Steve Zipperstein

image for Zipperstein

Distinguished Senior Fellow

Steve Zipperstein is a Lecturer in the Global Studies program at UCLA, and a Visiting Professor at Tel Aviv University Law School. Zipperstein is also a Distinguished Senior Fellow of the UCLA Center for Middle East Development.

Zipperstein practiced law for more than 35 years in California, Washington D.C. and New York/New Jersey. During his career Zipperstein has worked as a law firm litigator, a federal prosecutor and Justice Department official, and as a corporate General Counsel for two large companies. Zipperstein has been elected to the American Law Institute and named a Life Fellow of the American Bar Foundation. Zipperstein most recently served as the Chief Legal Officer and General Counsel of BlackBerry Ltd., the Canadian smartphone and software company. Zipperstein was responsible for worldwide legal, government relations and public policy for BlackBerry. Zipperstein previously served as the General Counsel of Verizon Wireless from 2003 through 2011, and as a Deputy General Counsel of Verizon Communications Inc. from 2000 through 2003. Prior to the formation of Verizon Communications, Zipperstein served as a Deputy General Counsel for GTE Corporation. 

Before joining GTE/Verizon, Zipperstein served for more than 9 years as a federal prosecutor in the United States Attorney’s office in Los Angeles. Zipperstein tried more than a dozen federal felony jury trials (including the first-ever prosecution against the owners of a failed savings and loan during the late 1980s) and he argued 23 cases before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. During 1992-93 Zipperstein served on detail at the Justice Department as Special Counsel to former Criminal Division Chief (later FBI Director and Russia Special Counsel) Robert S. Mueller III. Zipperstein continued serving in the front office of the Criminal Division at the Justice Department Headquarters following President Clinton’s election, returning to the U.S. Attorney’s office in Los Angeles in late 1993 as the Chief Assistant United States Attorney. Attorney General Janet Reno reassigned Zipperstein to Washington D.C. to serve as her Counselor during the 1995 congressional hearings regarding the 1993 events at the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas.

Zipperstein graduated from UCLA in 1979 with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science with highest honors, and received his law degree in 1983 from U.C. Davis, where he graduated Order of the Coif and served as a Law Review Editor and member of the Moot Court Board. Zipperstein has taught at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles and published several law review articles. He has testified before Congress on telecommunications policy issues numerous times.

Zipperstein is a member of the Pacific Council on International Policy. Zipperstein previously served on the Board of Trustees of the McCarter Theatre Center in Princeton, New Jersey and the Executive Committee of the Friends of the Institute for Advanced Study, also in Princeton.