X

Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.

Gregory A. Vega Of counsel, Seltzer Caplan McMahon Vitek, San Diego CURRENT PRACTICE: Vega handles various kinds of business litigation and represents clients before federal, state and local regulatory agencies. Much of his work is for the jet aircraft chartering industry and the gaming industry. INITIAL CAREER GOALS: He planned to build on his undergraduate degree in accounting and become a tax attorney. STARTING OUT: He joined the chief counsel’s office for the Internal Revenue Service in 1980 and was soon litigating federal tax cases before the U.S. Tax Court. Most of the cases focused on when the government would impose a 50 percent tax penalty for fraud. “That steered me into the fraud area and into the area of federal criminal prosecutions,” he says. In 1983, Vega jumped to the U.S. Attorney’s Office to do jury trials. “I had numerous bench trials in U.S. tax court,” he says. “But trying cases to juries would expand my horizons as an attorney.” In early 1999, Vega was appointed the U.S. Attorney for the southern district of California. He ran the office through May 2001, when the new Bush administration chose a different political appointee. NEW WORLD: Vega entered the private sector in the summer of 2001. “I looked at several law firms and nonlaw-related companies, but then made a decision at the end of June to go to Seltzer,” he says, “because of the outstanding civil litigators in the firm.” GROWING PAINS: Vega’s greatest difficulty in changing jobs was “simply transitioning from the government sector to the private sector.” The demands in the two fields are quite different. CAREER TIP: “Explore all available options. You shouldn’t pigeonhole yourself into one particular area of law if you don’t have to.”

Charles A. Blanchard Partner, Brown & Bain, Phoenix CURRENT PRACTICE: Blanchard’s clients are primarily high-tech companies, but he engages in diverse business litigation practices. “I do some intellectual property, some securities and some hodge-podge litigation,” he says. Most of his litigations are in federal court. INITIAL CAREER GOALS: Blanchard wanted a career that would allow him to go back and forth between the public and private sectors. “You can always go back to private law practice,” he says, “and it is a fascinating, interesting practice.” STARTING OUT: He had accepted a job at Brown & Bain but put that off for a year in order “to have an adventure” — working for the office of independent counsel, which was investigating the Reagan administration’s involvement in the Wedtech scandal. Blanchard prepared pretrial briefs, subpoenaed documents and presented witnesses before the grand jury. “It was a wonderful first job,” he says. He began working for Brown & Bain in 1988 and stayed until 1997, becoming a partner along the way. However, he worked at the firm approximately half-time from January 1991 until January 1995, while he was serving two terms in the Arizona Senate. After two years of purely private sector work, in 1997 Blanchard took the job of chief counsel for the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (aka the drug czar). “I was not just acting as a lawyer; I was able to put my finger on policy issues,” he says. “And it was fun being a part of the White House staff.” Among the wide-ranging issues he worked on: the anti-drug media campaign, inner-city drug treatment programs and sentencing guidelines for crack cocaine. NEW WORLD: In September 1999, the U.S. Senate confirmed Blanchard as general counsel for the Army, making him responsible for the overall supervision of the Army’s 2,000 lawyers. He served until the end of the Clinton administration. “I left the day of the [Bush] inaugural, got married a month later, then my wife and I moved back to Phoenix and Brown & Bain,” he says. GROWING PAINS: “With any new position, there is a huge learning curve, especially in [government] policymaking positions,” he says. Because tenure in those positions is often brief, he adds, “the challenge is to quickly go up the learning curve so you can not only have fun but make a real difference.” CAREER TIP: “Hone your negotiating skills. I have found those skills are far more important than jury trial skills. And they are transferable from the public to the private sector.”

