Voice of the Class Greenberg to Stress 'Materiality' in Address to Classmates

When the “Voice of the Class of 2013,” Zach Greenberg, addresses his classmates and their guests at the Law School Commencement Ceremony on Friday, he plans to draw on the corporate law background he gained in law school as a central metaphor.

“In law, the concept of ‘materiality’ is used to refer to things that are important, meaningful, and will make an impact on those affected,” Greenberg says. “When we graduate and start practicing law, we will be in positions every day to make material decisions and take material actions that will have an impact on our clients’ lives, whether it’s helping a family adopt a child or closing a billion-dollar deal. I’ll be encouraging the Class of 2013 to keep that in mind as they cross the stage.”

After taking the bar exam in July, he will clerk for Delaware Supreme Court Justice Myron T. Steele. Being in Delaware is significant, Greenberg says, because it is “a haven of corporate law.” More than half of the Fortune 500 companies and about 60 percent of companies listed on the New York Stock Exchange are incorporated in Delaware. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime, once-in-a-career opportunity to work in the courts and be part of the decision-making process,” he adds.

After his one-year judicial clerkship, he then plans to work for the Miami, Florida-based international firm of Greenberg Traurig LLP (the firm's name is purely coincidental and no relation to his last name).

As a law student, Greenberg spent two years as a research assistant for Hillary Sale, the Walter D. Coles Professor of Law and Professor of Management, and was senior executive editor of the Washington University Law Review. Looking back on his law school career, Greenberg says he quickly realized the value of a degree from Washington University and recalls connecting with law alumni who practiced in his areas of interest over coffees or breakfast meetings.

Whenever he was traveling, whether it be on a family vacation or spring break, Greenberg sought out Washington University School of Law alumni in the area. “The lawyers I met with were always gracious and happy to talk about their careers. You never know what may come out of a brief meetingsometimes another meeting, sometimes a job, and sometimes simply another lawyer in your network,” he says. “It’s good to have someone in your corner from Day One.” 

In addition, Greenberg worked closely with career services professionals Katie Scannell and Rebecca Brown, as well as others in the Career Services Office throughout law school. He encourages current law students to do the same, adding that beyond partnering with CSO, students also should "take initiative and actively connect with lawyers and alumni outside of the law school's formal programs and career services."  

By Timothy J. Fox 

Greenberg believes in the importance of finding balance. He originally came to St. Louis as a Washington University undergraduate in 2006 and played on the university’s NCAA Championship varsity basketball team. As an undgraduate, he was also voted Mr. Wash U. In law school, and he shared his love of sports by serving as a graduate assistant basketball coach. A Scottsdale, Arizona, native, Greenberg says he enjoys golf, running, and other outdoor activities year round. “Sports were also a great way to escape from the daily grind of law school,” he says.  

He believes that his experience in athletics fostered the development of certain skills that became especially helpful during his three years in law school. “Discipline, attention to detail, and hard work are key attributes of success in athletics and law school,” he says. “Law school is a marathon; it’s important to pace yourself and not burn out in your first year.” In fact, he drew on his sports background to write a note for the Law Review, titled "Tossing the Red Flag: Official (Judicial) Review and Shareholder-Fan Activism in the Context of Publicly Traded Sports Teams," which was submitted to the Scribes writing competition.

While he also enjoyed healthy competition with his law school peers in the classroom, Greenberg cherishes that he has formed “friendships for life," having shared in classmates' weddings and celebrated new additions to their families. 

Looking ahead to Friday's ceremony, he notes: “It’s an honor to be selected as the Voice of the Class. It’s nice to feel that I have credibility among my peers, staff, and faculty, as well as humbling to represent the entire student body on such a memorable day!”