Morgan Chu Elected President of Harvard Board of Overseers

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April 2014

Morgan Chu, a partner in the Los Angeles office of Irell & Manella LLP, has been elected president of the Harvard Board of Overseers, which is the oldest university governing board in the United States. The president is elected by the 30 members of the board.

Harvard President Drew Faust stated that Morgan and the newly elected vice-chair embody “the board’s constant concern for understanding what helps Harvard thrive, challenging us to innovate and do still better, and encouraging us to think across traditional boundaries to see the university as a whole.”

Actively involved in university leadership, Chu currently serves as chair of the board's standing committee on social sciences, as well as on the board's executive committee and the committee on schools, the college and continuing education. He also serves on several visiting committees, including those for the African and African American Studies Department, Department of Economics, Harvard Business School, Harvard Law School, and Harvard Medical School and the School of Dental Medicine.

Widely recognized as one of the nation's preeminent intellectual property lawyers, Chu was named one of the decade's 40 most influential lawyers and one of the top 10 trial lawyers in the nation by the National Law Journal. He was selected as the "Outstanding Intellectual Property Lawyer" in the United States for the first Chambers Award for Excellence in 2006. Chambers has described Chu as “beyond doubt the most gifted trial lawyer in the USA,” who “delivers staggering results for clients.” He started his career at Irell in 1977, was elected partner in 1982, and served two terms as the firm's co-managing partner from 1997 to 2003.

Chu's parents emigrated from China during World War II. He dropped out of high school, but later talked his way into college, and then by age 25 earned five degrees, a B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles; an M.S.L. from Yale University; and a J.D. from Harvard Law School, magna cum laude.

In 2007, Chu received the UCLA Medal, the highest honor bestowed by the university. UCLA recognized Chu's role as a founder of the Asian American Studies Center when he was a student and his "ground breaking approach to intellectual property." Chu's pro bono work has included a successful landmark six-year fight for a death row inmate. Chu is also the longest serving member of the Board of Directors of Public Counsel, the nation's largest pro bono law firm.