Southwestern Law School Los Angeles, CA

News Release

February 25, 2009
Prominent Members of the Los Angeles Business and Legal Communities Join Southwestern Board

Three distinguished Southwestern alumni have been elected to the law school's Board of Trustees: Darin J. Feinstein '98, CEO of Blackhawk Capital Partners, Inc.; Hon. Matthew K. Fong '85, President of Strategic Advisory Group and former California State Treasurer; and Sheryl E. Stein '78, partner in the law firm of Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP.

"Mr. Feinstein, Mr. Fong and Ms. Stein are all respected business leaders who bring extensive expertise in the financial, legal and government arenas to our board," Dean Bryant Garth said in his announcement. "Their knowledge and enthusiastic support of their alma mater will greatly enhance our efforts toward the advancement of Southwestern."

Darin Feinstein
Darin Feinstein '98

is Chief Executive Officer and a founder of Blackhawk Capital Partners, Inc., a boutique investment banking firm with projects in California, Nevada, Arizona and Texas. Established in 2000, Blackhawk acquires distressed companies and acts as an active investor and participant in mid-size commercial, industrial and residential real estate developments in the $10-50 million range. Among Blackhawk's more prominent properties is the Viper Room in Hollywood. Prior to founding Blackhawk, Mr. Feinstein worked as in-house counsel at a real estate investment banking firm that specialized in equity based lending, and at Kenneth Leventhal (which later became Ernst and Young) as a staff accountant. He was also a partner in several restaurants and clubs as well as the Audiotistic "Future Sound Festival" that attracted 30,000 hip hop and dance music fans annually. Mr. Feinstein attended the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and the University of Arizona where he obtained a business degree in accounting before earning his law degree at Southwestern. He is a member of the State Bar of California.

"As an alumnus and one of the non-practicing attorneys on the Board of Trustees, I think it is important to convey that my legal education at Southwestern has been integral to my ability to successfully and flexibly navigate a variety of business endeavors," Mr. Feinstein commented. "Although it is not always apparent during law school, Southwestern students will find that the ability to understand legal structures inherent in every facet of a business transaction will be an advantage in a substantive way in business settings as much as it would be in a courtroom. Southwestern did an excellent job of teaching me those principles, and it is both an honor and a privilege now to serve on the board. I look forward to helping Dean Garth as he leads an innovative quest to propel Southwestern into the forefront of law schools on the West Coast."


Matthew K. Fong
Hon. Matthew K. Fong '85

integrates an entrepreneurial blend of financial, political, and legal expertise with a global platform as President of Strategic Advisory Group, a strategy consultancy firm based in Pasadena, CA. His primary focus has been in private equity, real estate and greater China-U.S. cross border investment. He is a managing director in Belstar LLC, and serves on the boards of Trust Company of the West Mutual Funds, Seismic Warning Systems Inc. and American Grid, Inc. He is also Of Counsel to the law firm of Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLC. Beginning in 1990, Mr. Fong provided strong fiscal stewardship in California for eight years, first as Vice Chairman of the State Board of Equalization, and then as State Treasurer when he was one of the highest-ranking elected officials of Asian ancestry in the continental U.S. Mr. Fong retired from the Pentagon after 33 years of active and reserve military service with the rank of Lt. Colonel as the senior financial advisor to the U.S. Air Force. He is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy and Air War College, and earned his M.B.A. at Pepperdine University before completing his J.D. through the SCALE program at Southwestern and becoming a member of the California State Bar. Mr. Fong serves as a Regent of Pepperdine University and has been a member of the boards of the Los Angeles Children's Hospital and the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History among numerous other organizations. Mr. Fong received Pepperdine University's 1992 Distinguished Alumnus Award and the Asian Professional Exchange's 1996 APEX Award for Excellence in Community Leadership, and in 1997 was honored as Southwestern's Alumnus of the Year.

Mr. Fong said, "Southwestern's legal education provided me with the strong practical foundation I found extremely useful in my legal, political and business careers. I look forward to helping the next generation of leaders coming through Southwestern's halls, and laying the groundwork for generations of law students to follow."


Sheryl E. Stein
Sheryl E. Stein '78

is Managing Partner of the Los Angeles Office and leader of the Corporate & Securities Practice Section in Los Angeles for the firm of Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP. Her experience includes handling business agreements and employment matters for various industries. She was previously a partner and key member of the Japan Practice Group at the law firm of Baker & McKenzie. She is a member of the Business and Labor Law Sections of the Los Angeles County Bar Association and the Organization of Women Executives, and has served as a board member of the Los Angeles County Bar Foundation. Ms. Stein earned her B.A. degree cum laude in psychology from the University of Miami before completing her J.D. degree at Southwestern. She is a member of the California State Bar.

"It is a great honor for me to serve on the Board of Trustees of Southwestern Law School and a wonderful opportunity to give back," said Ms. Stein. "At Pillsbury we place a high value on supporting our legal and local communities, and I am pleased to carry on this tradition."