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June 2016

Tom Lavelle, HTLI managing director

Tom Lavelle, HTLI managing director

High Tech Leadership

Tech Company Law Expert Tom Lavelle to Become Managing Director of Santa Clara University School of Law’s High Tech Law Institute

Veteran technology counsel has been named managing director of the High Tech Law Institute.

SANTA CLARA, Calif., June 22, 2016 — Veteran technology counsel Tom Lavelle, J.D. ’76,  has been named managing director of Santa Clara University’s acclaimed High Tech Law Institute.

The High Tech Law Institute (HTLI) serves as the hub for numerous high tech law specialties, including intellectual property, biotech, and privacy at Santa Clara University School of Law. Founded in 1998, Santa Clara Law’s high tech law program is currently ranked as the 6th best in the country by U.S. News & World Report.

Lavelle previously served as general counsel for Rambus and Xilinx after having spent 16 years in senior legal positions at Intel. He served briefly as VP and general counsel for Steve Jobs at NeXT Computer, a company Jobs created in the 1980s, which was bought by Apple. Lavelle  is a member of the law school’s Board of Visitors and has served as a member of the High Tech Law Advisory Board for a number of years.  He also currently serves as a director of the Intel Alumni Network, a local nonprofit organization.

“Tom Lavelle has built up wonderful connections in Silicon Valley and has decades of valuable experience helping technology companies navigate the technology law landscape,” said Lisa Kloppenberg, dean of Santa Clara University School of Law. “We are delighted that this highly dedicated and accomplished alumnus will be helping lead HTLI, ensuring that our students are well prepared to meet the needs and demands of tech leaders worldwide.”

“Tom has been a luminary in the legal industry for many years, building a strong network of leaders and innovators in the Valley,” added Jeremiah Chan, legal director, global patents at Google. “His deep knowledge of the law and extensive experience make him the perfect person to help lead the High Tech Law Institute into the future.”

HTLI coordinates activities to prepare students and graduates for cutting-edge careers with law firms, corporations, and startups, including:

  • Certificate programs for students, including the popular High Tech Law Certificate and the new Privacy Law Certificate.
  • Entrepreneurs’ Law Clinic, which last year enabled 91 students to gain hands-on experience advising 79 different startups on legal issues.
  • In-House Counsel Institute, the law school’s newest executive education opportunity, which Lavelle helped design to assist attorneys in better serving the in-house legal needs of high tech companies.

Professors from HTLI regularly advise policy leaders, including those at the White House’s science and tech policy office and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in San Jose.

For the past three years, Lavelle has helped to launch the law school’s Entrepreneurs’ Law Clinic, working with SCU Law Professor Laura Norris.  Since 2013 he has been in  private practice, representing small start-up companies as de facto outside general counsel, handling a wide range of legal issues and business advising.

“I am excited  to return to my Santa Clara Law roots and to join the High Tech Law Institute. I look forward to working with its world-class faculty to ensure our students, faculty, and industry partners are focused on the technology law issues that are important now, and for the globalizing and complex future ahead,” said Lavelle.

“Tom Lavelle’s depth of experience and reputation in the Silicon Valley legal community are second to none,” said Brian Love, co-director of HTLI. “He will add an extra dose of enthusiasm and entrepreneurial spirit to everything we do.” 

“As one of the leading lights in the Silicon Valley legal community for over 30 years, Tom brings a wealth of wisdom and practical  experience to Santa Clara Law’s High Tech Law Institute,” said Aaron J. Alter, a former partner at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, who is now EVP and chief legal officer of Hawaiian Airlines. “The Institute is fortunate to have such an accomplished attorney at its helm.”

Lavelle received his J.D. in 1976 cum laude from Santa Clara University School of Law, and his B.A. from the University of California, Los Angeles.

About Santa Clara University School of Law
Santa Clara University School of Law, one of the nation’s most diverse law schools, is dedicated to educating lawyers who lead with a commitment to excellence, ethics, and social justice. Santa Clara Law offers students an academically rigorous program including certificates in high tech law, international law, public interest and social justice law, and privacy law, as well as numerous graduate and joint degree options.  Located in the heart of Silicon Valley, Santa Clara Law is nationally distinguished for its faculty engagement, preparation for practice, and top-ranked programs in intellectual property.  or more information, see 

Media Contact
Deborah Lohse | SCU Media Relations | | 408-554-5121

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