We at Block O’Toole & Murphy are proud to announce that our very own firm Partner, Daniel O’Toole, and his wife, Claire, were honored at the Fordham Law School 2023 Scholarship Reception for Scholarship Benefactors and Recipients. The O’Toole’s generously donated a scholarship in perpetuity to alleviate the burden of student loans for Fordham Law School graduates. Daniel O’Toole’s speech at the event was a moving reminder of the power of education, the importance of giving back, and the incredible impact that Fordham Law has on the lives of its students.
71% of law school students graduate in debt, leaving the majority of recent graduates to start their legal careers in the red. To make matters worse, the average amount that law students borrow amounts to a hefty $118,100. In a speech delivered at the reception, Daniel O’Toole remembered the mental strain he endured following his graduation. “I found myself short of funds, and I didn’t know what to do. I was completely overwhelmed; I was paralyzed. I felt really, positively alone,” O’Toole recalled.
As he spoke at the event, he identified loneliness as one of the primary obstacles he experienced after graduating from Fordham Law School in 1992. Daniel went on to name loneliness as an unexpected yet significant obstacle that law school graduates encumbered by debt often struggle with during what is supposed to be one of the proudest times of their lives. After revealing his own experience with financial strain post-graduation, he continued: “When I talk about loneliness, I want to talk about pride and shame. I haven’t told this story in 33 years because of the shame – the feeling of failure that I felt when I got myself into a position where I needed help desperately.” He kindly encouraged the students before him to let go of financial shame as they take their first steps into the legal field, reassuring them that they are “not alone.”
The endowment offered by Daniel and Claire O’Toole will serve to uplift and empower the graduates of Fordham Law School as they make their professional debut. The school is a highly respected institution that has produced some of the most accomplished attorneys in New York and beyond. Daniel O’Toole’s education at Fordham has certainly served him well in the 31 years since his own graduation, with his lifetime reported settlements now approaching $850,000,000. He described the endowment made by himself and Claire as a “full circle moment” and encouraged the students to “give back” once they are in the position to.
Block O’Toole & Murphy attorneys David Scher, Olga Baginski, and Scott Occhiogrosso are also proud graduates of Fordham Law School, making Daniel’s donation all the more meaningful.
As he closed his speech at the Fordham Law School 2023 Scholarship Reception for Scholarship Benefactors and Recipients, O’Toole left students with a meaningful message that we hope they take to heart: “My final message is: you’re not alone, you’re special, you’re gonna bring amazing things to bear on this life, and you’re going to be impactful.”