Office of Legal Affairs


The UC Berkeley Office of Legal Affairs (OLA) offers timely legal advice to campus leadership, faculty and staff, seeks to anticipate and offer creative solutions to legal problems, works to resolve legal disputes, and advocates on behalf of the campus.  OLA also serves as liaison between the campus and the UC Office of General Counsel in Oakland.  OLA strives to be a valued and trusted partner, recognized for creativity, expertise, service orientation, and commitment to UC Berkeley's mission and values.


Chief Campus Counsel and associate general counsel:

Christopher M. Patti
Areas of Expertise

Chris Patti began serving as UC Berkeley Chief Campus Counsel in 2010.  From 1990-2010 he was a member of the Office of the General Counsel in Oakland where he specialized in litigation involving academic and student affairs, constitutional issues, class actions and other complex matters.  Prior to joining the office, he practiced general corporate litigation at Heller, Ehrman in San Francisco.  Chris is a graduate of Dartmouth College (A.B. 1980) and the University of Virginia School of Law (J.D. 1983) where he was Articles Editor of the Law Review and a member of the Order of the Coif.  After law school, Chris served for one year as law clerk to the Honorable Frank M. Johnson, Jr. on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.

Associate Campus Counsel:

Julie Conner
Areas of Expertise

Julie Conner has served as Associate Campus Counsel at UC Berkeley since November 2009.  She advises UC Berkeley’s Administration on a broad range of legal issues, including intellectual property, intercollegiate athletics matters, student affairs, library law, business affairs, electronic communications, and commercial transactions.  Prior to joining UC Berkeley, Ms. Conner served as Senior Advisor and Legal Director for the UC San Diego Library System and as Associate Campus Counsel for UC San Diego.  Before joining the University of California, Ms. Conner clerked on the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and worked for several years at Latham & Watkins and Cooley Godward LLP.  Ms. Conner earned her undergraduate degree from Dartmouth College and her law degree from the University of Chicago, where she was Articles Editor for the Law Review and a member of the Order of the Coif.

Therese M.  Leone
Areas of Expertise

Therese M. Leone has served as Associate Campus Counsel for the University of California, Berkeley since September 2012.  Ms. Leone joined the Office of General Counsel in 2002, and was a member of the Labor/Employment and Education Affairs groups.  She also served as Chief Campus Counsel for UC Merced.  From 2008-2012, Ms. Leone was Vice President and General Counsel at Mills College in Oakland, California, where she was a member of the College's executive leadersihp team.  Before becoming a higher education attorney, she worked as a labor and employment atorney for Littler Mendelson, P.C. and Hanson Bridgett in San Francisco, California.  Ms. Leone served on the Board of Directors for the National Association of College and University Attorneys ("NACUA") from 2010-13,and on the Council on Access and Fairness for the State Bar of California.  Ms. Leone received her undergraduate degree from Northwestern University and her JD from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall). 

David M. Robinson
Areas of Expertise

David Robinson has served as Associate Campus Counsel at UC Berkeley since July 2011.  Since 2001, David served as University Counsel in the Systemwide Office of the General Counsel, where he was a leader of the Construction and Legislative Affairs Groups.  At OGC his responsibilities included advising campus clients on a wide range of issues including construction matters, competitive bidding, litigation management, negotiated transactions, land use, and environmental matters.  He also provided extensive support and analysis to the University's State and Federal Governmental Relations Offices on legislation and legislative hearings.  Prior to his tenure at OGC, David was a partner at Goldfarb & Lipman in San Francisco where he represented cities, counties and redevelopment agencies in litigation with regard to both governmental and commercial matters.  He is a graduate of University of California, Santa Cruz (B.A. 1989) and University of California, Hastings College of the Law (J.D. 1992).

Sarah Hawthorne
Areas of Expertise

Sarah Hawthorne has been serving as Associate Campus Counsel at UC Berkeley since 2011, and is concurrently serving as University Counsel in the UC-systemwide Office of the General Counsel (Oakland). She has over twenty years specializing in disability law, with fourteen of those years as senior attorney at the Office for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education (San Francisco Office).  Previously, for ten years she held the position of Assistant Provost, Disability Standards & Compliance on UC Berkeley campus. A graduate of Baylor University and the University of Texas Law School (Austin), she interned at the United Nations Subcommission on Human Rights (Geneva/London) and the International Court of Justice (Hague). Her legal career has focused on creating procedures and practices that promote equity and prevent discrimination, with particular expertise in agency administrative process. While at West Texas Legal Services she also represented clients in employment, housing, consumer, family, and probate issues.

Principal Legal Analyst:

Jahlee Arakaki

Jahlee has served as Principal Legal Analyst for Office of Legal Affairs since 1998, and serves as the Campus Subpoena Coordinator.  She previously worked for Oakland's Office of the General Counsel from 1985-1998.  She is a certified paralegal with extensive experience in civil litigation, contracts and employment law, having worked in private practice law firms over the years in San Francisco and Oakland, as a legal secretary, law office manager, and paralegal. 

Executive Assistant:

Lupe Gomez-Downing

Lupe joined the Office of Legal Affairs in July 2012, as Executive Assistant.  Among other duties, Lupe has primary calendaring responsibilities for Legal Affairs counsel.  Previously, she worked at the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive in all areas of the museum’s operations.  During the last 10 years, Lupe served as the executive assistant to the museum director and its board of trustees.