Meet Alumni-Elected Trustee, Lee Plave ’80
Plave Koch PLC
B.A., Governmentand International Relations, Clark
University, 1980; J.D., New York
School of Law, 1983
Class Agent (1980-current);
Clark Hockey Reunion Coordinator (1981-current);
Washington, D.C. Alumni Council Coordinator;
Alumni Athletic Committee;
Host, Clark University Events in Washington;
After graduating from Clark and attending law school in NYC, I moved to Washington DC. I served with the Federal Election Commission and later the Federal Trade Commission, where I was a lead lawyer in regulating the used car and funeral industries (I spoke once in the Hoosier Dome in front of 300 open caskets, one of the few professional experiences for which Clark did not help me prepare!).
A few years later, I moved into private practice and became a partner in what grew to become a large global law firm. In 2007, with a small group of experienced lawyers, we started a smaller firm, to find work/life balance, lower our collective blood pressure, and continue our focus on representing franchisors. We work with some of the most interesting, innovative, and customer-focused entrepreneurs in the world. I'm especially pleased not only that our 10-lawyer firm was honored multiple times but also to have been named in 2015 and 2016 as the top franchising lawyer in North America.
Clark occupies a special place in all of our lives. For me, it served as a place to formulate my independence as an adult and as the launching pad for my life and career. I was fortunate to learn from a stellar faculty. Beyond the classroom, I learned life lessons from fellow Clarkies not only in our years on campus, but since then as our collective education has continued. Their wisdom, strength, and accomplishments are exemplary and reflect well on all of us.
Every day, I work closely with innovators in the US and globally. I've seen that what sets them apart is their intellectual curiosity, the rigor of their thoughtfulness, and the fact that they challenge themselves — let alone others — to see things from multiple angles. Those uncommon traits, the drivers of innovation and success, will seem rather familiar to Clark students and alumni.
As a father, uncle, friend, and employer, I have observed how students consume higher education services. Reputations and marketing aside, the mark of truly great universities is not just that students thrive while on campus — but also whether they are primed to succeed afterward. That's what distinguishes Clark: while we may not have realized as students how unusual it is to learn in elbow-to-elbow settings, with faculty dedicated to undergraduate teaching — that is very unusual in our world.
If honored to be chosen to serve on the Board of Trustees, I would apply my experience working with entrepreneurs and innovators to ensure that Clark remains a place where creative thinking and problem-solving is encouraged, nourished, and rewarded. The LEEP initiative is just one example of 21st Century application of Clark's distinctive commitment to continued service as the launching pad for thousands of innovators who will go into their communities, play a constructive role, challenge conventions, and change the world by their own hands.