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Columbia Law Alum and Former Managing Partner Richard Hsu on Podcasting, Purpose, and Picking a Law Firm

Renwei Chung AboveTheLaw.com

Earlier this week, Richard Hsu announced his last day as a practicing attorney at Shearman & Sterling LLP and first day as a legal recruiter at Major, Lindsey & Africa.

At Shearman, Hsu was the Global Head of the IP Transactions practice, Co-Chair of the Privacy and Data Protection practice, and Co-Head of the Technology, Media, and Telecom (TMT) Industry practice. Prior to Shearman, Hsu was the former Managing Partner at Townsend LLP (n/k/a Kilpatrick Townshend & Stockton LLP) and an attorney at King & Spaulding LLP, among several other notable legal gigs.

Prior to attending Columbia Law School, Hsu graduated from Caltech and spent several years as an engineer at Oracle. As an introverted high-school student, Hsu felt somewhat awkward and was a bit of a loner. But he felt like he was able to develop his EQ over time by being continually curious about others and taking advantage of the opportunities to mentor colleagues in his various management positions throughout his career.

Nowadays, many of us are familiar with Hsu as the gregarious host of HsuUntied, one of the most popular podcasts in the legal industry.


Without further ado, here is a (lightly edited and condensed) write-up of our conversation:

Renwei Chung (RC): What attracted you to the law and how did you choose Columbia Law School?

Richard Hsu (RH): I studied engineering in college, so the last thing on my mind was to be a lawyer; but after working as a software programmer at Oracle, someone said, “You should be an intellectual property lawyer.” I think I barely knew what a patent was at the time.

I chose Columbia because I had lived my whole life in California so I wanted to live on East Coast, and what better place than New York City at a great school like Columbia?

RC: You are based in Silicon Valley. What do you enjoy most about Silicon Valley and the Bay Area in general?

RH: Short answer—the weather. Longer answer—everyone always talks about how the Bay Area is the hub of innovation and technology; but since I grew up here, I just think of it as home.

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