A Lasting Legacy for Business and Law: Honoring a University of Chicago Giant

The Howard G. Krane Distinguished Visiting Professorship in Business has been created by an endowment from Mr. Krane’s daughters—Hilary Krane, ’89, and Marie Krane—and their families. The position will typically be held by a faculty member from the Booth School of Business who will teach at the Law School; the current Krane Distinguished Visiting Professor is Dr. Emir Kamenica.

Hilary Krane says: “Honoring our father through this professorship is fitting for so many reasons. He loves the Law School and the University, and has served them both with deep commitment for many years. Professionally, his exemplary career at Kirkland & Ellis is focused on helping businesses succeed. He taught business law at the Law School for many years as an adjunct faculty member. So a cross-campus collaboration to further strengthen the Law School’s business-related curriculum is a very appropriate tribute to him.”

“On a more personal level,” Ms. Krane adds, “my sister and I wanted to memorialize our gratitude to him for being a great, loving, and wise father and a guide, teacher, inspiration, and role model to us and so many others.”

Howard Krane graduated from the Law School in 1957. He joined Kirkland & Ellis that same year and has been with the firm since then, serving as a managing partner for many years. A member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Law Institute, he has received numerous awards for professional excellence and service, including a national diversity award for supporting and mentoring women attorneys.

His service to the Law School includes several terms on the Visiting Committee, which he often chaired; more than fifteen years teaching business planning; providing counsel to many deans; chairing a capital campaign; and leading the creation in 1984 of the Kirkland & Ellis Professorship in Law, which is currently held by Eric Posner.

He chaired the University of Chicago’s board of trustees from 1992 to 1999, and is now an emeritus trustee. At the University of Chicago Medical Center, he served as a trustee and board chair and is now a life trustee. He served on the visiting committee of the University’s Center in Paris (the headquarters for the University’s research and teaching community in Europe). In 2001, he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University.

Gerhard Casper, who was dean of the Law School and provost of the University, recalls: “I knew no alumnus who was more convinced of the outstanding quality—one might even call it all-around superiority—of the University of Chicago Law School than Howard Krane. Howard’s confidence in the quality and rigor of the Law School and the University to which it belongs was infectious. It was natural for me to ask him to chair the first capital campaign for the Law School since Edward Levi had raised the money for the Saarinen building. Howard and I met frequently for lunch and held wide-ranging discussions about our institution, about law practice, about the state of politics. I have met few people who care with the same questioning intensity as Howard about the institution for which they have responsibility.”

Professor Geoffrey Stone, who also served as dean of the Law School and provost of the University, says, “Howard Krane’s service to the Law School and the University cannot be overstated. In both capacities, he has always been a thoughtful, engaged, and dedicated advisor. During my time as dean, Howard was always there to offer guidance, support, and great wisdom.”

Hilary Krane, who is senior vice president and general counsel at Nike and has continued her father’s practice of serving the Law School in many ways, says: “My father attended the Law School on a scholarship, and he often told us that he viewed that as an investment the Law School had made in him at a time when the return on that investment was uncertain. To him, that created an obligation to share the fruits of that investment with the Law School, and to repay the Law School for the opportunities that his education afforded him. My sister and I also benefitted from those opportunities, and we, along with our families, are glad that Howard Krane’s name is now honored so appropriately at the school that he loves so much.”