Inspired by Loyola Professor, Alum Became Go-To Tech Startup Lawyer
Scott Alderton ’85 received the best advice of his life from a young Loyola Law School, Los Angeles professor when he was a third-year student. He still credits that advice as a formative experience that led him to become one of the top technology business attorneys in Southern California.
Alderton is the managing partner and chairs the venture capital and emerging growth practice group of his 32-lawyer firm, Stubbs Alderton & Markiles, LLP. He has helped launch or nurture a range of tech giants, including Skype, Beats by Dre, LinkedIn and Ring.
The memorable advice came from Professor Therese H. Maynard, now Loyola’s William G. Coskran Professor of Law. Back in 1984, Maynard was an associate professor starting her second year at the Law School. Alderton was her first research assistant, and she was his most important mentor, he says.
Her advice was not to stew about lack of a full-time job offer from the law firm at which he spent a summer clerking. Maynard said if he kept a chip on his shoulder, it would hamper the rest of his career. “Get over it,” she said.
“I took that to heart,” Alderton says. “That was invaluable for me.”
He joined a small securities firm started by another one of his professors, Steve Hirshtick. He stayed there for a year and a half and then moved on to Jones Day, where he could handle big public offerings for major clients.
After several years, Alderton became a partner in a 150-lawyer firm, Hill, Wynne, Troop and Meisinger that in addition to its strong corporate practice, also represented all of the major movie studios. In the mid-1990s, the studios were adopting and developing innovative technologies for film production and distribution. “I was working with clients who were engaged in this thing called the Internet,” says Alderton wryly, noting the nascent technology presented fresh challenges to tech pioneers.
Alderton led a newly created emerging growth and technology group for the firm, and it quickly became one of the largest and best known technology law groups in Los Angeles.
But when that law firm was absorbed by a giant international firm, he and his key colleagues left to set up their own practice. “We decided to be the go-to firm in Los Angeles for emerging growth and technology clients.” At that point in early 2002, no other Los Angeles law firms were actively representing early-stage technology and venture-backed companies or handling technology transactions, he says.
These days, Alderton is considered one of the top attorneys nurturing start-ups and technology companies in Southern California. He advises his technology clients on corporate and securities matters, mergers and acquisitions, licensing, intellectual property and general business affairs.
None of his success would have been possible without Loyola. “Loyola gave me a great legal education and prepared me well,” he says.
In particular, he points to Loyola’s Jesuit focus on ethics for helping instill in him a strong sense of fairness. As one example, he learned evidence and criminal procedure from former professor Michael Josephson, who went on to create the Josephson Institute of Ethics.
“I learned a lot from Loyola, and I’ve translated it into my practice,” Alderton says. “That ethical focus created the foundation for me to be a very practical lawyer.”
Alderton is still active at Loyola with the school’s Business Law Practicum program, serving as a judge in its Transactional Negotiation Team, in which students compete at addressing a complex business problem.
When he speaks to the business law students in the practicum, he points out that Loyola emphasizes practical training and experience, such as the negotiation competition, and has many classes and programs on technology and the law. Those were unknown when he was a student in the early 1980s.
“I tell them that they don’t understand how lucky they are to have all of this,” he says. “Loyola is a great place to learn.”