2011 Spring Symposium: Speaker Bios


Steven E. Bochner

Chief Executive Officer – Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati
Steven E. Bochner is the chief executive officer and a member of the board of directors of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati. In his nearly 30 years of experience practicing corporate and securities law, Mr. Bochner has served as lead counsel for some of Silicon Valley’s most prominent companies, and has assisted clients in venture capital, public offering, and merger transactions valued in the billions of dollars.  He has also represented numerous start-up companies, as well as leading venture capital and investment banking firms.  From 2002 to 2009, Mr. Bochner was a lecturer on corporate and securities law at the UC Berkeley School of Law, where he designed and taught the “Venture Capital and IPO Law” course. He also has been a lecturer at Stanford Law School, as well as a guest instructor on venture capital and business law issues at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and Berkeley’s Haas School of Business.

In 2005, Mr. Bochner was appointed as a member of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Advisory Committee on Smaller Public Companies. He is co-chair of the Nasdaq Listing and Hearing Review Council, on which he has served since 1996.  He served as chairman of the Governance and Disclosure Subcommittee of the SEC Advisory Committee and also served on the California Department of Corporations’ Securities Regulation Advisory Committee.

Mr. Bochner frequently speaks on a variety of securities law topics for the Practising Law Institute (PLI) and is a co-chair of PLI’s Annual Institute on Securities Regulation in New York City. He is also a member of the executive committee of, and frequent speaker at, the Northwestern Securities Regulation Institute in San Diego. He has been a frequent panelist at the SEC’s Small Business Forum in Washington, D.C. Mr. Bochner is also chairman of the advisory board for the Berkeley Center for Law and Business (BCLB).


Thomas Brown

Partner – O’Melveny & Myers LLP
Tom Brown is a partner in O’Melveny & Myers’s San Francisco office and a member of the Financial Services Practice.  His practice focuses on competition law and legal issues affecting the financial services industry.

Mr. Brown has been litigating cases, including class actions, in the financial services industry for more than a decade.  He was a member of the trial team that handled the defense of the then largest civil antitrust class action in U.S. history for Visa U.S.A. Inc., In re Visa Check/MasterMoney Antitrust Litigation.  He has helped numerous other financial services companies, including Capital One and PayPal, defend against class actions, including an ongoing case challenging the use of PayPal in the eBay marketplace.

Mr. Brown is a recognized authority on consumer payments and antitrust law.  He teaches a course at UC Berkeley School of Law on The Law and Policy of Modern Consumer Payments. His piece Keeping Electronic Money Valuable: The Future of Payments and the Role of Public Authorities was recently included as a chapter in the book Moving Money, edited by Robert E. Litan and Martin Neil Baily.  Earlier this year, he co-authored an article, Credit Where Credit Is Due, on the Credit Card Accountability and Disclosure Act of 2009. 


Mary Dent

General Counsel – Silicon Valley Bank Financial Group
Mary Dent is SVB Financial Group’s general counsel and secretary, responsible for leading the company’s legal department, providing strategic guidance to its management team and board, and spearheading the company’s government affairs efforts. Ms. Dent has more than 15 years of legal experience in the public and private sectors. She joined SVB Financial Group from New Skies Satellites, a global satellite communications service provider based in the Netherlands. While serving as New Skies’ general counsel, she was responsible for all securities and governance matters, including the company’s IPO in 2000 on the NYSE and AEX, as well as all regulatory, contractual, and other legal matters affecting the company. During the past several years, she played a central role in taking New Skies private in 2004, conducting the company’s second IPO on the NYSE in 2005, and in its recent sale to a strategic buyer. Currently, she is a member of the board of Silicon Valley Campaign for Legal Services and Joint Venture: Silicon Valley.


Eric Finseth

Partner at Mayer Brown – BCLB Research Fellow
Eric Finseth is a corporate and securities lawyer who represents clients with respect to corporate transactional, securities regulatory and corporate governance matters.  In corporate transactions, Mr. Finseth has broad experience spanning public and private mergers and acquisitions, public and private offerings of equity, debt and hybrid securities, the formation of private investment funds such as venture capital funds and real estate investment funds, and the formation and venture capital financing of high tech startup companies.

On securities regulation, Mr. Finseth represents public reporting companies with respect to SEC reporting requirements, compliance with the securities laws, and responses to shareholder proposals.  He also represents banks, hedge funds and other participants in the public markets with respect to a wide spectrum of securities compliance matters, ranging across areas such as the federal regulation of proxy solicitations, Schedule 13D/G filings and the formation of Section 13(d) “groups,” Section 16 reporting and liability, insider trading regulation, and the treatment of derivatives under applicable law.  

