Jill and Paul Meister donate $500,000 to Northwestern Pritzker School of Law

Jill and Paul Meister

Jill G. Meister (JD '90) and Paul A. Meister (JD '87) have donated $500,000 to Northwestern Law. “This gift is particularly meaningful, not only because Paul and Jill are both alumni, but also because of their remarkable commitment to volunteer service,” said Dean Daniel B. Rodriguez.

“Paul worked tirelessly on the Law School’s behalf when he was Chair of the Law Board and he continues to serve on a number of committees, including the Law Board’s Executive Committee. And as if that weren’t enough, he teaches a course on hedge fund strategies and regulation here as well. He is an invaluable friend, and I am grateful for his ongoing wise advice and counsel.”

Part of the gift to the Law School will be used to fund a Jay A. Pritzker Public Interest Fellow, but the majority of it is unrestricted. In recognition, the conference room in the Dean’s Suite at the Law School will be named the Jill and Paul Meister Conference Room.

“I’m grateful to have gone to Northwestern Law,” Paul said. “I had a great experience at this school, and what I learned has had a tremendous impact on my career.”

Paul is Vice Chairman and Managing Director of GCM Grosvenor, a global alternative asset management firm with over $45 billion in assets under management, where he has been for over 25 years.  His time at the Law School was storied—a member of the Northwestern University Law Review, he graduated cum laude and Order of the Coif.

Jill transferred after her first year to Northwestern Law from another, significantly larger law school. “The teachers were not as accessible, classes were huge, and there was a real cultural difference,” she said. “At Northwestern, students and faculty are truly collegial and collaborative.”

Following graduation, Jill briefly practiced law, after which she undertook her life’s passions—motherhood and philanthropy. She spends the majority of her time supporting programs and conducting research associated with eosinophilic esophagitis, celiac disease, and food allergies.

She credits her legal education for training her to be a more effective advocate for the causes she is passionate about.

“The education I received at the Law School taught me to question the experts, push for alternatives and think outside of the box,” Jill added. “I rarely accept the response, ‘it’s not possible.’”

To name only one example, Jill is bringing to Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago a new, much less invasive, procedure (developed at Children’s Hospital Colorado) for use in periodic follow-up testing for patients with eosinophilic esophagitis. This nasal scope procedure will replace endoscopsies and associated anesthesia, a dramatic difference for patients.

“It’s important to both of us that our philanthropy be impactful,” Paul continued. “We do that by using both our intellectual as well as monetary capital. My work at the Law School and Jill’s work with the nasal scope procedure are both examples of this philosophy. We made this gift to the Law School because it made such a difference in our lives.”

“And,” he added with a smile, “We hope to create momentum among our fellow alumni. It’s urgent that we continue to grow the endowment and support the Annual Fund for the benefit of current and future students.” 

April, 2016