The Institute of Advanced Legal Studies is pushing ahead with expansion plans despite warnings from a review committee that it risks "gradual decline" unless it can source substantial new funding.
The London-based institute - partly funded by City law firms - has been told to find new sources of income.
The committee's report says rapid growth has left it battling under "severe constraints, financial and otherwise".
Director Barry Rider welcomes some of the report's recommendations, but dismisses concerns about the institute's future.
"One or two of the comments were mildly ungenerous," says Rider. "I don't think there's any doubt about the institute's future and it is becoming stronger and stronger. Perhaps the institute has been judged at this point in time without the opportunity for considering the pace of development."
The review committee, chaired by Oxford University's Roy Goode, worried about the dependence on "soft" money. About u14m needs to be found for a new building and another u1.3m for staff.