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Masha Hansford, with Paul Weiss.Employer: Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison Title and Practice Area: Counsel, Supreme Court and Appellate Litigation

What was the most valuable lesson you learned in your first year practicing law? As a law clerk, I was convinced that clerks and judges would figure out the right answer, regardless of the lawyers. Once I began to practice, I saw how wrong that was. The key to winning is to select the right issues to press and the best framing for them.

Describe your biggest win or accomplishment in practice. All wins are important, but the most poignant were the pair of Second Circuit wins challenging [former Jefferies managing director and mortgage bond trader] Jesse Litvak’s conviction for securities fraud. The second decision made the difference between Jesse starting the day in prison and ending it at home—for good.

Who is your greatest lawyer mentor, and what has he or she taught you? Kannon Shanmugam has been an extraordinary mentor, teaching me not just substantive legal skills, but how to manage a team, expecting the most while making everyone feel deeply valued. I work hard to emulate his management style.

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