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Advancing Excellence

Hearsay: Talking about BC Law

Q&A with Robert Keefe ’72


When Robert Keefe, senior counsel at WilmerHale in Boston, considered how to support BC Law, a charitable gift annuity (CGA) was the best option for his portfolio. A CGA provides him with a stream of income and a tax benefit and will benefit future generations of law students. Here, after his morning walk, he reflects on this decision, his time as a student, and his career.

Which BC Law professors made the biggest impact on you?
I had some terrific professors. Some who come to mind are James Smith, who taught tort law; Emil Slizewski, who taught trusts, estates, and estate planning; Sanford Katz, who taught contract law; and Sanford Fox, who taught juvenile justice. All were smart, articulate, and passionate and demanded the highest of all the students, and I liked that. If you wanted to excel, you had to work hard and study.

What in your career has been most rewarding?
It’s true: If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life. I’ve been blessed for what I’ve been able to do during my career. Every day is different, which I appreciate. At WilmerHale, we have a firm commitment to public service and pro bono work, the latter of which has been the most rewarding to me. In these cases, I see people day in and day out just trying to get through life, humans at their best and at their worst with roadblocks preventing them from moving forward. In every case, I want to help. The importance of helping others is something my parents instilled in me as a young boy.

Why did you establish a charitable gift annuity with BC Law?
Honestly, I didn’t go into law to make money, but I was fortunate to accumulate some during my lifetime. Several years ago, I established a scholarship fund at the Law School. During this past year, I thought more about that fund and how I could help the next two, three, or four generations of BC Law students get an education. Establishing a CGA with BC Law was the ideal next step in my philanthropy. I am guaranteed income for my lifetime, and the remaining value of the CGA will grow the scholarship fund.

Any final thoughts?
I firmly believe that education is the key to everything. It is critical to identifying and solving issues. You never know how a BC Law graduate will make an impact on the world.

A Charitable Gift Annuity is one of the most straightforward and rewarding ways to show your support to BC Law. You may use our free online calculator to explore what a CGA can do for you:

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To discuss your giving options with your partners in the Office of Gift Planning, please contact us at 877-304-SHAW or