First Person | Alice D. Sullivan

Courtesy of Melissa Jacobs

Alice D. Sullivan, a retired California Superior Court judge, plays in a sandbox all week long. Twice weekly, she's playing beach volleyball with her buddies in San Diego; Otherwise, she's mediating or arbitrating disputes between companies and scientists. A former prosecutor who served as a judge for eight years, Sullivan, 60, has added to her existing mediation business an international panel of arbitrators and mediators to handle such cases. She got hooked on the technology angle about three years ago after reading "a million business plans" that entrepreneurs had given to her husband, an angel investor.

But her true scientific exposure came when The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, Calif., asked her to join its board of directors six years ago. She says that she finds it "fascinating. In corporate decision-making, you have a process that takes into account...

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