Alumni of the Year honorees Jessie Kornberg ’07, Rick Runkel ’81 and Justice Audrey Collins ’77 with Dean Jennifer Mnookin.
UCLA School of Law celebrated leaders in the judiciary, technology and public interest law as its 2018 Alumni of the Year. California Court of Appeal Justice Audrey Collins '77, Synopsys general counsel Rick Runkel '81 and Bet Tzedek President and CEO Jessie Kornberg '07 were honored at a Nov. 1 event at the London Hotel in West Hollywood.
Alumna of the Year Justice Audrey Collins ’77, with Marc Seltzer ’71.
Collins is a former Los Angeles prosecutor and federal trial judge who in 2014 was appointed by Gov. Jerry Brown to the L.A.-based Second District Court of Appeal. Collins served on the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California from 1994 to 2014, including as chief judge from 2009 to 2012.
In 1992, Collins was a deputy general counsel on the Webster-Williams Commission that investigated the police response to the Rodney King riots, and in 2002 and 2003 she chaired a Los Angeles County Bar Association task force that recommended changes after the investigation of corruption in the Los Angeles Police Department's Rampart Division. While a member of the Los Angeles County Office of the District Attorney, she was the first African-American woman to serve as head deputy and then as assistant district attorney, the second-ranking position in the office.
Alumnus of the Year Rick Runkel ’81 with Bill Rieflin.
Runkel is a longtime legal leader in Silicon Valley. He joined Mountain View-based Synopsys, a designer of integrated circuits and security software whose products are used in numerous settings, as general counsel and corporate secretary in May 2014. He previously served as GC and executive at numerous medical and healthcare technology companies, including Affymetrix, Intuitive Surgical and VISX. He is a former managing partner of the San Francisco office of Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton.
Runkel has taken a leading role in UCLA Law alumni activities in the Bay Area.
Emerging Leader Award winner Jessie Kornberg ’07 and her husband, Aaron Lowenstein ’07.
Kornberg, selected as winner of UCLA Law's Emerging Leader award, has been the president and CEO of Los Angeles public interest law firm Bet Tzedek since 2014. The agency provides pro bono legal counsel and community services to address a wide range of pressing issues on behalf of low-income families, seniors, children, people with disabilities and others.
Prior to joining Bet Tzedek, Kornberg was a trial attorney and chair of pro bono at Bird Marella in Los Angeles and the founder and inaugural executive director of Ms. JD, which serves as a national voice on issues concerning women and law. While at UCLA Law, she was editor in chief of the Women's Law Journal. She is a member of the UCLA Law Board of Advisors and UCLA Law Women LEAD.
Collins was introduced at the event by Susman Godfrey litigator Marc Seltzer '71; Runkel by his friend Bill Rieflin, the executive chairman of the board of NGM Biopharmaceuticals; and Kornberg by her husband, Aaron Lowenstein '07, director of legal affairs at Warner Bros. Television.