Dan Doctoroff, JD’84, creates Doctoroff Business Leadership Program at the Law School

The University of Chicago Law School announced Oct. 2 that Daniel L. Doctoroff, CEO of Bloomberg L.P., and his wife, Alisa Doctoroff, president of UJA-Federation of New York, have made a $5 million gift to create the Doctoroff Business Leadership Program at the Law School.

This groundbreaking program combines law and business courses to prepare the next generation of law graduates with the analytical skills to be leaders of businesses or key advisers to business. The program will make available to all students a series of core business courses. In addition, it will provide a smaller set of students committed to careers in business with a unique array of mentorship, internship and enrichment opportunities not normally found in law schools.

“The University of Chicago has a distinguished tradition of scholarship that spans the boundaries of law and business,” said President Robert J. Zimmer. “Dan and Alisa Doctoroff’s generous gift will allow more students access to that scholarship, and help prepare them for effective leadership across a broad array of enterprises.”

“Throughout my career in government, in business, as an investor and CEO, I’ve worked with hundreds of lawyers across dozens of fields,” said Dan Doctoroff. “Time after time, I’ve seen the value of lawyers who have fundamental business and financial skills, no matter their field of specialty.”

“There could not be a more opportune time for the Law School to develop a new and innovative business leadership program,” said Michael Schill, dean of the Law School and the Harry N. Wyatt Professor of Law. “The Doctoroff Program is a key part of Chicago’s comprehensive approach to providing our students with the analytical tools to be preeminent not just in the practice of law, but also in business, government and academic careers.

“Dan Doctoroff has been a phenomenally successful leader in business and public affairs, and I am proud that our new program will bear his name.”

The Doctoroff Program provides the platform for the Law School’s first certificate-granting program, combining a business curriculum taught by many of the leading professors of Chicago’s acclaimed Booth School of Business; mentorship from alumni business leaders; and summer internships in business enterprises. Chicago Booth professors will teach classes such as Entrepreneurial Finance, Accounting and Financial Management, and Business Strategy in the Law School. The program will focus on preparing law students to advise, run and create business enterprises large and small through training in entity formation, capital structure and finance, intellectual property protection, ethical and regulatory issues, business combinations, and sales.

“The recent upheaval in both the legal and financial markets has profoundly changed the legal profession and challenged law schools to innovate,” said Schill. “For much of the past century, a law degree was a great credential for leadership in banking, finance, investment banks and real estate, as well as more traditional endeavors such as government service and private practice. In recent years fewer business leaders have come from the ranks of lawyers.

“Dan and I both agree that the JD degree, particularly at a school like the University of Chicago, is still an extraordinary preparation for any career that requires sharp analytical capabilities,” Schill added. “Our intention with the Doctoroff program is to go ‘back to the future’ and reestablish the JD as a compelling option for anyone who is bright, ambitious and ready to become a leader in business.”

An important feature of the program is the opportunity for a select group of 15 students per class to take a carefully chosen curriculum composed of the courses taught by Booth faculty, core business law classes taught by the Law School faculty and advanced seminars taught by leading practitioners. Students will also be assigned a business mentor, who will provide them with one-on-one counseling during their three years at the Law School.

Dan Doctoroff, a University Trustee, 1984 graduate of the Law School and a recipient of the Law School’s Distinguished Alumnus Award, has a long record of achievement as a leader in the business and public sector. Alisa Doctoroff, a 1983 graduate of the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business (now Chicago Booth), is active on the boards of numerous philanthropic organizations. The gift from him and his wife, Doctoroff said, is designed to create business leaders inside law schools. “I am absolutely convinced that learning core business and financial skills is critical to whatever career law students pursue,” Doctoroff said.

Since graduating from the Law School, Doctoroff has worked in investment banking at Lehman Brothers and as a managing partner at Oak Hill Capital Partners. He founded NYC2012, the organization dedicated to bringing the Olympic Games to New York City, and became New York City’s Deputy Mayor for Economic Development and Rebuilding under Mayor Michael Bloomberg. After nearly six years in that position, he joined Bloomberg L.P. as its president in 2008, and was appointed CEO in 2011.

The Doctoroff Program is the product of a yearlong joint alumni/faculty planning effort chaired by Dan Doctoroff. A faculty committee chaired by Douglas Baird, former dean and the Harry A. Bigelow Distinguished Service Professor of Law, will help implement the program. Baird said, “This program will provide a focal point for students who wish to connect their legal training to the world of business and entrepreneurship.”

The Law School also has named Leslie Lichtenstein, who received her BA and her MBA from the University of Chicago, as the first executive director of the Doctoroff Program. She has worked for Citigroup, Commerx, Inc., and Dow Jones, and most recently served as Senior Director, Global Principal Gifts Programs and Dean’s Advisory Board at Chicago Booth.

The Doctoroff Program draws deeply upon the legacy of the Law School as an innovator in curriculum and thought leadership. Graduates will be even better prepared for the myriad of legal and business challenges in a changing world. “We are the school of Ernst Freund, Ronald Coase, Edward Levi and Richard Posner,” Schill said. “Perhaps no law school in America has so fundamentally changed what is taught in American law schools. It is important that we stay at the cutting edge in a manner that is authentically Chicago.”

The Doctoroff Business Leadership Program is one of two new “joint ventures” between the Law School and Chicago Booth. Next year, thanks to the generosity of alumni Scott, JD/MBA ‘85, and Kathleen Kapnick, JD‘84, all students at the Law School will benefit from leadership and professionalism training administered by Booth’s world-famous LEAD program.