On corporate governance, Mr. Finseth advises clients on matters such as the NYSE and Nasdaq corporate governance requirements, board and committee structure and operation, the duties of individual directors and officers, and reducing the risk of personal liability.  

In 2005 and 2006, Mr Finseth served as an Attorney Fellow at the Securities and Exchange Commission in Washington, D.C., Division of Corporation Finance, Office of Chief Counsel, and was detailed to work directly with Division Director John White.  His work with the agency included attention to interpretive, enforcement, appellate litigation, legislative and rulemaking matters, including the SEC’s new executive compensation and option grant disclosure rules.  

In Fall 2010, Mr. Finseth joined BCLB as a Research Fellow in securities regulation and corporate governance. He also teaches corporate governance at the UC Berkeley School of Law.


Erik Gerding

Associate Professor of Law – University of New Mexico School of Law
Erik Gerding joined the UNM law faculty in 2006 after practicing in the New York and Washington, D.C. offices of Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP. His practice at the firm included representing clients in securities offerings, financings, mergers and acquisitions and joint ventures, with a particular focus on cross-border transactions. He also advised clients on securities regulatory and enforcement matters.

At the UNM School of Law, Professor Gerding teaches business law courses, including business associations and commercial law, as well as law and economics.

Professor Gerding’s research interests include securities, banking and other financial regulation, corporate governance and community economic development. For the last several years, he has been working on projects involving securities and corporate law during asset price bubbles and periods of market volatility. His current writing and teaching focuses on the causes and cures of the subprime mortgage crisis.


William S. Haraf

Commissioner – California Department of Financial Institutions
State Banking Supervisory Representative – Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC)
William Haraf was sworn in as Commissioner, Department of Financial Institutions, for the state of California on April 8, 2008. As Commissioner, he has statutory responsibility for the performance of all duties, the exercise of all powers and jurisdiction, and the discharge of all responsibilities vested by law in the Department. In his current capacity, he is also vice chairman of the board of the Conference of State Bank Supervisors as well as the state banking supervisory representative on the Financial Stability Oversight Council established by Dodd-Frank.

From 2005 until his swearing in, Mr. Haraf was an independent consultant with the Promontory Financial Group and a Visiting Professor in the Graduate School of Management at the University of California at Davis. He had previously been Managing Director and Chief of Staff at Banc of America Securities, and before that Senior Vice President, Strategic Policy Development and Planning for Bank of America. Prior to joining Bank of America, Mr. Haraf was Director of Policy Analysis with Citicorp in Washington D.C.

Previously, Mr. Haraf was the J. Edward Lundy Scholar and Director of the Financial Markets Project at the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research in Washington D.C.  He served as special assistant to the Chairman and senior staff economist to the President’s Council of Economic Advisors in the Reagan Administration and was assistant professor of Economics at Brown University from 1979 to 1983. He received his Ph.D. in economics from the University of Washington in Seattle in 1979.


Gail Hillebrand

Senior Attorney and Manager, Financial Services Campaign – Consumers Union
Gail Hillebrand is a Senior Attorney at the West Coast Office of Consumers Union, nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports magazine. Ms. Hillebrand manages the credit and finance advocacy team and leads Consumers Union’s Financial Services campaign. Her issues include banking, consumer credit, payments, identity theft, the Community Reinvestment Act, arbitration reform, electronic commerce, consumer legal rights and remedies, and the Uniform Commercial Code revision process.  
Ms. Hillebrand is the 2004 recipient of the National Consumer Law Center’s Vern Countryman Award. She is a member of the American Law Institute. She is the former founding chair and board member of the California Reinvestment Committee, a statewide coalition working to encourage financial institutions to serve low-income consumers and neighborhoods. Ms. Hillebrand has served on the Consumer Advisory Council to the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve, and on the boards of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition and the San Francisco Women Lawyers Alliance.


Dwight M. Jaffee

Professor – Haas School of Business, University of California at Berkeley
Dwight M. Jaffee is the Willis Booth Professor of Banking, Finance, and Real Estate at the Haas School of Business, University of California at Berkeley, where has taught since 1991. He previously taught for many years in the economics department of Princeton University. Professor Jaffee is a member of the Haas School’s Finance and Real Estate groups, and is Co-Chair of the Fisher Center for Real Estate and Urban Economics, a UC Berkeley campus research center.

