Sally Lu Lake

Sally Lu Lake ’77 established the Joseph and Jan Cutter Lake Scholarship to honor her parents for their commitment to personal growth and advancement through education. The scholarship was set up in 2001 with a matching gift from the IBM Corporation.

Sally says she was fortunate to attend King Hall when tuition was reasonable and to have parents who paid for most of her education. “There are many people well suited to lawyering who do not have this support,” she says. “I wanted to make a contribution to their education, and in doing so, honor my parents.”

As associate general counsel of the IBM Research legal department, Sally is responsible for providing general legal and patent advice to IBM’s research labs in the U.S. and Zurich and joint support, with location counsel, for labs in Israel, India, China, and Japan. Sally joined IBM in 1977 at their Chicago headquarters, and she worked in the group which brought out IBM’s first personal computer, including doing the work to acquire rights to customize and remarket third party application software. “We are lawyers for the scientist,” she says. “Our product is intellectual property, and we are on the leading edge of many technical trends, such as the world’s fastest— for now—supercomputer and open source software.”

While at Davis, Sally appreciated receiving a high quality education in a town with a high quality of life. “King Hall had high standards without engaging in the Socratic browbeating popular at many other law schools,” she says. “I wouldn’t have fared well at those other places.”

Sally continues to value the words of her King Hall professors. She keeps a copy of Professor Wydick’s Plain English for Lawyers above her desk and frequently refers other attorneys to it. One of Sally’s Pet peeves is incompetent and Latin-laced legal writing. “It’s well worth learning how to communicate succinctly and effectively with clients and others.”

Sally now lives in Patterson, New York with her husband, Bill. She was bitten by the family history research bug in 1999, from which she says she’s never recovered.