Josh Ephraim JD/MBA ’18

Hometown: Boston, MA
Education: UC Berkeley 2011
Affiliations: Dorm Room Fund Managing Partner, InSITE Fellows Founder, Haas Venture Fellow, Berkeley Startup Central Founder

I was thinking about law school as an undergrad. I wanted to make sure my decision to go to law school was thoughtful, so after I graduated from Berkeley, I moved to New York and took a position consulting for biotech companies. After that, I went to work at a startup accelerator focused on digital health. Through that experience I realized that for entrepreneurs, I could add more value if I went back to school.

When I got into Berkeley Law, I applied to Haas and was lucky enough to get in. After talking in depth with Adam Sterling and several other grads from the program, I decided to pursue the concurrent JD/MBA. Haas is unique among business schools because there is a large proportion of students going into tech and pursuing entrepreneurship, so it seemed like the perfect fit.

For someone who wants to be a corporate lawyer, especially for startup companies, you’re helping clients evaluate legal challenges within the broader context of the business. So having a better understanding of the business side of things and the decisions that the CEO of the company needs to make will lead to better legal advice. So I hope getting both degrees is valuable in this regard.

Berkeley also has a vibrant startup ecosystem on campus and a ton of opportunities for real-world experience. In my first year I started a Berkeley chapter of InSITE Fellows. It’s a national organization that does pro bono consulting for startups. We’ve put teams of law students and MBA students together to help entrepreneurs with pitch preps and anything an early stage startup might need.

Then in my second year I launched website called Berkeley Startup Central, which is a database of the enormous list of startups and resources for aspiring entrepreneurs across the Berkeley campus. I also joined the team at Dorm Room Fund, which is a student-run VC backed by First Round Capital, we invest in student run companies started by Berkeley undergrad and graduate students.

This year I participated in the new Blockchain, Cryptoeconomics, and the Future of Technology, Business and Law course. It’s really amazing that the law school, the business school, and the school of engineering could come together to teach a class on this hot topic so quickly. I’ve been writing about the classes on my blog and have been learning a lot.

I’ve had a lot of opportunities to contribute to the startup ecosystem here and I’ve learn so much. I’m a triple Bear now, so Ive been in Berkeley a long time and it’s going to be a little sad to move on. But I’m ready for the next phase. Thanks to some alums who are also JD/MBAs, I made some great connections and I’ll be joining Gunderson Dettmer in their startup and venture capital corporate practice in San Francisco. So I’ll be close enough stay involved in the startup world here at Berkeley.

Editor’s note: Josh is happy to connect with Cal students or grads starting their own companies. Connect with him on Twitter @JoshEphraim.