Donor Spotlight: Bill (Law 69) and Vicki Hood (Weinberg 74, Law 77, Kellogg 77)
Alumni couple helps boost Northwestern Law to new heights
The Northwestern School of Law prepared Bill Hood (Law 69) well for a multi-faceted career and an abundance of opportunities on the Midwestern and national legal scene.
Still, he can see how far Northwestern Law—and the Bluhm Legal Clinic in particular—has come in more than four decades since he was a student.
“We were mainly dealing with neighborhood rent disputes, both collecting and paying, under the tutelage of a part-time instructor,” he recalls of the fledgling clinic.
Now the Bluhm Legal Clinic is thriving. It began in 1969 with only two staff attorneys and 12 students. Today, more than 20 clinical professors combine classroom instruction with real-life experience for more than 120 students who take clinical courses each year. The clinic houses several important initiatives, including the Children and Family Justice Center, the Small Business Opportunity Center, and the Center on Wrongful Convictions.
And Bill and his wife Vicki (Weinberg 74, Law 77, Kellogg 77) now play an important role in furthering the clinic’s reputation for excellence. The Hoods recently made a generous gift to Northwestern Law, which is only one aspect of the University they actively support.
“It is important not just to give money, but to get engaged in the organization—which is what we have done at Northwestern,” Vicki said. “Doing everything from attending football games in Evanston to alumni functions, to lectures at the law school—all of these promote school spirit and encourage giving.”
After graduation, Bill worked for the Better Government Association, served in various capacities for Continental Bank and LaSalle Bank, and then joined American Airlines in its governmental affairs group in 1994. In 1981, Bill played a pivotal role in getting the state of Illinois to pass the first material change in Illinois banking legislation since 1870. He has also served on the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging, investigating nursing homes and Medicaid fraud claims.
Vicki earned a degree in economics before attending Northwestern Law and the Kellogg School of Management. She commenced her professional career at McDermott Will & Emery before moving on to Kirkland & Ellis LLP. She has been at Kirkland for 30 years and is a partner in the Employee Benefits Practice Group.
Vicki stays involved in Northwestern Law as a member of the board as well as Northwestern’s Council of 100—the women’s mentoring organization of which she is a founding member. In 2002, she received the Alumni Service Award from the Northwestern Alumni Association.
“Bill and I certainly think highly of the school and definitely feel a genuine desire to give back to an institution which has contributed to our success,” Vicki said.
Bill and Vicki reside in Chicago and have two sons.
“While we have both had many successes in our careers and are very proud of our civic involvement, we are most proud of our two sons: Elliott and Tyler,” Vicki said.
Tyler is 26 and is pursuing a master’s degree in history. Elliott, meanwhile, is a second-year Northwestern Law student. He can thank, among many others, his parents for adding to the growth and sophistication of the program.
“Today the clinic is professionally run and looks like a real law firm,” Bill says. “Cases are serious and the students I have met are enthusiastic about the quality of matters they are involved with and the supervision. I think (Bluhm Legal Clinic Director) Tom Geraghty has put together a model law school clinic.”