Steven Meyer J.D. ’89

Santa Clara Law Alumnus Steven Meyer J.D. ‘89 has joined Tucker Ellis LLP as a partner.

“I grew up in a small New Mexico town, Los Alamos, which you’re aware of if you saw Oppenheimer. It’s where the atomic bomb was invented. My dad who had multiple graduate degrees, including a Ph.D., worked in development there,” said Meyer. “When I was applying to college, he suggested that if I was going to study business, combine it with engineering, so I did. And then while I was at UCLA, I discovered political science, added that, and sub-majored in international relations and jurisprudence.”

Meyer graduated in 1984 from the University of California, Los Angeles, earning both a Bachelor of Science in Systems Science and Economics and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science within five years. Systems science and economics gave Meyer a foundational education in business and engineering.

“I wanted to be a trial attorney from the get-go. There was a famous attorney at the time that I was going to UCLA, a guy named Vincent Bugliosi, who wrote ‘Helter Skelter.’ Bugliosi was an L.A. district attorney. I thought that I wanted to be a district attorney,” said Meyer. “And since one of the best district attorney offices in California was the Alameda DA’s office and Santa Clara, based on my LSAT scores, offered me nearly a 100% scholarship, it was the perfect dovetail of financial aid and location.”

“As a first year law student, I worked for a boutique firm in L.A., Augustini & Wheeler, which was comprised of trial specialists, and they told me what I tell any trial attorney: ‘Take all the courses you can that are specific to what you are actually going to do, so evidence, trial advocacy and remedies,’” said Meyer.

In 1989, Meyer earned his Juris Doctor degree, graduating cum laude, from Santa Clara University School of Law. After law school, Meyer joined Augustini & Wheeler LLP full time. “I went there and I was fortunate enough to second chair my first trial six months after passing the bar,” said Meyer. 

Meyer’s diverse background worked in his favor. He had worked for the UCLA Police Department and had also been an EMT. He reflected, “The background of engineering, understanding police, and understanding medicine meant that I could pop in and out of a lot of different types of law practice areas.”

In 1996, Meyer joined Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith LLP. He worked there for the past 28 years. During his storied career, Meyer has tried more than 25 cases to verdict and saved his clients hundreds of millions in damages. Meyer’s arguments also led to aesthetics becoming a factor in the risk-benefit test for strict product liability design defect in the California Jury Instructions-Civil (CACI) and is published appellate law.

Meyer now moves to the next stage of his career with a focus on mentorship. As he joins Tucker Ellis, he shared his advice for those following in his path: “A lot of people go to law school and think that they know exactly what they’re going to do. However, sometimes what you have to do is instead recognize an opportunity and seize it. I never intended to be either a product liability specialist or an environmental lawyer; I just happened to be in the right place at the right time when an opportunity arose.”

Meyer commented on his move to Tucker Ellis, saying, “I joined because of the culture of this firm is what I think all firms should be. It’s inclusive. It’s collaborative. It’s supportive. And I think that in a world, especially the attorney world, where people are competitive, you want to like the people you’re coming to work with, and you want to go into the trenches with them. And this firm epitomized to me inclusivity and collaboration. It is the type of atmosphere where my junior people can thrive.”