Scott Shipman

Associate General Counsel, eBay

Scott Shipman The Silicon Valley start-up was 70 employees strong—and growing—when Scott Shipman was an intern back in the summer of 1998. The company’s one lawyer urgently needed help with his galloping workload. Shipman, interning for credit through Santa Clara University School of Law, found himself dividing up the legal baskets with the lawyer, from user agreements and domain names to privacy policy, Internet advertising, and commercial agreements.

 We did as much as we could as fast and furiously as we could,” recalls Shipman. Internet law was a new frontier. “We were making it up as we went along.”

“There’s no book that’s going to tell you what you’re going to do. That’s what was exciting. It was taking the principles that you learned in law school and applying them on a daily basis as an intern.”

In fact, Shipman was contributing to the emerging business profile of a niche company that ran online auctions.

That fall the company went public—the eBay explosion was underway. Shipman went back to classes but also kept his job, and after law school signed on with eBay as a full attorney. Today, he holds the longevity record among the company’s legal team of more than 100 worldwide—eBay now employs some 8,000 people —as well as the title of privacy counsel, overseeing all matters relating to online privacy.

 “I’d done the right things without even knowing it,” he says looking back on the phenomenal growth of the company whose mission is to provide “a global trading platform where practically anyone can trade practically anything.” Shipman ’99 credits a law school internship at Honda in Tokyo, the summer before he joined eBay, with revving him up to a singleminded focus on high tech.

His incredible fortune is the dream of law students—a combination of hard work, skill and the always-elusive luck, perhaps unfathomable for many. But like Shipman, more than a few graduates of Santa Clara Law have joined an enviable club: the fraternity of Bay Area in-house counsel. The Silicon Valley boom found Santa Clara law grads poised to take up residence in the area’s growing roster of corporate legal offices, and today they are general counsel and in-house lawyers at top companies throughout the region.