Terry Richard Kane Partner, Poyner & Spruill, Charlotte, N.C. CURRENT PRACTICE: Kane spends about two-thirds of his time handling environmental litigation and counseling clients on environmental matters. He also handles commercial litigation. INITIAL CAREER GOALS: “I did not know much about the practice of law when I went to law school,” says Kane, “but I thought one of the important roles that lawyers perform was advocating cases in courts and other tribunals.” STARTING OUT: After seven years in the Marine Corps as a ground combat officer, Kane took a leave of absence to attend Vanderbilt University School of Law, returning to the Marines as a judge advocate. “I became the district attorney for a small military base for a few years,” he says. He then spent a year defending clients at courts-martial at another base and then returned to prosecution. “They were largely personnel cases, but there was one environmental case, and that got me interested in an environmental litigation practice,” says Kane. He had no inkling before that he might be interested in doing environmental law. But he was in the right place at the right time; environmental law was just coming into its own as a unique practice area. “I took a career detour in the second half of the 1980s,” says Kane. In the 1985-86 academic year, he jumped at the military’s offer to send him to Duke University School of Law for an LL.M. in international law. After he was done, he served as deputy legal and legislative counsel to the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, and then as assistant staff judge advocate to the commandant of the Marine Corps. He analyzed international law issues, often on sensitive national security matters. He found the work “fascinating,” but, he says, “I wanted to get back to an active litigation practice.” In 1990, Kane became assistant attorney general for North Carolina and “plunged headfirst into civil litigation.” He spent the next three years doing environmental law, representing a state agency that was seeking to site a permanent low-level radioactive disposal facility. NEW WORLD: In 1993, Kane left the attorney general’s office and joined Poyner & Spruill. He wanted to see what life was like in the private sector. In addition, he says, “I wanted to be part of an institution that was wholly focused on practicing law.” He joined the firm as an associate, “which was OK with me, because I felt that in many ways I was starting over again.” But after only a matter of months, he made partner. GROWING PAINS: There was a “very smooth transition” from military service to working in the attorney general’s office. “As I worked in the latter capacity, I frequently worked with lawyers in a number of law firms, and before long they began to approach me [with job offers].” Milton Marquis Partner, Jenner & Block, Washington, D.C. CURRENT PRACTICE: “I have primarily an antitrust practice,” says Marquis. He spends about half his time defending companies against civil antitrust suits and against actions brought by federal and state antitrust agencies. The rest of his time is spent counseling clients on how to avoid running afoul of antitrust laws. INITIAL CAREER GOALS: “I had an early interest in antitrust,” Marquis says. “My career goal was to work in government, either in the Federal Trade Commission, the Department of Justice or a state attorney general’s office. And I wound up working at all three, doing antitrust.” (He worked for the FTC as a summer clerk.) STARTING OUT: For two years, Marquis taught legal research and writing at Suffolk University Law School in Boston. “I saw the teaching position as a bridge that allowed me to stay in academe and decide what I wanted to do,” he says. “I enjoyed teaching, and I was offered a tenure-track position, but I decided I needed some real-life legal experience,” he says. So Marquis joined a small law firm in Boston. He stayed for less than a year, until he was hired by the Massachusetts attorney general’s office. “The law firm gave me an opportunity to get some litigation experience,” Marquis says, “which made me more attractive to the AG’s office.” As assistant attorney general, antitrust division, for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Marquis spent most of his time handling antitrust cases in the health care industry. “At that time, we were focused on physicians and hospitals,” he says. A typical case: Physicians in the Springfield area were allegedly boycotting Blue Cross. After three years in the Massachusetts attorney general’s office, Marquis wanted to move on. “I grew up in Georgia,” Marquis says. “I was interested in moving closer to home.” So he accepted a job in Virginia, as assistant attorney general for the state’s antitrust and consumer litigation section. Marquis spent five years “doing a lot of very interesting cases: health care, school milk bid-rigging, a wide variety of antitrust cases.” He moved to Washington, D.C., in 1994 at the request of Anne Bingaman, then head of the DOJ’s antitrust division. As senior counsel to the assistant attorney general, Marquis was responsible for coordinating federal and state antitrust policies and prosecutions. He also worked on electricity deregulation and health care antitrust issues. NEW WORLD: In 2000, Marquis joined his current firm. “I left [the DOJ] because it was the end of the administration and I thought the time was right to try private practice,” he says. “I hadn’t been in private practice in a long time, and I think it is healthy for any attorney to have that experience.” GROWING PAINS: “The biggest adjustment was the jump from government to private practice,” he says, which is “a world of business development, billable hours and the other business aspects that you don’t have to worry about when you’re in government. When you’re in government, the work chases you; whereas in private practice, everyone is out trying to build up their business.” CAREER TIP: “Be flexible. I was fortunate that I was able to work in antitrust, which interested me. But I was flexible enough so that if antitrust hadn’t been profitable, I would have done something else. Because you just never know what lurks around the corner.”

