Rick ’70 & Polly Dodd support aspiring lawyers with business law scholarship

When Rick Dodd ’70 (1944 - 2018) went to law school in the late ‘60s, he recalled tuition was about $1,000 a year, but he knew that today’s students have a much higher financial burden.

To help, he and his wife of more than 40 years, Polly, established the Rick & Polly Dodd Endowed Scholarship. Students who have an interest in business and demonstrate financial need will be considered first when the scholarship is awarded for the first time this fall.

“I believe in the importance of having a strong law school,” Dodd said. “We need to continue to educate a strong group of experienced lawyers.”

Dodd remembered his time at UW Law fondly and looked forward to making an investment in the law school’s future grads.

“It was my greatest educational and social experience,” he said. “It led to lifelong friends and a successful career.”

After graduating from UW Law and earning an LL.M. in taxation from NYU, he was the eighth lawyer to join Shidler, McBroom, Gates & Baldwin. That firm eventually became K & L Gates, which has more than 2,000 lawyers across the country. Among his lifelong partners was Bill Gates Sr. ’50, and Dodd said he was proud to support the law school whose home bears Gates’ name.

Though Dodd intended to practice tax law, he specialized in business law. He was involved in start-ups, financing and mergers and acquisition work for companies such as Microsoft, Starbucks and Expedia.

Though he was involved in such huge deals, he remained humble and admittedly low-key, which he said was a benefit in tense negotiations.

“I’m not a table pounder,” he said. “I’m a strategic thinker. You need to have lawyers who know how to compromise and reason and negotiate.”

The impact of philanthropic investments such as Rick and Polly's will foster his legacy in the next generation of lawyers.

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