Rivkin Family Honors Late Father William R. Rivkin (JD ’48) with Fellows Program


Giving Alumni

Charles H. Rivkin and Robert S. Rivkin have made a $100K gift in honor of their late father William Rivkin (JD ’48) to help establish the William R. Rivkin Law and Public Advocacy Fellows Program. This new program will support students interested in public advocacy careers, training them to succeed as public influencers and leaders in the legal space.

William R. Rivkin (JD ’48) had a distinguished career as United States Ambassador to three nations: Luxembourg, Senegal, and Gambia. He graduated at the top of his Northwestern Pritzker Law class, served as editor-in-chief of the Northwestern University Law Review, and was a national oratory champion.

“We are extremely grateful to the Rivkin family for their generous gift establishing the William R. Rivkin Law and Public Advocacy Fellows Program. Ambassador Rivkin made tremendous contributions to society through his important public service work and commitment to advancing law and justice. The Fellowship Program honors his legacy by preparing students to make a difference,” said Dean Hari Osofsky.

A part of the Law School’s Public Interest Center, the William R. Rivkin Law and Public Advocacy Fellows Program will initially run for four academic years, beginning in Fall 2023, supporting and training more than 30 students. Each year, five to ten students will be selected to participate in the program focused on preparing students to serve in public-facing roles, from the grassroots to boardrooms to policymaking positions. Fellows will engage in a series of workshops, seminars, and career-related activities and receive an annual stipend to support their training, costs associated with job searches, and other related expenses.

The careers of Charles Rivkin, currently the Chairman & CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America and previously U.S. Ambassador to France and Monaco, and Robert Rivkin, presently Senior Vice President and Chief Legal Officer of United Airlines and formerly Deputy Mayor of the City of Chicago, powerfully reflect their father’s inspiring commitment to the rule of law and to impactful communication within the public arena. 

“Our father believed in the importance of serving the public good, and we are thrilled to further his legacy through this program. Today’s law students are uniquely positioned to become the next generations of public advocates and activists, and we hope this program will create a new pathway for exploring the meaningful work of a career in public advocacy,” shared Bob Rivkin and Charlie Rivkin.

Through this fellowship, the Rivkins will boost the career of future lawyers who are deeply engaged with the world, skilled in connecting with those around them, and passionate about shaping their communities for the better.

Northwestern Pritzker Law Senior Lecturer Jason DeSanto, who helped propose the program and will serve as its founding faculty advisor, shared, “Attorneys routinely must thrive within public settings, particularly given the society-shaking equality, rule of law, and democracy challenges of our time. Our institution can play a crucial role in spurring their involvement, deepening their commitment, and extending their reach. The William R. Rivkin Law and Public Advocacy Fellows Program will be a community of second-year and third-year students who will learn the many ways that attorneys can serve as public-facing advocates – and better prepare them to do so.”