UC Law SF Valedictorian Catherine Nasi ’24 to Work at Top Ten Global Law Firm

UC Law SF valedictorian Catherine Nasi ’24, who found her calling in tax law during a summer internship at Airbnb, is preparing for a career at top-ten global law firm Baker McKenzie.


During a summer internship at Airbnb, Catherine Nasi ’24 discovered an area of practice that made her think, “This is what I want to do with my law degree.”

“It was that moment when something just clicks for you,” she said. “I liked the kinds of problems we were trying to solve. It was the one area of law that made sense to me more than any other.”

At Airbnb after her first year of law school, she worked with multiple legal teams focused on different areas of tax law. Many of the attorneys were graduates of UC Law SF, and they guided her as she did research, wrote memos, and explored proposed changes to European Union tax laws.

That’s when she decided to focus on tax law, one of 12 concentrations available to JD students at UC Law SF. The program offers specialized curriculum with courses on corporate and partnership tax, foreign transactions and investments, family wealth transfers, estate planning, nonprofit organizations, and more.

Nasi, the valedictorian for the UC Law SF Class of 2024, plans to work at the firm Baker McKenzie after passing the bar. Nasi said she’s excited to return to the firm where she worked as a summer associate in 2023. She said the attorneys there, many of whom are also UC Law SF alumni, generously shared their knowledge and expertise as they mentored her last summer. Baker McKenzie is ranked as one of the top ten law firms in the world, according to law.com.

“Baker McKenzie has a large international presence, and they focus a lot on international tax problems,” she said. “The attorneys there are incredibly well known, knowledgeable, and gifted in their areas of expertise.”

Nasi said she was drawn to tax law, which is considered one of the most complex areas of legal practice, because she enjoys the challenging nature of the work.

“I like that it’s complicated and always changing,” she said. “There are no real answers. You have to read between the lines and find shades of gray within the law. I like that complexity and that challenge.”

Nasi, a New Jersey native and former U.S. Army officer, said she enjoyed being part of a tight-knit group of about two dozen students in the 2024 tax law concentration. She also liked focusing on niche areas of tax law.

In a tax concentration seminar, she did in-depth research on the standards by which courts review cases on transfer pricing, a corporate accounting practice that can save companies billions of dollars in taxes.

Nasi said her favorite class was Taxation of Corporations and Partnerships, where she delved into complex tax code provisions that can affect the bottom lines of Fortune 500 companies and other businesses. The class was taught by Professor Heather Field, co-director of the Center on Tax Law at UC Law SF.

“Professor Field is an amazing instructor,” Nasi said. “Her interest and excitement about the topic carries into the class. She is outcome-focused and really invested in making sure students understand the material.”

Nasi, who studied psychology at the University of San Francisco before law school, said she feels UC Law SF prepared her to hit the ground running after law school with opportunities like the Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic, where she worked directly with a client for the first time and got to interact with an official from the Internal Revenue Service.

“At UC Law SF, we’re expected to do a significant amount of practical work, whether through clinics or externships,” she said. “All the professors are focused on the real-world implications of what we’re learning. They prepare us to solve real problems in the real world.”

Nasi said the law school’s vast alumni network and proximity to major tech companies and global law firms were also major benefits – advantages that will serve her well as she prepares to start her legal career at Baker McKenzie.

“Being where so many companies and firms are located, I never felt like I had to look for opportunities outside of the Bay Area,” she said. “With multiple alumni at Airbnb and Baker McKenzie, I felt like I had a really good professional network here in law school.”