Irell & Manella LLP Endows New Leadership Prize at Columbia Law School

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May 2005

Irell & Manella LLP has established a permanent endowment at Columbia University Law School to fund a new leadership prize for first-year law students.  This prize honors the shared heritage of three of Irell’s most distinguished attorneys, all of whom graduated from Columbia Law’s Class of 1959.

The Irell & Manella Prize will be awarded annually to a first-year student whose leadership makes an exemplary contribution to the Columbia Law School community.  The award honors Irell attorneys (and Columbia Law, Class of ’59 grads) Richard Borow, Edward Kaufman and Marvin Shapiro.

“It’s not often to have three classmates play such a major ongoing role in shaping a firm’s success over so many years,” said David Siegel, Irell & Manella’s managing partner, noting the contributions of Messers. Borow, Kaufman and Shapiro.

“Richard, Ed and Marvin each helped create separate practice groups and over the past five decades helped mentor an entire generation of attorneys, including the current leadership of the firm.   Our partners wanted to acknowledge and honor their contributions, including their role in helping the firm focus on public service. This award is a perfect tribute to their ideals.”

Mr. Borow, still a partner at the firm, co-founded Irell’s litigation practice; Mr. Kaufman, who retired in 2000, was among Irell’s first corporate practitioners; and Mr. Shapiro, who retired at the end of 1999, established the real estate group.

The inaugural Irell & Manella prize, awarded this past week, went to Amanda Wetzel.  A native of Eastern Pennsylvania, Ms. Wetzel earned a B.A. from Pennsylvania State University in 2002, and an LL.M in human rights law from Queens University, Belfast, in 2004.

Ms. Wetzel has extensive experience in human rights law and public service.  She worked as a research fellow with the Criminal Defense Section of the War Crimes Chamber in Sarajevo.  And while at Queens University, she was a project associate with the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission.

At Columbia, Ms. Wetzel is chair of the Domestic Violence Project.  She is also an editor of the Columbia Human Rights Law Review and a member of the International Human Rights Clinic.

As part of the prize, Ms. Wetzel was asked to select one organization at Columbia to receive a grant from the Irell endowment.  She chose the Columbia Law School Domestic Violence Project.  Each year, the Irell endowment will also make a contribution to the Dean's Discretionary Fund, for uses consistent with the objectives of the prize.

David Schizer, Dean of Columbia Law School, said of the new endowment and annual prize:  “I am honored and delighted to acknowledge Irell & Manella for their generous support of Columbia Law School, recognizing the leadership and public service of a first year student and student organization.”

“It is particularly exciting to be able to recognize the significant accomplishments of three of our former graduates who have been such an integral part in shaping the success of Irell & Manella,” Dean Schizer continued.    “It is a special privilege to have the firm recognize our students in such a meaningful way through this newly established prize.”