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Markkula Center for Applied Ethics


Sophia Cope

Sophia Cope

Sophia Cope '99

Civil Liberties Attorney, The Electronic Frontier Foundation

When Sophia Cope ‘99 was a student at Santa Clara University she served as a reflection leader for the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics. After undergoing training on ethics and leadership, Cope was sent out to facilitate reflection sessions for various groups on campus—from the regents of the school to the Santa Clara Community Action Program (SCCAP)—with the goal of getting participants to engage in dialogue about their personal experiences.

Today, Cope works to encourage dialogue in a different way—fighting for free speech and privacy rights as a civil liberties attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation in San Francisco. She has taken on pro bono, “David vs. Goliath” cases…and won.

In one case, she defended a local environmental activist who had been sued by a big L.A. real estate developer. Cope’s firm successfully argued that their client had the right to oppose the developer’s project under the First Amendment, and the lawsuit was dismissed.

Cope’s takeaway from the Student Reflection Leaders program was that thinking about what you’re doing and not overacting can be very powerful. “We really got people to talk about their experiences and what was motivating them and what they were learning,” she remembers.  She believes the program helped to teach her to be an introspective person.

“Why are we doing something? What are our values? How do our actions reflect our values? There are always lessons to be learned in any given situation,” she says.

Cope knows that SCU’s mission is to produce graduates who are not just well educated, but who also give back to their communities. She loves her job, and she’s honored to be fighting for civil liberties and directly impacting her community in a positive way.

Following her graduation from SCU with a degree in biology and minor in communication, Cope worked for a Silicon Valley public relations agency. She earned her law degree from UC Hastings in 2004 and has worked as a lawyer for the last twelve years, in Washington, D.C. and the Bay Area.