Vanderbilt University Law School receives $10 million gift from alumnus

Justin Ishbia (JD ’04) donated $10 million to the Vanderbilt University Law School.

vanderbilt university law school

Alex Venero

Vanderbilt University Law School, as photographed on Nov. 2, 2021. (Hustler Multimedia/Alex Venero)

Shunnar Virani

Justin Ishbia (JD ‘04), a Board of Trustee, managing partner of Shore Capital Partners and an entrepreneur on the Forbes Billionaires List, granted Vanderbilt University Law School (VULS) a $10 million gift on Oct. 6. 

Vanderbilt changed his professional life. He said he wrote his business plan for Shore Capital Partners during his time at Vanderbilt.

“I hope one day there are future law students that are able to do what I did at Vanderbilt Law School and help change the trajectory of their lives, the same way it did for mine,” Ishbia said.

Ishbia also created the Justin R. Ishbia Scholarship in 2015 which helps students that may need financial assistance in paying for tuition. He similarly hopes that the donation helps out those in financial need.

“I am proud to be able to support those from all backgrounds and all economic conditions [who] hopefully have an equal chance to go to Vanderbilt Law School based purely on their merit,” Ishbia said.

According to Ishbia, Chris Guthrie, dean of VULS, will make the decision on how to allocate his donation.

“Dean Guthrie is an outsized leader among law school deans out there,” Ishbia said. “$10 million dollars would go further with him than most other places I can think about.”

VULS is currently ranked No.16 on the U.S. News 2022 Best Law Schools list. Ishbia stated that he hopes his gift will attract additional talented law students to VULS, possibly through additional career service funding. 

“The new Student Services Center is an attractive part of the school and there’s great professors, great deans, great leadership, but [most importantly] they come here to have a great professional career,” Ishbia said. “[Their] chances for employment will increase because of the Career Service center.”

Ishbia also expects VULS to further support interdisciplinary programs using his donation. He believes that Vanderbilt has a “best-in-class” Law and Business certificate program and he anticipates such integration across disciplines occurs more often, as this crossover is the basis of his career. Ishbia has guest lectured at Owen Graduate School of Management and has both law and business experience.

“I think [the cross-disciplinary programs] will create long-term values for [students] and give them a taste of what the real world is like,” Ishbia said. “Education is the path to freedom and if I can enable others to have more freedom, I think that allows them to focus on things they love to do.”