CAIL Receives a $500,000 Endowment to Fund Scholarships for International Students to Attend its Annual Academy

The Vester Hughes Fellows Fund will support CAIL’s mission to promote the rule of law and the administration of justice worldwide, while honoring longtime Trustee and supporter Vester Hughes.

The Center for American and International Law has been gifted a $500,000 endowment to bring lawyers from developing countries to its acclaimed five-week Academy of American and International Law, which is held in Plano, Texas each summer. The funding comes from the newly created Vester Hughes Fellows Fund, which will honor the late Mr. Hughes’s long association with CAIL and his commitment to justice and fairness in the U.S. legal system and throughout the world.

Mr. Hughes was a respected and admired tax lawyer and partner at global law firm K&L Gates LLP. His distinguished legal career included helping rewrite the federal tax code relating to estate and gift taxes, and arguing several landmark cases before the United States Supreme Court and the Texas Supreme Court. He was one of the few lawyers in modern American history to routinely represent his clients at the highest level in all three branches of the U.S. government, in addition to handling the estate planning for many prominent Dallas business and community leaders. He passed away in 2017 at age 88.

“We are honored that Vester Hughes’s estate chose to recognize his enduring impact on the legal profession through a gift to CAIL. This generous and permanent source of funding will ensure that the Academy reaches an even more diverse audience, and that it is available to lawyers who would not otherwise be able to attend.  We are deeply in Vester’s debt.  This gift will help us promote the fair and effective administration of justice around the world,” said Mark Smith, President of The Center for American and International Law.

“This gift recognizes Vester’s life-long commitment to the development of the rule of law around the world and his appreciation for the significant work of CAIL, an institution that he admired and supported,” said Kim Askew, Mr. Hughes’ former law partner and a Trustee of CAIL.

Lawyers from more than 20 countries participate in the Academy’s unique program each year.  Participants engage in interactive and intense study of subjects ranging from negotiations and international business transactions to legal ethics and international dispute resolution.  They learn from an impressive faculty of legal scholars and practitioners and, perhaps most importantly, from each other.  They are also introduced to the people and culture of Texas and the United States.

“We live in an interdependent world in which lawyers play critical roles as caretakers of justice. The Academy provides a forum in which lawyers from many nations can learn from one another and hone their legal skills.  Our goal is to help them better serve their clients and the justice system,” said Smith, who also serves as Dean of The Academy.

More than 3,300 participants from 121 countries have taken part in this five-week program. Past attendees have advanced to positions such as Prime Minister of Peru, President of the General Assembly of the United Nations and Chief Justice of the Philippines. Many have played prominent roles in the international legal community.

The COVID-19 pandemic prevented the Academy from being held in 2020 and 2021, but it will resume in 2022.

About The Center for American and International Law

The Center for American and International Law (CAIL) is a nonprofit institution. Since it was founded more than 73 years ago, tens of thousands of lawyers and law enforcement officers from all 50 states and more than 130 countries have participated in CAIL’s programs. Participants play crucial roles in our society and CAIL’s programs help them better serve their communities, clients, and the public.

Media Contact:
Ellen Beth Levitt,, 410-598-4711