Misha Tsukerman: 2016 Best and Brightest

by Jeff Schmitt on

Misha TsukermanMisha Tsukerman

University of California, Berkeley, School of Law

Hometown: Foster City, California

Undergraduate School: UCLA

Undergraduate Major and Minor: Major in History, Minor in Asian American Studies

 

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During Law School:

  • 1L Year: Member, Tenant’s Rights Workshop; Associate Editor, Berkeley Technology Law Journal; Member, Asian American Law Journal; Member, Asian Pacific American Law Student Association
  • 2L Year: Co-President, Asian Pacific American Law Student Association; Articles Editor, Berkeley Technology Law Journal; Symposium Editor, Asian American Law Journal; Member, Coalition for Diversity
  • 3L Year: Managing Editor, Berkeley Technology Law Journal; Circulations Editor, Asian American Law Journal, Member, Asian Pacific American Law Student Association; Member, Coalition for Diversity

Where have you interned during law school? The Chambers of The Honorable Colleen McMahon, Southern District of New York; Skadden, Arps, Slate Meagher & Flom LLP in Palo Alto and New York City

What practice area will you be specializing in after graduation? I will be working in general litigation with a strong interest in government and regulatory law.

Why did you choose to attend law school? Before law school I worked in politics. I loved the public service, and the interpersonal, and intellectual nature of the work. But I needed more stability in my life. I wanted to join a profession. When you work for an elected official, if they lose their next election, you lose your job. As someone who’d like to raise a family one day, that’s a scary prospect. I believed that being a lawyer would give me all the things I liked about working in politics but with relatively more stability.

What was your favorite law school class? My favorite law school class was Administrative Law (and for similar reasons Federal Courts). Admin Law really gets to the nature of what we, as a society, want the role of government to be and how we can best structure our system to be fair, efficient, and get things right. There’s something special about democracy that we take for granted. It’s the idea that we can create our own rules and govern ourselves based on our own logic and shared goals instead of being ruled by gods or royalty. We take that for granted, but my parents grew up in China and the USSR where this idea can get you in some sticky situations. I felt like these two classes take that big idea and really see how it works when the rubber hits the road.

Which attorney do you most admire? The attorney I most admire is William Hamilton Houston. He was an NAACP attorney and the architect of the legal strategy that eventually lead to the landmark decision in Brown v. Board of Education. I first learned about him in college and to me, he has always stood for the idea that long term strategic work building on incremental change can accomplish great things and move our society toward justice.

What have you enjoyed most about law school? The community at Boalt Hall (most of us still call it that) is wonderful. Students here are just incredibly kind and supportive. A lot of my friends at other schools have told me how cutthroat it can be, but you get almost none of that here. We don’t gun, we help each other. Students here are also really engaged with the world and there is a strong social justice spirit even among the students headed to big law. There’s also just a lot of fun semi-secret things at Boalt. No one knows who plans bar review or a number of other yearly pranks. No one knows the identity of Uncle Zeb, the writer of a snarky advice column housed in the school library. Law school is inherently a grinding experience, but as far as the grind goes it’s probably the most fun at Berkeley.

What word best describes your professional brand? Loyalty, Humor, and Service. Honestly, this is a pretty hard question to answer but I’ve always prided myself on my moral character and work ethic, all while not taking myself more seriously than necessary.

If you were debt free, how would you spend your first paycheck after landing your first law job? I’d travel. I’m going to travel anyway, hopefully to Southeast Asia and India for my bar trip.

“I knew I wanted to go to law school when…I took Asian Americans and the Law at UCLA with Stewart Kwoh and Kent Wong. Learning about tragedies like the case of Vincent Chin, and victories like coram nobis case for Japanese American internees, made me want to be involved with the legal system.”

“If I didn’t go to law school, I would be…a marine biologist. The deep sea is just super cool.”

Which academic or personal achievement are you most proud of? The academic achievement I’m most proud of is getting my article “The Block is Hot: A Survey of the State of Bitcoin Regulation and Suggestions for the Future” published in our Berkeley Technology Law Journal’s Annual Review edition. The process of writing and editing the piece took most of my 2L year and is responsible for the roughest all-nighter I’ve pulled since undergrad.

Fun fact about yourself: I’ve written over 2,600 Yelp reviews.

Favorite book: Most recently, Michael Chabon’s “The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay

Favorite movie: Face/Off

What are your hobbies? Watching the NBA Champion Golden State Warriors, cycling, trying new restaurants, and talking about politics, culture, and sports. I also collect sneakers.

What made Misha such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2016? “As you can see from Misha’s list of extracurricular activities and community work, he is without a doubt one of the most active leaders in the Berkeley Law community. Misha is the first to step up and contribute his time and energy to the needs of the school and his classmates. This includes diversity initiatives, outreach to prospective students, mentoring 1Ls, or collaborating with staff and faculty on ways to make the law school better. How he manages to balance all of his service to the school, while maintaining a high level of academic achievement, constantly amazes and impresses us. He approaches issues thoughtfully and really cares about giving back both to the school and the community at large. And then, on top of all of that, Misha is a true pleasure to be around – funny and easy going, with a healthy perspective on what’s important and the need to balance the serious with the fun.

We have no doubt that Misha will continue to do great things in the future and will remain a leader in the legal community. He’s been an invaluable addition to the Class of 2016 and we’ll miss him dearly after he graduates.”

Kim Natividad
Director of Student Services
University of California, Berkeley, School of Law

 

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