Wilf family gift endows NYU Law’s clinical program directorship

The Wilf Family Foundations has endowed the position of Director of Clinical and Advocacy Programs at NYU Law with a significant gift made during the Law School’s recently concluded Lead the Way capital campaign. For decades, NYU Law has been a trailblazer and a model in clinical legal education, offering students unparalleled opportunities to gain direct, hands-on experience while addressing pressing needs of the day. In addition to endowing the directorship, the Wilf Family Foundations is also providing support for continued innovation and leadership in clinical education at NYU Law. The name of the directorship will be announced at a later date.

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“NYU Law is a true pioneer in the clinical space. The work that its clinics do is important not only in teaching students, but in defending the rights of so many,” says Elana Wilf Tanzman ’12. “When I was a student at the Law School, my time with the clinics was an exciting, illuminating, invaluable experience that has shaped my path as a lawyer ever since. The Wilf Family Foundations are delighted to help ensure that NYU Law students will continue to have the same fantastic clinical opportunities.”

“It’s wonderful that the Wilf family has decided to support NYU’s clinical program in this way,” says Director of Clinical and Advocacy Programs Randy Hertz, Fiorello LaGuardia Professor of Clinical Law, who has headed the clinical program since 2002. Noting that Professor of Clinical Law Deborah Archer will succeed him in the position after he leaves that role at the end of 2022, Hertz adds, “The family’s generous gift will enable the program to grow in important respects in the coming years, as Deborah Archer assumes the leadership of the clinical program and takes the program in exciting new directions.”

Housed in the Jacob D. Fuchsberg Clinical Law Center, NYU Law’s clinical education program was pioneered in 1981 by Anthony Amsterdam, now University Professor Emeritus. Its integrated curriculum includes the year-long Lawyering Program for first-year students, simulation courses, and more than 40 fieldwork clinics and externships. Students learn how to navigate the client-counsel relationship, test legal strategies, and see firsthand how the legal system works, gaining the tools, experience and insight to discover in themselves how to advocate for their clients. More than 500 NYU Law students enroll in clinics and externships each year.

Members of the Wilf family have been a committed and engaged part of the NYU Law community for two generations. Leonard “Lenny” Wilf LLM ’77 serves as vice chair on the Board of Trustees of NYU and is a member of the Board of Trustees of NYU Law. He is president of Garden Homes, Inc., a family-owned construction and real estate management firm, and vice chairman of the Minnesota Vikings, which he co-owns with a group of investors who include NYU Law trustee Mark Wilf ’87, a principal at Garden Homes and president of the Minnesota Vikings. The Law School’s Wilf Hall, a gathering place for scholars that houses a number of centers, programs, and institutes, is named in honor of the generous gift from Mark and Lenny that funded its construction. In addition to their new gift to support the clinical directorship, the Wilf family also sponsors scholarships for JD and LLM students, the Law School’s Loan Repayment Assistance Program, and its Public Interest Law Center Summer Program. Elana Wilf Tanzman, an NYU Law Trustee and Weinfeld Fellow, served as a co-chair of the Law School’s record-breaking Lead the Way campaign.

Posted September 13, 2022