Letter from Carla Pratt regarding Capstone Law School Building Campaign Gift from Michael C. Manning, '77

Good afternoon Washburn Law Alumni and Friends,

As you likely saw earlier today, we are elated to announce a $1 million gift from Washburn Law alumnus Michael C. Manning jd ‘77 that pushes fundraising for a new law school building past $14 million!  I cannot begin to tell you how overjoyed I am for everyone in the Washburn Law community on this momentous occasion. As dean, I have been humbled by the support and generosity of friends and alumni of Washburn Law. More than 1,400 of you have contributed to the building campaign since it began, and it is an honor to celebrate with you as we prepare to construct a new home for the law school.

Today was an eventful day for many reasons, not the least of which was the opportunity to spend the day on campus with Mike Manning.  After reading about his career, during my first year as dean, I knew that we needed Mike’s name on the trial advocacy space in the new building, so we traveled to Arizona to meet him and discuss our vision for honoring his career in our new building. Like many Washburn lawyers, Mike was humble and modest, and wasn’t seeking any accolades.  It wasn’t until we explained what lending his name to the trial advocacy space in the new building would do for the law school that he decided to support the project with a $1Million gift.

To my mind, Mike Manning is, by many measures, the most accomplished and prominent trial lawyer in Washburn law school’s nearly 120-year history. He is nationally known for his successful trial practice career, highlighted by the litigation involving Charles Keating in the Savings & Loan scandal, which was the largest piece of commercial litigation in U.S. history at the time. Mike’s work on high profile cases extends to exposing an Arizona Governor’s bank fraud corruption, and successfully completing 18 civil rights and constitutional claims against former Maricopa County Sheriff, Joe Arpaio. I don’t think there is a lawyer in the U.S. of my generation or older who isn’t familiar with this litigation, so I was thrilled to learn that one of our alumni was lead counsel on these legendary cases.  

While in law school, Mike was Editor-in-Chief of the Washburn Law Journal and transitioned his stellar academic performance to the practice of law by becoming an equity partner in the esteemed national law firm Stinson, LLP headquartered in Kansas City. Prior to his recent retirement, Mike served as managing partner of the Phoenix office of Stinson and was recognized by the National Law Journal as one of the “100 Most Influential Lawyers in America.”  Arizona Business magazine has recognized him as one of Arizona’s best four lawyers in the state, and Super Lawyers has listed him three times as one of the Top 50 lawyers in Arizona.

I am thrilled that we have the opportunity to honor him with the Michael C. Manning Advocacy Suite and Trial Courtroom in the new building; a space that will inspire future generations of Washburn Law students to strive for success at the highest levels of our profession. Today’s capstone gift brings the building campaign across the finish line!  Due to the pandemic, we could not host a large in-person event, but we did convene a few people to celebrate.  I have attached a few photos of today’s events that I hope you enjoy. It is an honor to stand with all of you as we prepare to construct a new home for Washburn Law.  I am so thankful for each and every one of our donors who made this project possible, and I hope that many of you will join us at the groundbreaking ceremony expected for some time in May 2021.  Until then, take good care,

Your dean,

Carla D. Pratt

Michael C. Manning, '77
Michael C. Manning, '77
Michael C. Manning, '77, speaks at the event where his capstone one million dollar gift to the new law school building campaign was announced.
Michael C. Manning quote
“When the school approached me about naming the trial advocacy space in the new law school building, I was both surprised and humbled,” said Manning, who is from Phoenix, Arizona.