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Key Excerpt: Kaufman and Sotomayor on Commercial Practice

Courtesy of CQ Transcriptions

SEN. KAUFMAN: Can you tell us a little bit about your commercial practice? What actually were you dealing with as a litigator?

JUDGE SOTOMAYOR: It was a wonderful practice, because, unlike some of my law school friends, I very much wanted to go into a small law firm where I could have hands-on practice.

Having been a prosecutor and having made all of the decisions -- individual decisions I made, I thought to myself, as I was leaving the D.A.'s office, I don't think I can go to those firms where I would be the fifth guy on the totem pole, that I wanted to have more hands-on experience.

So I went to a much smaller firm where I actually, until I became a partner, tended to work directly with the partner and would often counsel businesses. And I did a wide variety of commercial issues.

I was involved in grain commodity trading, people buying homegrown U.S. grains of all kinds, wheat, oat -- you can name them all -- and including orange peels as feed for animals, OK, and the contracts that they were involved in, in doing those trades.

Our firm represented a very impressive list of clients, including Ferrari, the car manufacturer. And I did a great deal of their work as it related to their dealer relationships and to their customer relationships.

And so I involved myself in those commercial transactions, which were different, different focus, different emphasis. I also represented -- not me, but the firm, but I counseled the client on many of its dealer relations issue of Pirelli Tire Corporation. These are names I suspect many people know.

KAUFMAN: Yes.

SOTOMAYOR: And then the fashion designer -- and -- and I think there are many people who know how famous that fashion house design is -- had trademark questions. And I participated with the partner who founded that practice within the law firm, and she had a very untimely death.

Actually, she came from her home ill to vote on my partnership at the firm, and I became a partner. And a couple of months later, she passed away. But she had worked with me and -- and introduced me to the intellectual property area of law.

Conitinue reading the exchange between Sen. Kaufman and Sotomayor here.

By Washington Post editors  |  July 15, 2009; 12:45 PM ET
Categories:  Hearings , Supreme Court  
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