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B.S.ing with Paul Watford

Paul Watford grew up in Orange County, CA as a mixed-race child in a predominately white community who attended public schools and loved history. He credits mentors including Attorney Milton Grimes and the Honorable Ruth Bader Ginsburg with helping him hone what would be a most important skill: writing well.  Once considered a potential Supreme Court nominee, Paul made the recent decision to step down from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals bench to join Wilson Sonsini’s partnership. In this episode of BS: Beyond Stereotypes, Paul discusses his reasons for returning to private practice, recent controversial U.S. Supreme Court rulings, his perception of the Court and why he enjoys the practice of law.

Paul Watford is a partner in the Los Angeles office of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, where he is a member of the firm’s litigation department and its national Supreme Court and appellate practice.

Prior to joining the firm, Paul served as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit for 11 years. During his tenure on the court, he decided more than 2,000 appeals and drafted more than 600 dispositions. His published opinions addressed numerous areas of federal and state law, including arbitration, bankruptcy, class actions, constitutional, copyright, environmental, immigration, labor and employment, securities, and tax.

After graduating from law school in 1994, Paul served as a law clerk to the Honorable Alex Kozinski of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The following year, from 1995 to 1996, he served as a law clerk to the Honorable Ruth Bader Ginsburg of the U.S. Supreme Court.

After joining Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP as an associate in 1996, Paul became an Assistant United States Attorney in the Central District of California in 1997. Serving in the Criminal Division, he prosecuted a wide range of federal criminal cases, including complex white-collar criminal cases as a member of the Major Frauds Section. He joined Sidley Austin LLP in Los Angeles as an associate in 2000, returned to Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP the following year, and became a partner in 2003. During this time, Paul’s practice focused on appellate litigation in state and federal courts on a wide range of legal issues, including administrative, antitrust, consumer class action, state and federal constitutional, and securities law issues.

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