David Allen Larson almost didn’t attend law school at the University of Illinois College of Law. He had been accepted at Northwestern University School of Law, had received his dorm assignment, and was fully planning on attending there. But he realized that since he was funding his legal education on his own, his debt load upon graduation would be enormous. After doing some further research and comparison, he came to the conclusion that he could receive the same excellent legal education at Illinois at a much better value, and so he changed his mind.
Not only did he receive a great education at Illinois Law, he also met his wife Patty and graduated with such low debt that he was able to take risks with his career that he would not have taken otherwise. And now, thanks to the generosity of the Larsons, future Illinois Law graduates will also have the financial flexibility to pursue their desired career path. The couple recently established the David Allen Larson and Patricia Pierman Larson Scholarship Fund.
“My first teaching job was a 2-year non-tenure track appointment. I would not have left a law firm position to accept a temporary teaching appointment if my loan obligation had been 25 times larger. The University of Illinois College of Law allowed me to pursue a wonderful series of employment experiences. It changed the course of my life,” said David.
“Like David, low debt allowed me to pursue an alternative legal career, albeit one that was more closely tied to the law than perhaps any other job. I got to do what I love best – reading about the law and writing about it. Alternative legal careers were not high-paying positions when we graduated from law school,” added Patty.
After a long and varied career, David is currently a professor at Mitchell Hamline School of Law. Patty, now retired, spent nearly 37 years as a caseheader with West Publishing Company (now Thomson Reuters).
“We want to lighten students’ debt-load so they have the flexibility to accept a lower paying job that might more closely fit their true interests,” they said.
The College of Law thanks the Larsons for their incredible generosity.
Learn more about the various opportunities to make a gift to the University of Illinois College of Law.