Legal Affairs: A Conversation with Faculty Mentor Mathilde Genovese

Mar 31, 2014 by Bernadette Agaton, JD

CalSouthern School of Law Faculty Mentor Mathilde Genovese's legal career is as varied as it is impressive. She began her career as a trial attorney with the National Labor Relations Board and the Federal Labor Relations Authority. She then joined the prestigious firm Baker & McKenzie and moved to Hong Kong to practice intellectual property law.

Genovese remained in Asia for many years, working in a number of in-house and of-counsel positions and even forming her own Hong Kong-based consulting firm. Her areas of practice included finance, business and international law, in addition to intellectual property.

Her career continued to flourish upon her return to the United States, where she is licensed to practice law in four states: California, Florida, Georgia and Illinois. She has conducted intellectual property work for a major Hollywood studio and has maintained a wide-ranging and very successful practice for decades, with clients from the manufacturing, entertainment, healthcare and real estate sectors, among many others.

Genovese also is an in-demand speaker on an array of legal and business issues, as well as a gifted and dedicated educator.

CalSouthern School of Law Associate Dean Bernadette Agaton caught up with Genovese to learn more about her extraordinary career in the law and education.


Associate Dean Agaton: How long have you been on the law faculty at CalSouthern?

Faculty Mentor Genovese: Six years.


Agaton: What do you enjoy most about teaching?

Genovese: I feel privileged to be able to help students reach their goals. So many of them have dreams to become an attorney and pursue the law. Others are looking to add legal expertise to their skill sets to facilitate their jobs. Either way, I very much enjoy being a "dream helper."


Agaton: What is your favorite course to teach, and why?

Genovese: Contracts law is my favorite. We all use it every day, whether we are purchasing an item or negotiating the terms of a lease. It has so many practical, day-to-day applications.


Agaton: You've taken and passed the bar exam in four different states. What's your advice for students preparing to take the First-Year Law Students' Examination (FYLSX), as well as the general bar exam?

Genovese: The only way to pass a bar exam, be it the FYLSX or the general bar exam, is to master the material. I found it was helpful to read the bar review books several times and then study the shorter summaries. And I always used mnemonics to remember concepts. Doing well on multiple choice exams is a skill that can be learned and sharpened, so answering as many practice multiple choice questions is invaluable.  In addition, all this practice further reinforces one's mastery of the material.


Agaton: You have lived and practiced law in a number of foreign countries. What is your most memorable case or experience?

Genovese: This would have to be when I was working in Vietnam. An American law student rented a motorbike and had an accident, injuring two nationals. He was put under house arrest and his passport was confiscated. (The U.S. did not yet have diplomatic relations with Vietnam, so no consular help was available.) I spent 12 days negotiating with various divisions of law enforcement to obtain his release.

It became an international incident when the embassy in Thailand contacted officials in Hanoi. I mediated a meeting with 12 government officials from five different ministries to negotiate a settlement so the law student could return to the U.S. Six months later, my passport was confiscated and I was put under house arrest for my role in the settlement. Thankfully, my Vietnamese government contacts arranged for the return of my passport.

Faculty Mentor Mathilde Genovese teaches LAW 5111A Contracts I, LAW 5111B Contracts II, MSL 6150 Contracts and MSL 6600 International Law.



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