Professor Jaffee’s primary areas of research are real estate finance (especially mortgage backed securitization and the government sponsored enterprises) and insurance (including financial guarantee, earthquakes, terrorism, and auto). Recent research papers in the real estate field relate to the subprime mortgage crisis, US mortgage market policy, and the role of the government sponsored enterprises.  Overall, Professor Jaffee has authored 6 books and over 100 articles.

Professor Jaffee has served in advisory roles for the World Bank, the Federal Reserve System, the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight, and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. He is currently a public interest director on the Genworth Financial Contra Mutual Fund and a member of the Academic Advisory Board for Fitch Ratings. Professor Jaffee is also a member of the advisory board for the Berkeley Center for Law and Business (BCLB).


Mark D. Perlow

Partner – K&L Gates
Mr. Perlow served as senior counsel in the Office of the General Counsel of the Securities and Exchange Commission from 1998 to 1999, focusing on investment management, fund and corporate governance, and enforcement.  He also served in the SEC’s Division of Enforcement from 1994 to 1997.  While on the SEC staff, Mr. Perlow worked on regulatory initiatives on fund governance, the scope of the securities laws online, codes of ethics, personal trading of investment personnel, and foreign custody of fund assets, and he advised the SEC on enforcement actions involving funds and investment advisers.  He also served as senior attorney on a number of enforcement actions and investigations, including the W.R. Grace 21(a) Report on independent directors’ duties, and cases involving accounting fraud, market manipulation, insider trading, and broker-dealer sales abuses.  Prior to government service, Mr. Perlow was associated with a California law firm and represented technology companies on corporate, securities, and intellectual property matters.

Mr. Perlow’s current practice focuses on investment management and securities law.  He regularly represents mutual funds, hedge fund managers, investment advisers, fund boards of directors, and broker-dealers on a variety of regulatory and transactional matters.


John A.E. Pottow

Professor of Law – University of Michigan School of Law
John A. E. Pottow is an internationally recognized expert in the field of bankruptcy and commercial law. His award-winning scholarship concentrates on the issues involved in the regulation of cross-border insolvencies as well as consumer financial distress. He has published in prominent legal journals in the United States and Canada and testified before Congress. An oft-invited lecturer, he has presented his works at academic conferences around the world and frequently provides commentary for national and international media outlets such as NPR, CNBC, CNN, C-SPAN and the BBC.

Mr. Pottow joined the University of Michigan School of Law faculty in 2003. Prior to coming to Michigan, he worked at several bankruptcy firms, including Weil, Gotshal and Manges of New York and the former Hill & Barlow of Boston. His practice focused on debtor representation in complex Chapter 11 restructurings. He was also an active pro bono litigator whose cases included representing a gender-based asylum seeker from Afghanistan in U.S. Immigration Court and a small bankruptcy party before the U.S. Supreme Court.


Nancy Wallace

Professor – Haas School of Business, University of California at Berkeley
Nancy Wallace is a Full Professor and the California Chair of Real Estate and Urban Economics at the Haas School of Business, the University of California, Berkeley.  She is
Chair of the Real Estate Group, Co-Chair of the Fisher Center for Real Estate and Urban Economics and a member of Haas Finance Faculty.  She teaches asset-backed securitization, real estate investment analysis, real estate strategy, and real estate finance at Haas.  Her research focus includes residential house price dynamics, mortgage contract design and pricing, mortgage backed security pricing and hedging, lease contract design and pricing, and executive compensation. 

She has served as a visiting scholar at the San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank, the Université de Cergy Pointoise, Centre de Recherche THEMA (Théorie Economique, Modélisation, et Applications), and the Stockholm School of Economics.  Professor Wallace is a past President of the American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association and a past member of the AREUEA Board of Directors.  She is on the editorial board of the Journal of Computational Finance. Professor Wallace is also a co-faculty director and member of the advisory board for the Berkeley Center for Law and Business (BCLB).


John D. Wright

Chief Regulatory Counsel – Wells Fargo Company
John D. Wright is Chief Regulatory Counsel and manager of the Regulation and Compliance Section of the Law Department at Wells Fargo & Company in San Francisco. He is responsible for corporate bank and bank holding company regulatory matters. He previously had responsibility for attorneys handling technology services, intellectual property, securities brokerage, and insurance. In prior positions with Wells Fargo and one of its predecessor banks, Crocker National Bank, Mr. Wright also handled matters relating to credit card and home equity lending, privacy and information sharing, and bank operations. He has also practiced securities and banking law at the Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison and Graham & James law firms in San Francisco. He is a graduate of Stanford University and Yale Law School. Mr. Wright is also a trustee on the Tamalpais Union High School District Board in Marin County. Mr. Wright is also a member of the advisory board for the Berkeley Center for Law and Business (BCLB).