As a putative member of the class action concerning TicketMaster litigation, I read the latest iteration of the proposed settlement that arrived in my inbox today with interest--in part because I knew this wasn't the first time settlement had been proposed. But atop the proposed maximum $386 million in coupons for future purchases at TicketMaster (with a likelihood that perhaps one-tenth of them would ever be used), one item caught my attention (PDF):
Ticketmaster will pay $3 million to the University of California, Irvine School of Law to be used for the benefit of consumers like yourself. In addition to the benefits set forth above, Ticketmaster will also make a $3 million cy pres cash payment to the University of California, Irvine School of Law’s Consumer Law Clinic. The money will establish the Consumer Law Clinic as a permanent clinic, and it will be used to: (i) provide direct legal representations for clients with consumer law claims, (ii) advocate for consumers through policy work, and (iii) provide free educational tools (including online tutorials) to help consumers understand their rights, responsibilities, and remedies for online purchases.
Cy pres awards to law schools are certainly nothing new. Consider the following (proposed or actual) cy pres award recipients:
University of Washington School of Law's Shidler Center for Law, Commerce & Technology; University of California, Berkeley School of Law's Samuelson Law, Technology & Public Policy Clinic; and UW School of Law's Technology Law and Public Policy Clinic
Berkeley Center for Law & Technology; The Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University; Center for Law + Innovation, University of Maine School of Law; High Tech Law Institute of Santa Clara University School of Law; New York University’s Information Law Institute; Privacy & Technology Project, University of California Hastings College of the Law; Samuelson Law, Technology & Public Policy Clinic, University of California, Berkeley School of Law; Stanford Law School Center for Internet and Society; University of Southern California Gould School of Law
Sometimes, alumni of the law school involved in the settlement are responsible for channeling the money toward their alma mater. Sometimes, the law school thanks the law firm or the attorneys involved, occasionally naming the program after the settling attorneys. Some law schools even have dedicated development web sites that encourage cy pres awards to be earmarked for the law school.
In case law schools are suffering financially and seeking alternative sources of revenue, there's still one place where they can seek income, without resorting to tuition increases--class action settlements.