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Isabelle and Jerome E. Hyman ’47

The Hymans made their first gift to Harvard Law School over a half-century ago, and the first of several planned gifts more than a decade ago. The details of that first planned gift are no longer in the front of Jerry’s mind. “It was an annuity,” he says, brow furrowed, “which generated a small annual payment.” But he has no doubt about the primary intent of the gift: “To benefit the Law School, of course.”

Isabelle Hyman — an expert in the history of architecture, who for 40 years was on the faculty of New York University and is now Professor Emerita — explains why her husband of 45 years feels strongly about the Law School. “Jerry was born and brought up in a tiny farming town in the Mississippi Delta,” she says. “The impact Harvard Law School had on him—the culture, the intellectual atmosphere, the friends he made there—was enormous.”

After graduation, Jerry clerked for Judge John C. Mahoney, United States Court of Appeals, First Circuit, and then went on to a distinguished career with what was then Cleary, Gottlieb, Friendly & Cox and later Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP. From the start, Jerry felt a strong debt of gratitude to the Law School. He has contributed to the Harvard Law School Fund since its inception. He also has served the School as President of the Harvard Law School Association of New York City, as a member of the Visiting Committee, as Chairman of his class reunions, as a member of various other committees and now as a member of the Executive Committee of the Dean’s Advisory Board. His and his wife’s planned gifts to the School include—in addition to the first annuity—a charitable remainder trust, and, more recently, additional gift annuities, which pay a fixed income to the donor for life. Although one of their earlier gifts was in the form of a charitable remainder trust, they have not used trusts in recent years. “We considered another charitable remainder trust,” Jerry explains, “and for a younger person, investment oversight by the Harvard Management Company would be a powerful incentive. Given our age, though, it simply makes sense to go with the annuity now.”

Jerry and Isabelle also have included in their wills a bequest to establish a professorship at the School, and scholarships that give preference to Harvard Law students who are Mississippi residents or graduates of the College of William and Mary, where he was an undergraduate. Why the mix of current planned gifts and future bequests? “They’re going to get it anyhow,” Jerry says, smiling, “so our thinking is that they should get at least some of it now.