I grew up in Santa Barbara, California, the only child of a professor of philosophy at UC Santa Barbara. I came to UC Berkeley in 1965, right in the middle of the Free Speech movement; those were exciting times. I received my B.A. in Art History in 1969. After a fling with classical archaeology, including a year at the American School of Classical Studies in Athens, I went to Berkeley Law (formerly Boalt Hall) and received my J.D. in 1973. I clerked for Chief Judge Oliver J. Carter for two years in the District Court for the Northern District of California.
After my clerkship, I joined the San Francisco law firm of McCutchen, Doyle, Brown and Enerson in their antitrust section. One of the major cases I worked on was an antitrust lawsuit brought by the freight forwarder Clipper Exxpress against virtually all the national trucking companies. By this mechanism, I was brought into the world of transportation. After four years at McCutchen and with a great deal of knowledge gained about the trucking industry, I joined Southern Pacific in January 1980 as inhouse antitrust counsel, 9 months before the Staggers Act became effective.
My job encompassed active case management of all antitrust litigation as well as creating and implementing an extensive Antitrust Compliance Education Program for the railroad. As part of that program, I wrote and directed a 15 minute film tailored specifically for railroad employees and whimsically entitled “Antitrust: Staying on the Right Track”. I was heavily involved in writing the first confidential rail contracts that SP developed and entered into with customers after deregulation became effective. I also worked on the creation of Sprint, which was a trailblazing effort in fiber optics communications.
I left SP in 1988 and had a four year stint with a small San Francisco law firm where I provided legal advice to both SP and to American President Lines (APL). Doug Stephenson, who had been one of SP’s lawyers for many years, had moved to APL and asked me to assist him on various matters relating to APL’s Stacktrain Services unit. After Doug’s absolutely tragic death, I was invited to join APL in 1994 as inhouse counsel for the APL Stacktrain. In this capacity, I negotiated APL’s contracts with the railroads and handled all rail related matters. After the Stacktrain unit was sold to Pacer International in 1999, I continued to be APL’s “railroad lawyer”. My legal duties at APL also included work on issues relating to its trucking company, its warehouse company and its maritime company. In sum, I worked on a multitude of legal issues surrounding the transport of goods from Asia to Europe, the US and Latin America via truck, ship and train. I retired in 2015.
After being raised in a wholly academic household, I thoroughly enjoyed working in the “real world” and learning about the fascinating complexity of our global transportation system. But, of course, my first love is the railroad!
I now live in Berkeley with my husband Erich Gruen, a retired professor of ancient history. I work with law students during the summer as they study for the bar exam; I have edited several books of different genres, and I have made approximately 40 quilts since retiring! I also have one small grandson who is the light of my life.