Today, the College of Law is pleased to announce the Kimball R. and Karen Gatsis Anderson Center for Advocacy and Professionalism. The $5,000,000 commitment from the Andersons is the largest non-deferred gift in the history of the College of Law. Karen and Kimball Anderson are both double-Illini, having received their bachelor’s degrees in 1974 and their Law degrees in 1977.
“A strong need exists to better equip the next generation of lawyers with advocacy skills and an understanding of the professional responsibility obligations attendant to client advocacy. We hope that our gift will enable the University of Illinois College of Law to lead the country in these critical disciplines,” said Kimball Anderson.
The Center portfolio of courses, activities, and events focused on Trial Advocacy, Pretrial Advocacy, Appellate Advocacy, Alternative Dispute Resolution, Legal Ethics and Professional Responsibility will provide students, alumni, and other legal practitioners in Illinois and around the world with the skills required to excel in all manners of legal practice. Infrastructure upgrades will allow each section of the Trial Advocacy Workshop and Advanced Trial Advocacy students to practice pretrial and courtroom skills while Trial Team and Moot Court students are preparing for competition. And, a new ceremonial courtroom in Chicago will cement ties between Champaign and Chicago-based program activities.
Furthermore, the inclusion of a robust professional responsibility component, already part of the College of Law’s advocacy-training culture, is an important aspect that distinguishes the Anderson Center from advocacy-related entities at many other law schools.
Implementation of a majority of the components of the Anderson Center on a five-year track will solidify its position among the nation’s top Advocacy programs.
“The College of Law has, for many years, focused on developing excellent advocacy skills and instilling high levels of professionalism among our students and graduates. Thanks to Kimball and Karen’s incredible generosity, the College is poised to build at this crucial intersection of advocacy and ethics to make an even more substantial contribution to the legal profession, and to cement and brand the College of Law as a distinctive national leader in these realms,” said Vikram Amar, Dean and Iwan Foundation Professor of Law.
“This generous gift from the Andersons will contribute greatly to the intellectual life of the College of Law. Not only will it allow the College to provide first-rate training to our students, but it will also highlight the talents of our faculty and put them in the spotlight in the way they deserve showing the depth and breadth of their skills and scholarship,” added Professor Catherine Stahl, the director of the Trial Advocacy Program at the College.
The Andersons have long been strong supporters of the College. They have given to the Law Annual Fund every year since their graduation. The Andersons have provided the naming gift for the courtroom at the College and have added subsequent funding for technological upgrades to the space. They have provided summer fellowships for students pursuing fields in public interest, including support to the COVID-19 Practicum and the Racial Justice Practicum. The Andersons have funded scholarships to attract top talent and have also established a deferred commitment to the College of Law.
Kimball Anderson is a nationally recognized trial lawyer with 37 years of experience at Winston & Strawn LLP. He is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers. Fellowship in the American College is extended only by invitation, after careful investigation, to those experienced trial lawyers who have mastered the art of trial advocacy and whose professional careers have been marked by the highest standards of ethical conduct, professionalism, civility, and collegiality. Anderson currently serves as the Director of the Jerome Mirza Trial Academy at the University of Illinois College of Law, which is designed to teach trial advocacy and professional responsibility to the next generation of trial lawyers.
Karen Gatsis Anderson spent 9 years in-house with the Chicago Board of Education, where she was a supervisor and specialized in school law, civil rights and litigation. She began her legal career at Vedder, Price, Kaufman and Kammholz, where she also was a pro bono cooperating attorney with the ACLU of Illinois. Karen has extensive experience on not-for-profit Boards, including The Montessori Network and Equip for Equality, and she is particularly passionate about education.