Fall 2014

Timothy Dickinson, ’79: Funding International Experiences

By Amy Spooner

Timothy Dickinson, ’79
Timothy Dickinson, ’79

Tim Dickinson, ’79, knows how global experiences shaped his own education. By creating the Timothy L. Dickinson and Anja Lehmann Global Education Fellowship Fund at Michigan Law, he’s helping to make those experiences possible for others. Dickinson and his wife have pledged $200,000 to endow the fund, which will be used to support recent graduates who seek to build upon their Michigan Law education through the pursuit of educational or professional experiences abroad. 

Through the Michigan Matching Initiative for Student Support, the University is anticipated to match the gift with an additional $50,000. Dickinson and Lehmann previously gave $40,000 to provide global experiences for Michigan Law students, which will become part of their new fund.

From learning U.S. history through European eyes, to being asked for a bribe by a border official, to studying at The Hague Academy of International Law during law school, Dickinson credits his time abroad with instilling the language skills, cross-cultural awareness, and global approaches to the law that laid the foundation for his career. 

“When I look back at the building blocks of my education, I see that my international experiences were not just informative, but were the distinguishing features of my background that nurtured my practice,” says Dickinson, who is a partner in the Washington, D.C., office of Paul Hastings LLP and who teaches Transnational Law at Michigan. He also was a founder of Michigan Law’s International Transactions Clinic.

Dickinson hopes the fund will build upon Michigan Law’s longstanding excellence in international law—including legendary professors and multiple programs for students—by enhancing overseas opportunities for recent graduates. 

Whether they want to learn Chinese to prepare for a career in corporate law or want to understand the inner workings of an NGO in order to enter the public sector, Dickinson expects fellowship applicants to have a demonstrated interest in international law and solid grasp of how the fellowship will advance their career preparation, so that the post-graduate experience will have a meaningful impact on their future.

“You can’t be a successful international lawyer if you haven’t had experiences abroad,” he says. “You might get the job done, but you won’t be as effective as you could be.” So as Dickinson contemplated his philanthropic legacy at his alma mater, funding such experiences was the perfect choice. 

“I thought long and hard about a significant way I could contribute to the Law School. The type of fund we’re establishing, especially if we can grow it to help more students, is an underserved opportunity that can help make a mark for our student body well into the future.”