Arthur Abbey is senior founding partner and the chief trial attorney at Abbey Spanier, which was founded in 1967 and specializes in class and other complex litigation, and has been a member of the NYLS Board of Trustees for 27 years—chair of the board for 23 years, according to the school’s announcement.
The Abbeys donate to NYLS on a regular basis and have made several donations totaling $7 million over time, according to a NYLS spokesperson.
In recognition of the couple’s longtime giving, the law school will name its main academic building in Tribeca “Abbey Hall,” according to the school’s announcement.
Diane Abbey, a graduate of Adelphi College, founded The Diane Abbey Law Institute for Children and Families, which provides students the opportunity to gain ground-level experiences working in family court and with government agencies and nonprofits charged with protecting children and families. Recently, the Institute began publishing a student-directed journal in partnership with the American Bar Association titled Family Law Quarterly, according to the announcement.
“We are eternally grateful to the Abbeys for their extraordinary legacy of generosity and unprecedented commitment that make these ends a reality,” so it is only “fitting that their name graces the entrance of our flagship building where academic excellence, professionalism and a life in service to others are core values.” Anthony W. Crowell, dean and president of NYLS, said in a statement.
The endowed gift, one of the largest donations in the Law School’s 131-year history, will deepen the Abbeys’ exceptional legacy of support of New York Law School by funding a multitude of initiatives and school activities, including scholarships, academic support and funding to expand programs that seek to increase access to justice and support the most vulnerable in our communities, according to the announcement.
The Abbeys’ generous gift will “support our students in receiving a world class legal education in New York City,” Crowell said in a statement. “Diane and Arthur go above and beyond to help every student succeed” with the “depth of their commitment only matched by the depth of the impact the Law School and its graduates have on the profession and in advancing justice and equality.”
“The Abbeys define the family that is New York Law School,” Crowell said in an email to Law.com. “Their support and encouragement have allowed NYLS to be innovative and impactful in profound ways for many years, with so much more to come as a result of this gift.”
They have helped make possible the Law School’s innovative and customized academic and bar success programs, which provide wrap-around support to students from the moment they set foot on campus to when they sit down to take the bar exam, according to the school’s announcement.
Further, they have promoted the school’s community engagement, such as a partnership with the Interfaith Center of New York, which provides community-based training religious competency programs to benefit students, practicing lawyers and New York’s diverse religious communities, according to the announcement.
Diane and Arthur Abbey also are among the most significant supporters of student scholarships enabling many deserving students to afford a legal education, and summer fellowships, enabling students to get paid for public sector work and launch them into careers that directly impact New York City’s diverse communities, according to the announcement.
“New York Law School profoundly changed my life, giving me a degree that allowed me to have a rewarding career, and thus the ability to give back to new generations of law students,” Arthur Abbey said in a statement. “I am always in awe of our alumni, and the impact of the Law School’s programs and faculty.”
“NYLS will continue to graduate leaders in our profession who transform the world and understand that our calling is one that is always in service to others,” he added.
“New York Law School has been a foundational part of our life together, and has empowered us to help so many in our communities,” Diane Abbey said in a statement. “I am incredibly proud of the programs and students we have supported throughout the years, and their work has changed so many lives. We believe in this wonderful and unique institution and are so excited knowing the best is yet to come.”
The Law School will hold an event in the spring to celebrate this historic moment, and install the new signage of “Abbey Hall.”