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Law School Will Honor Larry Sonsini and Three Outstanding Alumni at May 1 Awards Dinner

Thursday, Apr. 16, 2009

SANTA CLARA, Calif., April 16, 2009 – Santa Clara University School of Law will present its inaugural Santa Clara Law Amicus Award to Larry W. Sonsini, chairman of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, in honor of his outstanding leadership in the legal profession and the community, and the many ways in which he has helped to advance the mission and reputation of Santa Clara Law.

The award will be presented May 1 at the law school’s Celebration of Leadership and Achievement event at the Hyatt Regency Santa Clara, at 6 p.m. 

At the celebration event, Santa Clara Law will also honor Ronald H. Malone, J.D. 71 as the Owens Lawyer of the Year and present this year’s Alumni Special Achievement Award to W. David P. Carey III, J.D. ’81, MBA ’82, and The Honorable Jean High Wetenkamp, J.D. ’76.

Sonsini has been described by Fortune magazine as “the most important lawyer in the most important industry for the past 30 years.” Since 2003, he has served SCU as a trustee, and Santa Clara Law as a member of the Dean’s High Tech Advisory Council. In addition, his firm is a benefactor of SCU’s High Tech Law Institute. In 2004, Sonsini gave the keynote address at the law school’s commencement.

“Larry Sonsini changed the way lawyers provide legal advice and services to the technology industry,” said Santa Clara Law Dean Donald Polden. “His entrepreneurial spirit and creativity in shaping the ways that lawyers protect their clients’ intellectual property made him a leader and visionary in the early days of Silicon Valley, and continues to this day.

“But perhaps his greatest contributions have been to organizations and institutions in Silicon Valley like Santa Clara University,’’ Dean Polden added. “He’s provided us with sustained and sophisticated advice and encouragement, helping us flourish and support others in our community.”

The Owens Lawyer of the Year Award, first presented in 1966, is named for its first recipient, Edwin J. Owens, Dean of Santa Clara Law for 20 years and later Santa Clara County Superior Court judge. The award honors a lawyer who has distinguished him/herself in the profession. He or she should be a person of high moral character and recognized intellectual ability, who is devoted to the highest ideals of professional responsibility and has made significant contributions to the university, the community, and the law.

This year’s recipient, Ronald H. Malone, is a partner at Shartsis Friese in San Francisco and one of the nation’s leading fiduciary litigators. Representing the interests of donors and charitable trusts in some of the nation’s largest and most important cases, Malone is especially respected for his work in the field of donor intent. Over the last few years, he has been in the national spotlight for his work on what the Wall Street Journal called “the largest and most important donor intent case in the history of American philanthropy.”

He represented the Robertson family, which had given a gift, eventually totaling $880 million, to Princeton University. The family alleged that Princeton was abusing the endowment and the donors’ trust. Malone envisioned that the representation would involve a brief investigation, a demand, and a short conversation with the university’s president—and maybe $25,000 in attorneys’ fees. But Princeton launched a tough, multi-million-dollar legal battle before agreeing last December to pay back $101 million to the family foundation.

The Alumni Special Achievement Award was established in 2001 by the university’s Law Alumni Association to publicly recognize outstanding achievements of its alumni. Recipients have distinguished themselves in their profession, community, and in service to humanity.

One of this year’s two recipients, W. David P. Carey III, is president and CEO of Outrigger Enterprises, a privately held leisure lodging and hospitality company. Under his leadership, Outrigger has become one of the largest and fastest growing privately held companies of its kind in the Asia Pacific and Oceania regions, recently opening the $800 million Waikiki Beach Walk hotels, retail, and restaurants complex. A resident of Hawaii, Carey is also active in causes related to education, including working with Hawaii’s Department of Education to strengthen the island’s public schools.

“David Carey is an exceptionally knowledgeable individual with respect to complex real estate development,” said professor Cynthia Mertens, who has invited him to her class as a guest lecturer, to rave reviews. “He has a natural ability to motivate people and to inspire them to explore various options in order to achieve a common goal. He is a true collaborative leader.”


The Honorable Jean High Wetenkamp, also honored this year, retired in 2009 after a long career in criminal law, as a prosecutor and a judge in Santa Clara County.

After 12 years as an assistant district attorney, in 1989 Governor Deukmejian appointed her to the Santa Clara County Municipal Court where she served with distinction, elected by her peers to be presiding judge from 1992–1993. 

For the past decade she has presided over criminal cases as a Superior Court judge, including the case of Richard Archibeque, a handyman convicted in 2009 for the 1977 rape and strangulation murder of a Santa Clara high schooler, and fraudster Lawrence Maschino, who passed himself off as a millionaire who wanted to invest in San Jose arts. She was sentencing judge for drunk driver Nicole Rodriguez, who killed a Cupertino man after driving the wrong way on Highway 85 for 10 miles. And she was the preliminary hearing judge for serial child molester Dean Arthur Schwartzmiller, who kept a notebook on hundreds of victims.

She also led the Superior Court’s efforts to educate state legislators on the role of the court and to review important pieces of legislation.

She conducts herself and her courtroom with much dignity and she is respectful to all who appear before her, said Superior Court Judge John Garibaldi, who was appointed to Municipal Court the same day as Judge Wetenkamp in 1989. “Her rulings and judgments are fair, informative, and legally sound.  We need more judges like her.


About Santa Clara Law
Santa Clara Law, founded in 1911 on the site of California’s oldest operating higher-education institution, is dedicated to educating lawyers who lead with a commitment to excellence, ethics, and social justice. One of the nation’s most diverse law schools, Santa Clara Law offers its 975 students an academically rigorous program, including graduate degrees in international law and intellectual property law; a combined J.D./MBA degree; and certificates in intellectual property law, international law, and public interest and social justice law. Santa Clara Law is located in the world-class business center of Silicon Valley and is distinguished nationally for its top-ranked program in intellectual property. For more information, see


About Santa Clara University

Santa Clara University, a comprehensive Jesuit, Catholic university located 40 miles south of San Francisco in California’s Silicon Valley, offers its 8,758 students rigorous undergraduate curricula in arts and sciences, business, and engineering, plus master’s and law degrees and engineering Ph.D.s. Distinguished nationally by one of the highest graduation rates among all U.S. master’s universities, California’s oldest operating higher-education institution demonstrates faith-inspired values of ethics and social justice. For more information, see


Event Contact: Larry Donatoni, Assistant Dean for Law Alumni and Development

(408) 554-2722


Media Contact: Deborah Lohse, Santa Clara University Media Relations Assistant Director, (408) 554-5121



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