New Gift from Gilliland Family will Support Law School and Free Legal Clinics for Public

Dec. 18, 2020 — The family of the late James S. “Jim” Gilliland Sr. has made a generous $500,000 endowment gift to name the Legal Clinic at the UofM’s Cecil C. Humphreys Law School in honor of the Memphis-based legendary lawyer, philanthropist, community leader and longtime supporter of the UofM.

This gift will strengthen the Law School’s capacity to educate generations of successful lawyers and serve the legal needs of  the community. In recognition of the Gilliland family’s meaningful gift and Jim’s years of support for the law school, the UofM will rename the Legal Clinic as the James S. Gilliland Legal Clinic. 

"Jim was a remarkable individual on every level,” said UofM President M. David Rudd. “While many knew him as a lawyer and philanthropist, for us, he was also an exceptional friend and advisor. We shared a profound appreciation for the true value of education, and he was a dedicated champion of the University’s public service mission, our positive impact in Memphis and our potential to improve the world. This gift will extend Jim's wonderful legacy of justice and community-building while inspiring and supporting generations of law students to use their degrees in service of the public.”

The James S. Gilliland Legal Clinic will provide UofM students with hands-on lawyering experience in its elder law, medical-legal partnership, housing adjudication and neighborhood preservation clinics.

“We are invested in broadening experiential learning opportunities that make Memphis a better place,” said Katharine T. Schaffzin, dean of the Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law. “The Gilliland family’s generosity will strengthen the Law School as a vehicle for social change and broaden the gateways to public service for students who will transform the world for the better. We are deeply grateful for the family’s commitment to propagating Jim’s values of equity, inclusion and justice.”

“My family and I chose to honor my father through a gift to the UofM because, although he was not an alum, he was tremendously committed to his hometown and devoted countless hours – even in his retirement – to giving back to his community and the institutions that have given us so much,” said James Gilliland Jr. “Dad knew what the UofM is capable of, and we’re happy to continue his support and look forward to seeing what will, undoubtedly, be remarkable contributions from the law students.”

For nearly 30 years, the Legal Clinic and its students have served the Mid-South by providing free legal services to the public, including historically underserved populations.