Despite state budget cuts, UC Davis School of Law is still rolling in money – from a private donor. The Kalmanovitz Charitable Foundation gifted $1 million to fund a new moot courtroom at King Hall last week.
The building will hold mock trial proceedings and possibly sessions of federal and state appellate courts, and the California Supreme Court. The Paul and Lydia Kalmanovitz Appellate Courtroom will be another addition to the $21.8 million budget expansion and renovation project, which is adding a new wing and modernizing the existing 1968 building.
Due to state budget cuts, the construction project was put on hold in January until funding resumes.
“The ‘pause‘ in the construction process has not substantially delayed the product,” said law school dean Kevin Johnson in an e-mail interview. “And the new state budget greatly improves the likelihood [construction] will resume very soon.“
The law school expects the state-of-the-art courtroom to be unveiled in late fall 2009, Johnson said
“The generous support of the Kalmanovitz Charitable Foundation will benefit the UC Davis School of Law students, faculty, staff and alumni for generations to come,” Johnson said in a written statement. “We are extremely grateful to Paul and Lydia Kalmanovitz and are excited to name the new appellate courtroom in their honor.“
In the early 1920s, Paul Kalmanovitz emigrated from Poland to New York City, where he met and married Lydia. The couple moved to California in 1935. Kalmanovitz was a capable businessman with many successful investments.
Due to the efforts of 1972 UC Davis alumnus Yeoryios Apallas, vice president and chief legal officer at Pabst Brewing Co., the Kalmanovitz Charitable Foundation decided to make this donation. Apallas made a proposal to the foundation’s directors, who found the King Hall program worthwhile.
“We are also very thankful to our dedicated alumnus Yeoryios Apallas for his central role in helping to bring about this exciting gift,“ Johnson said.
Apallas described it as the “fastest 1 million bucks I’ve ever made.“
“I am a firm believer in the law school’s mission, strategy and how it fulfills those two goals, and particularly focuses on individuals who are not the most affluent and cannot afford to get into the private schools,” Apallas said. “I thought the law school needed help.“
Kalmanovitz died in 1987 and his wife in 1994, but their belief in philanthropy carried on through the Kalmanovitz Trust, which principally helps universities and hospitals. His charity work also included Guide Dogs for the Blind. When he died, his estate donated a large portion to California hospitals, for the library at UC San Francisco and $10 million for Kalmanovitz Hall at the University of San Francisco.
He owned 26 nightclubs during World War II all around the Los Angeles area. Mr. and Mrs. Kalmanovitz bought breweries, including Pabst, Falstaff, Olympia and Lucky Lager.
“The courtroom was exactly the type of the gift the founder of the foundation would have made because of his long history in courtroom battles,” Apallas said. “Even after his death we have had to defend his will. That is reason why the foundation directors decided to give this money to courtroom, because it‘s exactly what he would have done and loved to see memorialized.“
Kalmanovitz was often immersed in litigation to defend his companies‘ rights. Kalmanovitz realized that lawyers played a very critical role in developing his businesses, particularly in the acquisition of Falstaff and Pabst Brewing Co., Apallas said.
He was often either a defendant or plaintiff in lawsuits. In one important case, Efron v. Kalmanovitz, he helped define the duties of a majority shareholder to a minority shareholder.
“I think he would have made a great trial lawyer,” Apallas said. “[He had] a knack for understanding legal issues and strategies to resolve disputes.”
The foundation previously donated $150,000 for a seminar room.
POOJA KUMAR can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.