Dillard University Sets Up Endowment for Paid Civil Rights and Public Interest Internships

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Dillard University’s Center for Racial Justice will use a $5 million gift to create an endowment for paid civil rights and public interest internships. 

The historically Black university (HBCU) in New Orleans received the largest of seven donations from Kirkland & Ellis, the law firm that represented Maryland’s four HBCUs in a 15 year-long legal battle with the state, alleging years of underfunding. The suit settled this year with $577 million awarded to the colleges; $22 million of that was awarded to the law firm as payment.

Kirkland & Ellis are giving a large portion of their share back to HBCUs, nonprofits, and other community organizations; each recipient helped in some aspect of the case, the law firm said. Dillard students spent time with the lead attorney on the case, sharing direct feedback and “valuable insight into how historical underfunding has adversely affected HBCU students,” said Dillard spokesman Eddie Francis.