Leadership Lunch Talks Spring 2023

leadership lunch series

This semester, the Berkeley Center for Law and Business (BCLB) hosts a dynamic lineup of in-house counsel as part of our Leadership Lunch Series, co-sponsored by the Berkeley Business Law Journal! 
All lunch talks are held from 12:45-1:45 PM PT at the law school and are reserved for current law students, faculty and staff. Q&A will be moderated by a BBLJ Board Member and registration is highly recommended. 
Thank you to all BCLB sponsors who have helped us build the world’s most innovative, and socially conscious, business law program!


Alan Denenberg

Alan Denenberg | Davis Polk

Paula Gergen

Paula Gergen (JD ’19)  | Davis Polk


A conversation about how initial public offerings, IPOs, work from a finance and process perspective. Led by Alan Denenberg, partner at Davis Polk and expert on capital markets and M&A and Paula Gergen, associate at Davis Polk and Berkeley Law class of 2019 alum.


Joe Santiesteban

Joe Santiesteban (JD ’14) | Orrick

Melissa Levin

Melissa Levin (JD ’19) | Orrick

Kate Bulger

Kate Bulger (JD ’24) | Orrick


A conversation with Joseph Santiesteban (JD ’14), partner at Orrick,  Melissa Levin (JD ’19), associate at Orrick & current UC Berkeley Law 2L Kate Bulger (JD ’24) about Life in Cyber Law – Data Breach Preparedness, Response, Litigation, and Enforcement. 


Michelle Fernandes

Michelle Fernandes | Index

Andrew Person

Andrew Person | Gunderson Dettmer

Gina Marek

Gina Marek | Gunderson Dettmer


A conversation with Andrew Person of Gunderson and Michelle Fernandes of Index about venture capital, particularly its place amidst the economic turmoil of the last couple of years. Moderated by Gina Marek, partner at Gunderson Dettmer.


Benjamin Clinger

Benjamin Clinger | Kirkland & Ellis


A crash course on private equity, led by Benjamin Clinger, a private equity expert and partner at Kirkland & Ellis.


Andrea Basham

Andrea Basham | Freshfields

Joseph Halloum

Joseph Halloum | Freshfields

Paul Tiger

Paul Tiger | Freshfields

February 8

The COVID-19 pandemic, recession, and political turmoil of the past several years have had a substantial impact on business transactions. This talk will dive into the nuances of completing mergers and acquisitions in the current political and economic landscape.



Kyle Krpata | Weil


Nicholas Doloresco | Weil


This talk features private equity experts Kyle Krpata and Nicholas Doloresco from Weil, and discusses the process of acquiring a venture capital backed startup. 


Olga Terets

Olga Terets | Morrison & Foerster

Benjamin Fox

Benjamin T. Fox | Morrison & Foerster


Associates Olga Terets and Benjamin Fox of Morrison & Foerster come together in this talk to discuss ESG and the work that firms and corporations are doing to support sustainable practices.


Tara Capsuto

Tara Capsuto (JD ’14) | Cooley

Nicolas Francis

Nicolas Francis | Cooley

Meera Patel

Meera Patel (JD ’19) | Cooley


This talk will discuss how to give legal advice to companies during economic down times. Featuring attorneys Tara Capsuto and Nicolas Francis and associate Meera Patel from Cooley.


Brandon Berns

Branden Berns | Gibson Dunn

Courtney Wang

Courtney Wang (JD ’20) | Gibson Dunn

Olivia Field

Olivia Field | Gibson Dunn

Melanie Neary 

Melanie Neary | Gibson Dunn


This talk will discuss the day in the life of big law corporate associates in the Bay Area. Featuring Gibson Dunn associates Melanie Neary, Olivia Field, and Courtney Wang (JD ’20) and moderated by partner, Branden Berns.


Pete Jones

Pete Jones | Skadden

Elena Pinsker

Elena Pinsker | Skadden


A talk on mergers and acquisitions featuring corporate counsel Pete Jones and corporate associate Elena Pinsker from Skadden.


korman martin

Martin Korman | Wilson Sonsini

Katharine Martin

Katharine Martin | Wilson Sonsini

Brad Sorrels

Brad Sorrels | Wilson Sonsini

Alan Klein

Alan Klein | Simpson Thacher


Wilson Sonsini represented Twitter in its acquisition by Elon Musk. Martin Korman, Katharine Martin, and Brad Sorrels, lead transaction counsel for Twitter in the matter, together with Alan Klein of Simpson Thacher, co-counsel who represented the Twitter Board, will discuss the monumental deal and the collaborative team efforts to work together to get major deals over the finish line.


Sepideh Nasiri - Author Biography

Sepideh Nasiri | Founder and CEO of Women of MENA

Susan Akbarpour

Susan Akbarpour | Managing Partner at Candou Ventures 

Shirin Behzadi

Shirin Behzadi |Former CEO of Home Franchise Concepts

Mori Taheripour

Mori Taheripour | Wharton School of Business

Maryam Naghavi

Maryam Naghavi | Dechert


Powered by the Women in Business Law Initiative. This panel discussion will explore the various challenges women face in the profession and how to overcome them. Featuring Sepideh Nasiri, Susan Akbarpour, Shirin Behzadi, and Mori Taheripour. Moderated by Maryam Naghavi.