LOS ANGELES, CA, December 7, 2015 – UCLA School of Law has received a significant challenge gift to support UCLA Law Women LEAD, an intergenerational network of law school alumnae aimed at empowering and supporting female graduates throughout their professional lives. The UCLA Law Women LEAD Challenge was launched with a major gift from alumna Michelle Banks ’88, executive vice president and global general counsel at Gap, Inc. and co-chair of UCLA Law Women LEAD, along with additional gifts from other founding board members. The challenge will be instrumental in expanding the initiative’s outreach and programming.
“Michelle’s tremendous generosity is emblematic of her character as a business leader and mentor to so many women in the legal profession, and we are very grateful to her for her support and commitment to UCLA Law Women LEAD,” stated UCLA School of Law Dean Jennifer L. Mnookin. “This is an enormously exciting opportunity to connect and support our female law graduates, and to help ensure and propel their ongoing professional achievement.”
With a total matching fund of $150,000 launching the drive, the UCLA Law Women LEAD Challenge will allow donors to double the impact of their giving. All gifts of $2,500 or more will be matched on a 1 to 1 basis. Additionally, gifts of any amount made by alumni who graduated between 2005 and 2015 will also be matched 1 to 1. The challenge will run from December 7, 2015 through June 30, 2016 or until the matching funds are expended.
“The time is ripe to undertake this effort given the continuing barriers to parity in the legal profession, and the lack of sustained, coordinated initiatives that can draw together women from different generations and from a range of career areas,” offered Banks. “Over time, the LEAD initiative will assist UCLA Law in recruiting the strongest possible women as students, helping them to find fulfilling employment, and providing them with the support that leads to long-term career success.”
“Giving back is an essential part of building and extending support for women in the legal profession,” said Nancy L. Abell ’79, UCLA Law Women LEAD co-chair and a partner at Paul Hastings LLP. “We hope our collective effort will make a real difference in helping to nurture and sustain other women in the field.”
The LEAD initiative, which launched in January 2015, addresses the distinct challenges facing alumnae throughout their careers, offering programming and networking that mobilizes them as a constituency with shared interests, and connects them to one another, to students and to faculty.
UCLA School of Law has a comparatively high number of women students: 48 percent of UCLA Law’s student body is female, while the average female enrollment among other top 20 law schools stands at 46.2 percent. Additionally, the class of 2018 is more than half women: 53 percent of the current class of first year law students are female.
For more information, please visit uclalawwomenlead.com.
About UCLA School of Law
Founded in 1949, UCLA School of Law is the youngest major law school in the nation and has established a tradition of innovation in its approach to teaching, research and scholarship. With approximately 100 faculty and 1,100 students, the school pioneered clinical teaching, is a leader in interdisciplinary research and training, and is at the forefront of efforts to link research to its effects on society and the legal profession. For more information, visit www.law.ucla.edu.