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Ken Turchi
IU Maurer School of Law

Last modified: Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Maurer School of Law endowed chair in legal ethics honors practitioner

July 28, 2010

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University Maurer School of Law Dean Lauren Robel announced today that an entrepreneur with close family ties to Indiana University has endowed a Chair in Legal Ethics at the school in honor of a lawyer through whom he came to understand and appreciate the benefit of "trusted counsel."

David Henry Jacobs Jr. has made a $1.5 million gift to the Law School to establish the John E. Schiller Chair in Legal Ethics. Schiller is a business litigation lawyer with the Cleveland firm of Walter & Haverfield LLP.

John E. Schiller

Jacobs became acquainted with Schiller in 2006 when he hired the attorney to represent him in a complex and highly contentious lawsuit. "During the course of the litigation, I witnessed John's integrity, judgment, passionate belief in the legal system and exceptional work ethic," Jacobs said. "I am convinced that but for John's counsel, skill and tireless effort over the past few years, my life and my family legacy would be very different." Observing these traits inspired Jacobs to make a gift to the Maurer School of Law that will help advance the quality of its students' legal education.

Jacobs also hopes that the gift will serve as a reminder that lawyers play an invaluable role in the stability and growth of a free society. "I wince when I hear people disparage lawyers indiscriminately," he said. "We are a free society because we are a nation of laws, and lawyers deserve more credit for their role in advocating freedom through the rule of law. John Schiller and lawyers like him exemplify the best of the profession."

"I am deeply appreciative of the trust and confidence David has had in my judgment and feel humbled that he would choose to honor me as part of his family's philanthropic tradition," said Schiller. "In a legal profession almost demonically possessed with the notion of rankings, ratings, and billable hours, I view David's gift as a reminder that what ultimately matters is trust and judgment."

Dean Robel commented on the far-reaching implications of the Schiller Chair. "David's gift is driven by his admiration for the integrity and rectitude of a particular lawyer, but its effect will be felt by the entire law school community," she said. "The curriculum of the Maurer School of Law is designed to produce the most ethical and best prepared lawyers in the world, and both the letter and spirit of David's gift fit perfectly with this goal."

The holder of the Schiller Chair can specialize in any area of the law, but must demonstrate a commitment to the highest standard of legal professional ethics through her or his teaching, scholarship, and service. The name of the holder of the Schiller Chair will be announced in the fall of 2010.

Although he is a graduate of Southern Methodist University, Jacobs began his college education at IU, and his ties to the university are strong, as many members of his family attended or graduated from IU as well. He is a member of the board of directors of the Indiana University Foundation. The university's Jacobs School of Music is named for Jacobs' parents, Barbara and David H. Jacobs, in honor of the family's $40.6 million gift to the school in 2005. It was during the announcement of that gift to the School of Music that Jacobs first became acquainted with Dean Robel, which eventually led to the establishment of the Schiller Chair.