Alumni Power Players Hold Court

Sometimes you can’t get enough of a good thing. That’s the attitude successful alums embrace as they interact with Berkeley Law students confronting the startup world. Drawn by the enthusiasm and vision of Adam Sterling ’13, executive director of the Berkeley Center for Law and Business (BCLB), more business law titans are reconnecting with the school that launched their careers.

Mitch Zuklie ’96, global chair and CEO of Orrick, won Berkeley Law’s Young Alumni Award in 2011. One of the nation’s top tech dealmakers, Zuklie continues paying it forward—talking with students in March about his career and the startup world.

London-based Bill Voge ’83, Latham & Watkins’ global chair and managing partner, dropped by to share home truths about international challenges, meet with first-generation students, and help select scholarship recipients.

Former Apple general counsel Nancy Heinen ’82 serves on the BCLB Advisory Board chaired by Steve Bochner ’81. Heinen, now a partner in the Silicon Valley Social Venture Fund, urged students to “think about what success looks like to you. Challenge your risk tolerance—do you want to stretch or need more mentoring? Be open to opportunities and influencers outside the norm.”

Stephanie Brecher ’93, general counsel for New Enterprise Associates (NEA), flew in from Maryland to talk with students about her day-to-day work and career arc, and offered “a few words of wisdom about being a young associate.” She’s well positioned to share helpful information. “We invest in health care, the Internet, information technology—from the newest hearing-aid to the Ubers of the world,” Brecher says.

Her advice: “Learn your craft, get as much exposure as possible, and be responsive to your clients. They can be future colleagues.” Case in point: Former client NEA returned to Brecher when it needed a new general counsel.

“Working with students is fun,” says Sterling. “As alums, I think we all feel connected to the next generation. When we bring business, engineering, and law students together, we’re connecting the disciplines essential to creating new companies.” 

—Linda Peterson

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