country, and its alumni thrive in courtrooms, boardrooms, and in government and policy positions in Chicago and increasingly around the nation. I am confident that the person who holds this chair will influence the lives of future students and enhance even more the reputation of Chicago-Kent.”

The son of Romanian immigrants, Professor Brill was born in Chicago. He earned his undergraduate and law degrees at the University of Illinois, where he served as associate editor of the University of Illinois Law Forum. After a short teaching stint at the University of Michigan Law School, Professor Brill joined the Chicago-Kent faculty.

Professor Brill served for 14 years as director of Chicago-Kent’s innovative three-year legal research and writing program. He also served as associate dean of the law school from 1970 to 1973, and as acting dean from 1973 to 1974. Each year, Chicago-Kent’s Ilana Diamond Rovner Appellate Advocacy Competition presents the Ralph L. Brill Award for the best brief. Professor Brill is a co-author of A Sourcebook on Legal Writing Programs, published by the American Bar Association, and has served as an appellate consultant in many important cases, primarily in the area of torts.

Professor Brill is a past chair of the Association of American Law Schools’ Section on Legal Writing, Reasoning and Research. In 1985, Professor Brill was instrumental in the founding of the Legal Writing Institute (LWI), a group of legal writing professionals who, prior to the LWI, lacked a forum in which to exchange ideas or to compare experiences as to status at their schools. He is a former director of the LWI and of the Association of Legal Writing Directors.

Professor Brill continues to work tirelessly to elevate the status of legal writing educators and programs. His commitment and service to the fields of legal writing and legal education have earned him an American Association of Law Schools Legal Writing, Research, and Reasoning section award, the Thomas L. Blackwell Memorial Award, and the Burton Foundation’s “Legends of the Law” Award, among others.

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