California Managing Partner Michael Gencarella is a patent lawyer and self-confessed technology geek, but his most memorable class in law school had nothing to do with intellectual property law or tech. As a student at University of Santa Clara School of Law in 1995, Mike had the great good fortune to be taking a criminal procedure class from Gerald Uelman – then a member of the “Dream Team” of lawyers representing O.J. Simpson and considered to be the originator of Johnnie Cochran’s famous line, “If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit.” Class exercises were based on real life examples from the trial.

But the glamour of the criminal defense practice did not lure Mike from his career path as an IP lawyer and a little more than 20 years after receiving his law degree from Santa Clara Law, Mike is being honored on March 16, 2019 with the Edwin J. Owens Lawyer of the Year Award , an award given to a distinguished member of the Santa Clara Law community who is devoted to the highest ideals of the profession and has made significant contributions to the University, the community, and the law.

A long standing member of the School of Law’s High Tech Institute's Board, Mike served for six years as President of the Santa Clara Law Alumni Association Board of Directors and remains a member of the board. Additionally, he has mentored and continues to mentor numerous law students and alums. He has also been a guest lecturer at Santa Clara Law, as well as other Bay Area law schools.

Resident in WBD’s Palo Alto office, Mike provides counsel on all aspects of IP protection with an emphasis on patent prosecution for clients ranging from pre-IPO start-ups to multinational corporations. He also serves as Managing Partner of the firm’s three rapidly-growing California offices, which now includes more than 40 attorneys, including approximately 30 focused on IP.

“I’m very pleased and proud to be receiving this award, especially in light of the previous distinguished recipients – Santa Clara Law has been a great resource and touchstone to me for my entire career,” said Mike. “It’s been a great privilege to work closely with the faculty, staff, students and alumni over the years to help build the alumni network, but I’ve also enjoyed the one-on-one contact with Santa Clara law students and alums who are just starting out in their careers. I also think it’s pretty neat that we have a number of Santa Clara Law alums here in Womble’s Palo Alto office.”

mike with president of santa clara university

Father Michael Engh, Santa Clara University Preseident (Left); Mike Gencarella (Right)


Mike G

Mike Gencarella