UC Irvine Receives $1 Million Gift for School of Law


Endowment will enable new dean to fund highest priorities.

Mark P. Robinson Jr., a prominent attorney who has devoted his legal career to product safety, has made a $1 million gift to the new law school at the University of California, Irvine. This gift establishes the Mark P. Robinson, Jr. Endowed Fund for Excellence, which will support the school's highest-priority needs.

“I am very pleased to announce this generous gift from Mark Robinson, who has long been an important advocate of establishing a law school at UC Irvine,” said Chancellor Michael V. Drake. “His leadership and support will bring us closer to achieving our vision of building a law school that serves the region for years to come.”

Robinson is the senior partner of Robinson, Calcagnie & Robinson in Newport Beach, Calif. In 2006, he was selected by “The Best Lawyers in America” as one of the Los Angeles Area's Best Lawyers. In 2005, he was named one of the Top 500 Lawyers in America, and in 2001, California Law Business named him one of the top-10 "Most Influential Lawyers in California.”

“I am proud to support the law school with its heralded dean and its inspired chancellor,” said Robinson. “All of Orange County will benefit from having a University of California law school center stage in our community.”

The fund established by Robinsons gift will be allocated to the school’s highest priority needs at the discretion of the dean. Erwin Chemerinsky, a nationally renowned professor of constitutional law and federal civil procedure at Duke University, was recently named founding dean of the law school effective July 1, 2008. As dean, Chemerinsky will be responsible for the academic and administrative leadership, including developing and implementing a scholarly and educational vision that will take the law school from start-up to top-tier status.

“Mark Robinson is one of the most renowned trial lawyers in the country,” said Chemerinsky. “His leadership has been crucial in launching the new law school, and his generous gift will be enormously helpful as we go forward in creating an outstanding law school."

Robinson's most noted case was the landmark Ford Pinto case of Grimshaw v. Ford Motor Company with his partner Art Hews, in which the jury awarded $128 million in compensatory and punitive damages. He was also co-lead trial counsel for several coordinated cases against tobacco product manufacturers. He currently serves on the executive committee for the Castano Litigation Group and has represented the County of Los Angeles and Gray Davis in private attorney general lawsuits against the tobacco industry.