Illinois Tech Names Building for Professor Richard J. Conviser
UPDATE: The April 22 event unveiling event has been postponed and will be rescheduled for a later date. Please check our website for future updates
Illinois Institute of Technology on February 19 announced the renaming of its law school building to the Conviser Law Center in recognition of Richard J. Conviser’s lifelong service to Chicago-Kent and the legal community. Conviser, whose lifetime donations recently surpassed $12 million, is a co-founder of BARBRI, the world’s largest bar exam preparation course, and is also a longtime professor of law at Chicago-Kent College of Law. He is the largest donor to the law school.
“We are grateful to our friend and dear colleague Richard Conviser for his generous gift to the law school,” says Chicago-Kent Dean Anita K. Krug. “Over the course of his career, Richard has contributed to the legal industry as a scholar, businessman and educator who has impacted thousands of students at Chicago-Kent and more than a million through BARBRI. We are honored to publicly acknowledge his long friendship with us by adding his name to our building.”
Since its founding, BARBRI has helped nearly 1.5 million lawyers around the world pass a United States bar exam. Conviser was in his mid-20s when he started the small bar exam review as an associate at Baker McKenzie. BARBRI quickly gained widespread success, training the vast majority of law students nationwide to pass the bar exam and it remains so to this day.
Conviser has attained other milestones in his life. After law school, he was awarded a prestigious Ford Foundation grant that took him to Germany where he was associated with the Institute for Private International and Comparative Law, one of Europe’s top international law institutions. While he was at Baker McKenzie, the governor of Illinois appointed him to establish the state’s first foreign operation. He served as Deputy European Director of this office in Brussels, Belgium.
Conviser received his bachelor’s and law degrees from the University of California, Berkeley, where he served on the Law Review. He also holds a Dr. Jur. from the University of Cologne in Germany.
“Over the course of my teaching career with BARBRI and the law school, it has always been my mission to set up the next generation of lawyers for success,” Conviser says. “Chicago-Kent is a leader in innovation. The school’s forward-thinking approach to providing a quality legal education that prepares students to practice law in this rapidly changing legal industry is truly outstanding among its peers. My hope is that this gift will support more creative initiatives that will raise Chicago-Kent’s national profile among prospective students and the legal community at-large.”
Conviser’s commitment to students is part of the fabric of the Chicago-Kent community, academically and socially. His classes are regularly filled with more than 90 students. Each semester, Conviser and the Student Bar Association host the Conviser Bash, a party that draws more than 500 attendees.
The gift will be used to further develop the reputation of the law school, which is the second-oldest law school in Chicago and recognized nationally for its highly ranked programs and experiential learning opportunities.
“Richard Conviser has been a mentor and friend for more than 40 years,” says Michael P. Galvin ‘78, president of Galvin Enterprises Inc. and chairman of Illinois Tech’s Board of Trustees. “His commitment to building Chicago-Kent into a top-tier law school is tremendous, and the impact of his gift will be felt by students for generations to come.”
The official unveiling ceremony for the Conviser Law Center will be April 22, 2020.
“Throughout his remarkable tenure at Chicago-Kent College of Law, Professor Conviser has had an incredible impact on the education of every student that has walked through those doors,” says Illinois Tech President Alan W. Cramb. “We are proud to recognize his contributions both in and out of the classroom, and we know that his continued support will help to further Chicago-Kent’s reputation as an innovator in legal education.”