Question: How did you get interested in the law?
Answer: Growing up in Wichita, Kan., I was a science major and on track for a career in chemistry. In my sophomore year at college, I realized my math skills were more rote learning than conceptual understanding, so I switched to political science. I grew up with the law around me: my father went to University of Kansas Law School, and had a general practice with his two bothers. I also had a great uncle on my mother's side who was a California District Court of Appeals Judge. He built a house in Pasadena in 1930. Years later, when it came on the market, I bought it.
Q: What made you come out to Los Angeles?
A: The Georgetown law school faculty encouraged graduates with strong academic records I was in the top 10 percent of my class to do law clerkships. I was a kid from Kansas who had heard all these stories about Redondo Beach, Manhattan Beach, and thought California sounded great. I took a one-year clerkship for Albert Lee Stephens Jr., a federal district judge in Los Angeles. This was back when federal judges only had one clerk. Judge Stephens became a great mentor.
Q: Why have you gone back and forth between the public and private sector?
A: To paraphrase Oliver Wendell Holmes, "one can live greatly in the practice of law," and I've been fortunate with some incredible opportunities over my career. The motivation to public service comes from my parents; they inculcated the idea that if you're lucky enough to have had education, ability, and opportunity, it's your obligation to give back to society.
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