Claude Stern '80 is determined to make the world a better place than when he landed in it.

When Claude Stern ’80 was five years old, his grandmother told him the Almighty gives each person a single box of energy to use during their lifetime. And at the rate he was going, she said his would be all used up before he was an old man.

“I hope she’s wrong,” says Stern, who will turn 64 in September and describes himself as “indefatigable,” particularly in his determination to make the world a better place than when he landed in it.

“One of the characteristics of our species that scares me is short-sightedness,” he says. “We don’t think about what’s important tomorrow, and we’re facing calamitous situations that have long-term repercussions.”

Stern’s particular method of working toward the betterment of the world is most exhilarating, he says, when he gets the chance to right injustices.

“When I have been asked to represent a small company against a Goliath abusing its authority, or when my client is a victim of some unscrupulous party who is trying to take advantage of an unfair situation,” he says, “that is exhilarating.”

And yet, even with his successes in the courtroom, when asked about his proudest professional achievements to date, the ones that come to mind are not related to work he’s done for clients or law firms, but rather the contributions he’s made through mentorship. Evette Pennypacker (UC Hastings, Class of 1999), who began to work him with as a second-year law student in 1998, is now a judge on the Superior Court of Santa Clara County. Another lawyer he worked with continuously for six years, Rodger Cole, went on to become managing partner at a prestigious law firm with five offices and more than 350 lawyers.

“I like to think that my ability to contribute to their successes is my success too,” Stern says. “I think when it’s all said and done, my proudest achievements aren’t going to be the cases I’ve won that will be forgotten in the annals of time but the ways in which I’ve been able to contribute to the lives of great people. And when they, too, pass that on by contributing to the lives of other great people, the impact will be far-reaching and long-lasting.”

Claude M. Stern is a Partner at Quinn Emanuel, where he serves as Co-Chair of the firm’s National Intellectual Property Litigation Practice. Biography.


About Gamechanger

GAMECHANGER is the way our students–past and present–see the world. It’s the impact our alumni have on local, national and global policy and law. The ideas and events that come from the minds of UC Hastings Law students and faculty help transform the world. UC Hastings Law plans to celebrate its GAMECHANGERS on Thursday, May 9.