Q: What type of a law do you practice?
A: I have a diversified business law practice. My firm prides itself on being not just a group of civil litigators but actual trial lawyers. We thoroughly enjoy taking cases to trial when that is appropriate. The types of cases we handle range from business disputes in the securities area and real estate to intellectual property and Indian law.
Q: What kind of work do you do for American Indian tribes?
A: I have done some work for tribes and some work against tribes. One case against a tribe involved representing an investment firm in a contract dispute with the Chukchansi Rancheria band of Indians in Northern California related to the construction of a hotel and casino. We won a $23 million judgment against the tribe. I have also represented tribes in property disputes. These types of cases are a small part of my practice, but it is an interesting area of law because you get into questions of citizenship, jurisdiction and sovereignty.
Q: What do you enjoy most about practicing law?
A: The most satisfying aspect about practicing law is that each time a new client walks through your door and lays bare a problem, if you do your job well, you have a chance to improve their situation and to right what may be a substantial wrong. If you have done a good job by the time the arbitration or trial is over, you will have found a remarkably grateful client and every once in a while a new friendship.
Q: What compels you to carve out time from your private practice to work on selection committees for judges and prosecutors?
A: I would call it a sacrifice except for the fact that I enjoy public service work so much. I find it very fulfilling to be able to play a role in the various types of public service I have been fortunate enough to be involved in, whether its judicial selection or serving on the 9th Circuit advisory board. If you approach positions of public leadership in an appropriate and humble way, it enables you to give back the best of what you have learned in a manner that affects many people across the board. And if you are lucky, helps to improve every particular public sphere you are working in.
Q: Your law firm, Browne Woods & George LLP, which has about 16 attorneys, is merging with Drier Stein & Kahan LLP, which has more than 60. Why did that happen?
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