Bequest from Mark Claster Mamolen, JD'77, leaves lasting legacy at Law School

University Communications

A bequest for more than $6 million from the late Mark Claster Mamolen, JD’77— one of the largest bequests the Law School has ever received—is funding new and important initiatives that are consistent with his lifelong values and interests. The initiatives, identified in collaboration with Mamolen’s family, support the Law School’s commitments to recognizing excellence in its faculty and students, attracting the best students and supporting public service careers.

An engaged and influential alumnus, Mamolen was named a life member of the visiting committee of the Law School—one of only five people to have received that honor. A generation of deans counted him as a friend and a trusted advisor. Former Law School dean Michael Schill said, “I regularly sought Mark’s counsel and always looked forward to our meetings.” Former dean Saul Levmore, the William B. Graham Distinguished Service Professor of Law, recalled that Mamolen was “always willing to learn and see the world a little differently, and he was unfailingly supportive when our goal involved improving the student experience.”

Dean Thomas Miles observed, “The applications of Mark Mamolen’s bequest to reward excellent faculty members, strengthen business programming, recognize student achievement, support deserving applicants, and allow for non-mainstream careers are all consistent with who I understand him to have been as a person. Having heard so much about him from so many who greatly admired him, I regret that I will not directly experience the sparkle of his energy and innovative thinking—but his presence is all around us now through these initiatives, and he will be called to mind on many occasions.”

Through Mamolen’s bequest, two faculty members are recognized for exceptional contributions in a field related to business law, and provided with substantial stipends to pursue their scholarly interests. Prof. Anthony Casey has been named the Mark Claster Mamolen Teaching Scholar, and M. Todd Henderson is the Mark Claster Mamolen Research Scholar. A prize for students recognizes special achievement in a course related to business law. Last year, six students won Mamolen Prizes, which include a cash award.

A scholarship fund will provide as many as three full-tuition, three-year scholarships for each entering class. The Mamolen Scholars will be selected based on a combination of merit and need, so that highly talented students who might not otherwise be able to attend the Law School will have the opportunity to do so. And through the Mark Claster Mamolen Post-Graduate Fellowship to Support Public Interest Work to Promote and Defend the Rights of Women, recent graduates can receive a sizable one-year grant that will enable them to pursue the advancement of women’s rights at an organization anywhere in the world.

Mamolen’s sister, Julie Bleicher, said that the Law School was a regular presence in her brother’s life: “Mark never stopped expressing his appreciation for the ways that his time at the Law School changed his life and helped make it possible for him to do things that otherwise he might only have dreamed of doing. Even in his later years, a week wouldn’t go by when he didn’t have something enthusiastic to say about what he had learned from Walter Blum or Bernie Meltzer or Richard Epstein—or from some young faculty member he had just met on a visit to the Law School.”

After law school, Mamolen joined the merchant bank Pritzker & Pritzker, as the principal non-family financial advisor to Jay Arthur Pritzker. In 1995, he created his own investment company, Carl Street Partners. He served on several prominent corporate boards and advised many corporate leaders.

“My brother was independent-minded and entrepreneurial in all ways,” Bleicher recalled. “He wanted to live life on his own terms, and live it to the fullest. He wanted to do things he loved doing and to be a whole person—‘the whole package,’ as he put it. Ideas sizzled for Mark. He was the epitome of a lifelong learner, and he also gave very generously of his time to mentor many young people, often from disadvantaged backgrounds.”

“Mark often told me that he had no regrets,” said Bleicher. “He lived the life he wanted. As much as he thanked the Law School for helping him do that, my family thanks him for the example he provided of a life fully lived. We, and particularly my children to whom he was a wonderful uncle, miss him terribly, and I’m glad that his bequest is being used to so thoroughly honor his life.”