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Law firm donates HBCU suit fees to schools, nonprofits

November 19, 2021 GMT

The law firm that represented Maryland’s historically Black universities in a 15-year federal lawsuit against the state is donating the $12.5 million in fees it was awarded when the case settled to colleges and nonprofits.

The Kirkland & Ellis firm represented historically Black colleges and universities alumni and supporters in the suit challenging underfunding of the schools that was settled this year with the approval of hundreds of millions of dollars in extra funding in future state budgets. The firm took the lawsuit on a pro bono basis and is now sending the money to the community, The Baltimore Sun reported.

The donations include $5 million to the Dillard University Center for Racial Justice in New Orleans, $3 million to Morgan State University’s Robert M. Bell Center for Civil Rights in Education, $2 million for the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under the Law and $1 million to the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education.

Under the law that was passed and the legal settlement, for the next decade, an extra $57.7 million per year will be divided among Coppin State University and Morgan State University in Baltimore, Bowie State University and the University of Maryland, Eastern Shore.