William H. Neukom Makes Lead Donation for New Stanford Law School Academic Building
William H. Neukom, a 1967 graduate of Stanford Law School, has committed $20 million for the construction of a new academic building at the law school. The gift will be a significant contribution toward Stanford Law School's goal of creating a collaborative campus that stimulates interdisciplinary studies, nurtures intellectual openness, and helps cross-pollinate ideas among faculty and students—all in support of the school's vision for transforming legal education.
The commitment establishes the William H. Neukom Fund for the construction of a new space to house clinics, classrooms, and faculty offices, and to make better use of the law school's existing campus. The design of the building will emphasize open common areas and use architecture to foster cooperation among faculty, law students, and the greater university community. The new site will also be designed to encourage the sort of informal interaction among faculty and between faculty and students that is a hallmark of Stanford. The law school is well known for its low student/faculty ratio, and tradition of open-door accessibility to students. The new building is in the early stages of planning and subject to board approval.
"A building can be significant, not just as a physical space, but symbolically as well," said Stanford Law School Dean Larry Kramer. "This new building, and the opportunity it affords us to promote our vision architecturally, will be the foundation upon which all else rests. A building that fosters interaction will go far to create a more engaged and engaging environment—all to the benefit of the teaching and scholarship that goes on at the school."
Reflecting on his aspirations for the future of the school, Dean Kramer said, "We can do more than make Stanford the number one law school in the country; we can continue to develop a model of legal education that prepares lawyers for the changing terrain of the profession. Globalization, the new economy, the information revolution and other world changes continue to transform legal education as much as the judiciary, the government, and business. I truly believe that no law school in the nation is better suited to prepare students for these fundamental shifts in the profession and in society. Bill Neukom shares our goals for the future and has generously provided funding for this keystone project."
Mr. Neukom, former Microsoft general counsel and current partner at Preston Gates & Ellis LLP in Seattle, is counted among Stanford Law School's most prominent graduates. He has a long history of providing financial support to the school and leadership within the alumni community. He has served as a member of the Dean's Strategic Council since 2000 and as a member of the Board of Visitors Executive Committee since 2003. The William H. Neukom Professor of Law at Stanford Law School was established in 2002. The chair supports faculty working in Mr. Neukom's fields of interest, namely human rights, intellectual property rights, ethics and legal responsibility, global rule of law issues, and antitrust and consumer protection.
"The challenges and opportunities of the twenty-first century require the collaborative critical thinking and action of transdisciplinary teams of well-educated people," said Mr. Neukom. "Stanford Law School is dedicated to educating students who will become leaders in their profession and in their communities—in a world that is increasingly complex and ever changing. It is my hope that this new building will enhance a learning experience at the law school that prepares and inspires our students and faculty to make a difference."
About William H. Neukom
Mr. Neukom, raised in the Bay Area, received his BA from Dartmouth College in 1964 and went on to earn his law degree from Stanford in 1967. By 1977, he had joined the Seattle law firm Shilder, McBroom, Gates & Lucas (now Preston Gates & Ellis). Mr. Neukom's relationship with Microsoft began in 1978 when managing partner William H. Gates II asked him to advise his son's fledgling business. Mr. Neukom served as Microsoft's lead lawyer for nearly 25 years. During that period, he protected Microsoft's intellectual property rights around the world, most notably in Apple Computer v. Microsoft Corporation, and defended Microsoft from a barrage of antitrust suits. While at Microsoft, Mr. Neukom also directed the company's community affairs program, which initiated perhaps the most imaginative and robust corporate-giving strategy in the high-tech industry, establishing the Microsoft Giving Campaign, the Microsoft Matching Gifts Program, and the Microsoft Volunteer Program.
He retired from Microsoft as Executive Vice President, Law & Corporate Affairs in 2002, having been named one of the "100 Most Influential Lawyers" by National Law Journal and one of the top general counsels by California Lawyer. In fall 2002, Mr. Neukom returned to Preston Gates & Ellis as a partner in the firm's business law practice. Today, he serves as chair of the firm, a post he has occupied since January 2004.
Active in organized bar work for more than 35 years, Mr. Neukom was nominated president-elect of the American Bar Association in February 2006. If elected, he will be ABA president-elect for one year and will then serve a one-year term as ABA president beginning in August 2007. Mr. Neukom is currently serving his third term as the Washington State Delegate to the ABA House of Delegates.
Mr. Neukom's community activities include service on the boards of the YMCA of Greater Seattle, the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce, the National Judicial College, the Pacific Council on International Policy, and the University of Puget Sound. He has served on the board of trustees of Dartmouth College, his undergraduate alma mater, since 1996 and is currently in the second year of a three-year term as chair of the board. In 1996, he founded the Neukom Family Foundation, a private foundation directed by him and his children which invests in health and human services throughout the world.
About Stanford Law School
Stanford Law School is one of the nation's leading institutions for legal scholarship and education. Its alumni are among the most influential decision makers in law, politics, business, and high technology. Faculty members argue before the Supreme Court, testify before Congress, and write books and articles for academic audiences, as well as the popular press. Along with offering the traditional law school classes, the school has embraced new subjects and new ways of teaching.