Anthony McCusker co-leads Goodwin Procter’s Technology Companies practice, which interconnects business, emerging science, new technologies and the law. With more than 160 attorneys nationwide, Goodwin’s Technology Companies Practice is one of the largest in the United States and represents more than 2,000 technology-based companies, including a third of Fortune 100 companies. Anthony serves as the honorary chair of the Charter Hill Society for Silicon Valley. He joined us for a conversation about his work and his path as a UC Berkeley alum.
You graduated from UC Berkeley with degrees in political economy and law. How has your Berkeley education served you in your professional path and more broadly?
Like so many Berkeley alums, my Berkeley education has served me well in countless ways. Specifically, the study of political economy contains few, if any, boundaries between academic disciplines. While this diversity of choice initially taught me how little I actually knew, it evolved into a desire to explore and continue learning long after I left Berkeley’s campus. In addition, studying a variety of disciplines taught me to always consider and respect opposing perspectives. These two simple lessons -- a desire to continually learn and a respect for opposing viewpoints -- are the two most significant lessons I uncovered while at Berkeley.
You have been a generous supporter of UC Berkeley and you serve as an honorary chair of the Charter Hill Society for the social sciences. What led you to give back to Berkeley?
Returning to campus -- for any reason -- still excites me. There is an energy and purpose that is unlike anywhere else. When on campus, I am grateful for my incredible experience as a student and I am inspired by today’s student body. I give back to Berkeley because I hope today’s students and those of the future will have an experience as fulfilling as mine. Joining the Charter Hill Society is a directed way to support an academic discipline that you want to see thrive.
You specialize in new technologies, and you oversee Founder’s Workbench, an online resource for start-ups, emerging companies and the entrepreneurial community. Tell us more about what drew you to this area of law practice, and about this initiative and what audiences it serves.
I am a corporate lawyer, and was drawn to working with technology companies because I wanted to use my abilities to further innovation. It is incredibly rewarding to help -- in a small way -- an entrepreneur fulfill his or her vision. We started Founder’s Workbench, which provides entrepreneurs with form agreements and advice when starting a business, as a way to democratize access to legal advice at the company formation stage; and these resources are all available to anyone free of charge. In technology hubs, like Silicon Valley, entrepreneurs have ready access to ecosystems of advisors and service providers who help them start businesses in the right way. Entrepreneurship and innovation, however, occurs worldwide and we wanted to do our part to help entrepreneurs launch their businesses and fulfill their visions.
The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the workplace across fields and geographic locations. How has it impacted your work?
Remarkably, our deal work -- venture financings, M&A and capital markets work -- has so far been resilient and remained consistent. We best deliver this work to clients when our team collaborates closely. The biggest challenge we’ve faced is adapting the way we work to ensure we find ways to collaborate while we’re all working remotely.
What advice would you give to the graduating class of 2020?
I learned how to think and how to learn while at Berkeley. Graduating from Berkeley is0 just the beginning of a life full of opportunities to learn. Embrace these opportunities. And, while it sounds cliche, use these learnings to pursue the profession you want, not the job you get. If you are doing what you love and are a lifelong learner, you will be successful and wildly happy.