Dorian Daley, ’86
Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary, Oracle
Dorian Daley ’86 almost didn’t go to law school. In her freshman year at Stanford, one of her two brothers, a student at a law school other than SCU, had the entire contents of his study cubicle stolen, including a piece of paper in his typewriter. By her senior year, both brothers had completed law school. "They didn’t seem to have enjoyed it much," she recalls.
After graduating from Stanford with a degree in history, Daley got a job as a paralegal at Pillsbury, Madison & Sutro (now Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman) in San Francisco. Working with Mary Cranston, who would eventually become the first female head of the firm, convinced her to reconsider law.
Daley chose Santa Clara after visiting its campus. "It was a beautiful campus and everybody was incredibly nice. It struck me as a very cooperative environment rather than a cutthroat, competitive pressure-cooker," she recalls.
At SCU, Daley found that both the administration and the faculty took "a very practical, commonsense approach to the law, in addition to stressing knowledge, preparation, and integrity." Daley adopted this approach to practicing law and has successfully used it for 22 years. (Daley’s playing on Santa Clara Law’s women’s flag football team, which by 1983 was called the Attractive Nuisances, may not be a huge factor in her career success. However, it did provide her a way to get physical activity, something that she loved as a child growing up with her two brothers and twin sister in a rural, grape-producing area near Lodi.)
Daley clerked at the District Attorney’s Office in Manhattan during her third year of law school. Upon graduation, after a trip to Micronesia, where her brother was an attorney general, she became an associate at Landels, Ripley & Diamond in San Francisco, working in complex litigation. In 1992, she joined Oracle, the world’s largest enterprise software company. An in-house position appealed to her because she enjoyed "developing close relationships with clients and solving complex problems."
"The biggest challenge," Daley says, "is the breadth of issues we face and ensuring that we have the depth of understanding necessary to provide real value to the client—Oracle Corporation and its shareholders. But the challenges are the very things that make the work incredibly interesting and rewarding."
Daley unwinds by spending time with her family, as well as swimming, reading, playing the guitar, and doing "very physical work" in her gardens in San Carlos and Santa Cruz. Her husband of nearly 20 years, Michael, who has a high tech background, mans the home front with one of the couple’s two teenage sons, and spends his spare time on a project involving green technologies. The couple’s oldest son is a freshman in college.