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The William H. Neukom Building

About William H. Neukom

This building is named in honor of William H. Neukom, a supporter of Stanford Law School and legal education, and advocate for the rule of law, human rights and community involvement.


Mr. Neukom, raised in the Bay Area, is among the law school's most prominent graduates. He received his BA from Dartmouth College in 1964 and his Stanford Law degree in 1967. By 1977, he had joined the Seattle law firm Shidler, McBroom, Gates & Baldwin (now K&L Gates). His private practice for almost 20 years included civil and criminal trial and appellate advocacy in federal and state courts, as well as representing clients—including individuals, families, community organizations and business enterprises—in transactional matters.

Mr. Neukom's relationship with Microsoft began in 1978 when his law partner, William H. Gates, asked him to advise his son's fledgling business. Mr. Neukom agreed, and for 24 years was Microsoft's lead lawyer. He protected the company's intellectual property around the world, most notably in Apple Computer, Inc. v. Microsoft Corp., and defended Microsoft from a stream of antitrust complaints, investigations and lawsuits. Mr. Neukom also directed the company's community affairs program, which initiated perhaps the most imaginative and robust corporate–giving strategy in the high–tech industry.

Mr. Neukom returned to his law firm in the fall of 2002 and served as its chair from 2004 through 2006. He was president of the American Bar Association from 2007 to 2008.

Mr. Neukom has been a member of the San Francisco Giants Baseball Club ownership group since 1995, and a general partner since 2003. In October 2008, he became the managing general partner and CEO of the Club. Under his leadership, the team won the World Series in 2010, the team's first championship since 1954, and San Francisco's first ever.

Mr. Neukom believes in useful citizenship; lawyers have unique skills, and with those skills a responsibility to improve their communities. In 2006, he founded the World Justice Project to strengthen the rule of law worldwide. The Project seeks to create an international network of multidisciplinary stakeholders who create communities of equity and opportunity around the world.

Mr. Neukom and his four children manage the Neukom Family Foundation which since 1996 has been investing in community agencies working in the fields of health, justice, conservation and education.

His other community work includes founding the Neukom Institute for Computational Science at Dartmouth College, and serving as a member and the chair of the Dartmouth College Board of Trustees. He has also served as a member of the University of the Puget Sound Board of Trustees; a member of the YMCA of Greater Seattle Board of Directors; chair of the Gates Challenge Endowment Campaign of the United Way of King County; member and chair of the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce Board of Trustees; and member of the Pacific Council on International Policy.

Mr. Neukom has a long history of supporting Stanford Law School. He has served as a member of the Dean's Strategic Council since 2000 and as a member of the Board of Visitors Executive Committee since 2003. He established the William H. Neukom Professorship in Law at Stanford Law School in 2002. His commitment to the new academic building reflects his belief in Stanford's new model of legal education, which prepares students for leadership in a dynamic world of challenges and opportunities.