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Foley & Lardner LLP: State’s largest law firm forges unique partnership with newly-adopted MPS school

Media Contact: Tony Tagliavia

State’s largest law firm forges unique partnership with newly-adopted MPS school Foley/WCLL partnership kicks off with Thursday school supply event, also includes incentives, career meetings, college tours

MILWAUKEE (August 2, 2012) – Foley & Lardner LLP, a national law firm with strong roots here in Milwaukee, is adopting Milwaukee Public Schools’ K-12 Wisconsin Conservatory of Lifelong Learning (WCLL) as the school settles into its new location just west of downtown.

The Foley/WCLL partnership kicks off from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 2, with a “supply store" where K-4 through 5th-grade students will receive school supplies and backpacks at no charge. Foley has purchased the supplies and backpacks and its employees will assist students in selecting new supplies for the school year during the open house at WCLL, 1017 N. 12th Street, Milwaukee 53233.

Foley and WCLL are also planning other activities throughout the year, including a visit to Old World Wisconsin for the fourth grade, participation by sophomores and Foley personnel in career planning programs, and an end of year Brewers game as part of an incentive program for middle- and high-school-age students.

The school outperforms district averages in both reading and math proficiency. Nearly 90% of WCLL students qualify for free- or reduced-priced lunch, compared to roughly 83% district-wide and roughly 43% statewide.

The partnership marks the first time a professional services firm — as opposed to a manufacturing/goods-producing firm — has connected on this scale with an MPS school with the sole intent of providing support and resources to help the students succeed. Through the partnership, Foley will provide WCLL students with incentives for academic achievement and positive behavior, tours of local colleges, access and guided tours to historical and other sites, meetings focused on career possibilities and other types of support.

“It’s equivalent to winning the educational lottery -- but they’re not viewed as just a money source. Foley is engaged at every step with WCLL in our efforts to continue to help our students succeed,” Wisconsin Conservatory Principal Rae Ellen Sena said. “It’s a true partnership. They want to be involved in what’s happening with our students academically, socially and in their overall educational experiences.”

Milwaukee Public Schools Superintendent Gregory Thornton, who has called for more corporate and community involvement in schools since arriving in 2010, praised the partnership.

“We have so many business and civic leaders who are stepping up and saying, ‘These children are our children.’ We’re grateful that Foley & Lardner is making that commitment and hope others will follow their lead,” Dr. Thornton said.

“Foley was founded in Milwaukee nearly 170 years ago and strong community involvement is part of our firm’s culture,” said Linda Benfield, Managing Partner of Foley’s Milwaukee office. “We know that efforts to improve the greater Milwaukee community also strengthen our firm and benefit our employees. We hope the success of our partnership with WCLL encourages other professional service firms to make the same commitment to help educate and support our community’s children.”

WCLL moved into its new location to give it room to serve more students. The school is expanding its Advanced Placement offerings for high school students, exploring AP expansion for middle-school students and partnering with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra for students beginning in K5.

Milwaukee Public Schools is Wisconsin’s largest school district, serving 80,000 students in more than 160 schools across the city. U.S. News and World Report named MPS’ Rufus King International School and Ronald Wilson Reagan College Preparatory High School the two best high schools in the state and among the 200 best in the country in 2012. In the past year, Milwaukee Public Schools posted a growing graduation rate 17 points higher than the rate for 2000, growing math standardized test scores representing 10-point growth in the last six years and growing ACT scores.

With approximately 900 attorneys in 21 offices, Foley & Lardner LLP provides award-winning business and legal insight to clients across the country and around the world. Our team-based approach, innovative technology, and focus on value and client service are continually recognized by our clients and the legal industry. In a recent survey* of Fortune 1000 corporate counsel, Foley received a top five ranking out of more than 300 firms for delivering exceptional client service. In addition, Foley received 19 national first-tier rankings on the 2011 – 2012 U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” list, and CIO magazine recognized Foley for technological innovation that enhances business value by naming the firm to its prestigious CIO-100 list in 2011. Learn more at Foley.com.

*The BTI Consulting Group (Wellesley, Massachusetts)

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