Managing Member, LegalHealth
Year Graduated: 1996
Undergraduate: University of Maryland, Baltimore County
"Lawyers are about making connections with people," says Gustavo Matheus (J.D., '96), and both his career and his alumni service to McGeorge reflect this philosophy.
Gustavo grew up in Maryland, earned an undergraduate degree in biology and worked as a lab technician at Johns Hopkins before he decided to attend law school at Pacific McGeorge. The externship program offered by McGeorge was a highlight of Gustavo's time in law school. He worked under Steve Koyasako, Assistant General Counsel at the California EPA.
"Steve prepared me to successfully practice law," says Gustavo. "He marked my written work 'generously' with a red felt-tip pen, not to criticize but to correct me, to give me an opportunity to improve. He was mentor-focused, and I have tried to emulate that."
After graduation from McGeorge, Gustavo completed the Marine Corps Officer Candidate School at Quantico, Va., with the intention of becoming a judge advocate, but he declined his commission after graduation. The Marine drill instructors gave him invaluable leadership training.
"I thought I would do something even more unexpected than decline the commission and a year later opened my own law firm, LegalHealth," he says.
When Gustavo founded the firm, he took a general practice caseload but always had the goal of focusing on health law. He now has a boutique practice based in Maryland and serving clients nationwide. Gustavo's law firm represents hospitals and other health care providers in reimbursement disputes with payers.
"I enjoy serving my clients and helping them solve problems," says Gustavo, "and I'm lucky to have an outstanding team to help me at LegalHealth. I can do anything with a great team."
Gustavo has donated to McGeorge, but he says that giving money “for the brick with my name on it” is not the most important way he helps his alma mater. "I feel like the best way I can give back to McGeorge is to help students and graduates find internships and jobs.
He is active in the McGeorge Washington, D.C., alumni chapter.
"An engaged alumni chapter helps people by offering career-development opportunities," he says. He hopes not only to help McGeorge students find jobs but to mentor them in how to succeed in the business world. One piece of advice: handwritten thank you notes. "Taking the time to write to a person does not go unnoticed. The future may be different, but today's decision-makers still care about time being taken to thank them," he says.
Gustavo says that McGeorge professors reminded students that the practice of law is about service to others - a lesson he has taken to heart: "I want my lasting contribution to McGeorge not to be measured solely in financial contributions, but also in the number of students I helped succeed."