J.P. (John Peter) Suarez Incoming assistant administrator for enforcement and compliance assurance, Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, D.C. CURRENT PRACTICE: On Feb. 26, President Bush announced his intention to nominate Suarez to run the enforcement arm of the EPA. But until Suarez is confirmed by the Senate, he will act as program adviser to the agency. “It really is like working in a consulting capacity to the office of enforcement and compliance,” Suarez says. He expects he will also be attending a lot of briefings in anticipation of his expected new EPA job. INITIAL CAREER GOALS: “I knew, day one, that I wanted to be a prosecutor. My dream was to be in the U.S. Attorney’s Office.” STARTING OUT: He landed his dream job straight out of law school. From 1992 to 1997, he was a federal prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s Office. “I started, as most new prosecutors do, in the criminal division. I worked on reactive cases — people forging currency, passing treasury checks, stealing mail. I got involved in a lot of the drug stuff. After three years, I moved over into white-collar criminal investigations. And I picked up some public corruption cases.” His next job was in New Jersey’s division of criminal justice, as special assistant to the director. He left the federal job he loved because the person who asked him to come was a trusted mentor and because, Suarez says, “I needed to explore what other opportunities were out there in the legal world.” In his new job, Suarez assisted in the management and supervision of the criminal division. He gained experience in leading a large organization, and he got involved in policymaking. Less than 10 months after joining the state government, he was asked by then-Gov. Christine Whitman to become her assistant counsel. He was soon handling all criminal matters for the governor and the counsel’s office. “We evaluated any bills that had an effect on the criminal justice system,” he says. “We worked with legislators and constituencies on proposing/crafting bills. And we made recommendations to the governor about what she should and shouldn’t do [about these bills].” NEW WORLD: On March 4, 1999, Suarez became head of the state’s division of gaming enforcement. “It was an opportunity to lead an organization that had a law enforcement aspect and a regulatory enforcement aspect,” he says. This regulatory work was something new, giving him the chance to work closely with the private sector on such issues as whether a proposed new game “is playing and paying fair.” GROWING PAINS: “If you are in a place too long, you grow complacent,” he says. “You enjoy the work, but you don’t pursue it with the same vigor.” CAREER TIP: “When the right opportunity presents itself, don’t be afraid to risk a change for fear of leaving the comfortable behind.”

Evan H. Katz Chief Executive Officer, IP Assets, New York CURRENT PRACTICE: Katz runs a six-person consulting agency that helps companies develop and license their intellectual property rights, as well as obtain funding from venture capital and Wall Street firms. INITIAL CAREER GOALS: “I wanted to become an IP attorney,” he says. “This resulted from a love of science and research, as well as a love of music, theater and creative arts. When I graduated law school, I did so with a large copyright symbol on my mortarboard.” STARTING OUT: As an associate at New York’s Kenyon & Kenyon, Katz devoted most of his practice to IP litigation. But he preferred counseling clients because it provided them with greater economic returns. “It also allowed me to apply my business degree and business contacts, so it was more personally satisfying,” he says. After three years, Katz jumped to Gersten, Savage, Kaplowitz & Curtin. “Gersten was a smaller firm, so it allowed more opportunity to do many different types of things,” he says. He did less IP litigation, more strategic planning and client counseling, and for the first time, did venture capital and financing work. NEW WORLD: Gersten’s IP group split off in 1995 to form Monroe Partners International, and Katz went with them as chairman of the IP/Internet law department. “This was the beginning of the Internet boom,” says Katz. “It opened up a new practice area for me and other attorneys: computer and Internet law.” So in addition to doing IP and capital-raising work, he handled lots of Internet/computer law and litigation. In 1998, Katz joined New York’s Kane Kessler to help the firm cross-sell IP services to its existing corporate clients. He continued litigating (mostly IP suits), but also spent a lot of time doing transactional work. “This was a very deal-oriented firm,” he says. “The deals often involved IP assets. I was the crossover person who understood both IP and the deals.” At the height of the dot-com boom, Katz became general counsel of IPnetwork.com Inc. “It was designed to be the eBay of IP,” he says. He oversaw the company’s legal work, assisted in business development and helped the company raise financing. But his dot-com, like so many others, fell on hard times. So Katz went into business for himself. GROWING PAINS: Working at one firm gives one a relatively narrow focus, according to Katz, because the firm’s clients have a relatively narrow focus. Moving to other firms allows you to broaden your knowledge and skills. CAREER TIP: “Personal life and family must often take a back seat to trial work,” Katz warns. Be ready to make that sacrifice if you plan to be a litigator.

This content has been archived. It is available through our partners, LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law.

To view this content, please continue to their sites.

Not a Lexis Advance® Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Not a Bloomberg Law Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Why am I seeing this?

LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law are third party online distributors of the broad collection of current and archived versions of ALM's legal news publications. LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law customers are able to access and use ALM's content, including content from the National Law Journal, The American Lawyer, Legaltech News, The New York Law Journal, and Corporate Counsel, as well as other sources of legal information.

For questions call 1-877-256-2472 or contact us at [email protected]

 
 

ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2021 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.