Thomas R. Kline

Since its founding nine years ago, Drexel’s law school has benefited from the leadership of one of the nation’s most respected and influential trial lawyers. Thomas R. Kline has served on the school’s advisory board since the law school’s inception. He has been chair of the advisory board since 2012. He has been a member of Drexel’s Board of Trustees and trusted advisor to Drexel’s President John Fry.

Influenced by his growing ties to the University and the law school and driven by a commitment to excellence in the law profession and a dedication to trial advocacy, Mr. Kline made a landmark gift to name the Thomas R. Kline School of Law last year. His unprecedented commitment marks the largest single gift in Drexel’s history and will transform legal education at the University for generations to come.

Mr. Kline said recently: "Our law school, under the leadership of founding Dean Roger Dennis, has emerged rapidly as a leader in legal education, unique in perspective and programming, taught by a dedicated, enormously talented, well-accomplished, well-published faculty. We provide a highly qualified student body an unparalleled education of which we are proud. Our law school is emerging as one of America’s great law schools, and I am so proud to be part of its future."

It would be hard to overstate Mr. Kline’s prominence on the Philadelphia legal scene. He is a founding partner, along with Shanin Specter, of the law firm of Kline and Specter, P.C., described by The Philadelphia Inquirer as "one of the country’s leading personal injury firms." Super Lawyers, a peer review rating group, has named Mr. Kline the No. 1 attorney in Pennsylvania for 12 consecutive years.

Mr. Kline has achieved record-setting jury verdicts and settlements in pharmaceutical litigation, product liability cases, premises liability, workplace accidents, automobile litigation and medical malpractice. More notable than the many well-known jury verdicts and settlements is how Mr. Kline and his law firm through civil litigation have driven safety improvements in medicine, products and the workplace. Among his better known cases is Hall v. SEPTA, which led to the reconstruction of the region’s subway escalator system. More recently, in the Sandusky matter Mr. Kline provided a national voice to the victims of the tragedy. He was a leader of the national Vioxx litigation, a leader of the Pier 34 collapse litigation, and most recently, is representing the families and victims of the Amtrak derailment this year. He is a past president of the Inner Circle of Advocates, described by The Washington Post as the group of the "most celebrated trial lawyers in America."

Our law school is emerging as one of America’s great law schools, and I am so proud to be part of its future.

Mr. Kline is a champion of trial advocacy training for law students, and his gift to Drexel includes the conveyance of the historic monumental Beneficial Saving Fund Society Building at 12th and Chestnut streets as the home of the Thomas R. Kline Institute of Trial Advocacy of the Kline School of Law, which will anchor an innovative law program and also anchor an emerging neighborhood.

Once restored and renovated, this grand Horace Trumbauer-designed bank building located in the heart of Philadelphia’s legal community will house state-of-the-art facilities for students to develop their advocacy skills. It will advance courtroom simulation for the JD program and co-curricular programming and will enhance faculty interaction with students who undertake advocacy-based co-ops and clinical work. Additionally, it will support the development of post-graduate LLM and continuing legal education trial and appellate advocacy programs.

"This transformative gift from Mr. Kline will enable the law school to re-imagine its entire advocacy program, enrich the advocacy curriculum across multiple dimensions, build out new advocacy programs and establish Drexel Law as a national center of excellence for the teaching of advocacy," says Dean Roger Dennis. "We believe a nationally renowned program in advocacy will be extremely beneficial to student recruitment and to employment outcomes for our graduates."

As stated by Drexel University in The New York Times shortly after the historic gift in legal education: "Kline is the consummate trial lawyer, admired widely not only for his skill and achievements through the civil justice system, but also for his commitment to trial advocacy as the cornerstone of our judicial system and democracy." This is the vision which motivated the gift and naming of a school in his honor.