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Breaking the Ice: Opportunity, family bring commercial litigator to Minneapolis

Miguel Alexander Pozo has more than two decades of experience as a commercial litigator.

Miguel Alexander Pozo has more than two decades of experience as a commercial litigator.

Name: Miguel Alexander Pozo

Title: Member, Cozen O’Connor

Education: B.A., Hofstra University, political science; J.D., Rutgers School of Law-Newark

Experienced commercial litigator Miguel Alexander Pozo said professional and personal considerations influenced his move last month to Cozen O’Connor’s Minneapolis office.

Pozo said Cozen O’Connor’s national platform — with more than 700 attorneys in 28 offices — and entrepreneurial spirit were part of the appeal. So is the opportunity to assist in the strategic growth of the firm’s commercial litigation practice.

Moving to the Twin Cities also brings New York City native Pozo, his Minneapolis-native wife and their two young sons closer to family.

Pozo, who has more than two decades of experience as a commercial litigator, previously worked in the Atlanta office of Duane Morris LLP. He is a former deputy general counsel and head of U.S. litigation at Mercedes-Benz USA.

Pozo’s practice has emphasized cases involving brand protection, trademark enforcement and employment law. He has represented clients in luxury goods, consumer products and other industries.

Q. What’s the best way to start a conversation with you?

A. With a smile. I admire and appreciate authenticity. A firm handshake is also important but a smile for sure.

Q. What prompted you to study law and pursue it professionally?

A. I’m a first-generation college and law school grad. My parents immigrated to New York City from the Dominican Republic. Growing up I witnessed how folks who were different or didn’t speak English were mistreated or cast aside. It was odd that the most vulnerable in society, children, the elderly, other folks, lacked voices to protect them. So when I was 7 years old, I said to my parents that I wanted to be a lawyer — because I realized that lawyers advocate for people, lawyers protect people.

Q. What books are on your bedside table or e-reader?

A. One of my all-time favorites is “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff” by Richard Carlson. It’s a constant reminder — particularly as a litigator and especially when things get hostile or you hit heavy traffic or you have other inconveniences — that if you’re not careful little things can take over your life.

Q. What is a pet peeve of yours?

A. I do dislike clutter and disorganization. I’m pretty organized. To a fault, some would say.

Q. What are your favorite aspects of being an attorney?

A. Making a difference not only as a lawyer but also as a bar association leader.

Q. Least favorite?

A. The acrimony and the lack of civility that some lawyers exhibit.

Q. What’s a favorite activity outside your job?

A. I enjoy spending time with my wife. I have two small boys under the age of 2. We enjoy watching them run and learn their first words. I enjoy traveling, listening to jazz, and I like drinking a good glass of wine.

Q. If someone visits you in your hometown, what would you take them to see or do?

A. I was born in New York City, and growing up I was always surprised at how many people in New York City had not gone to the Statue of Liberty or the Empire State Building or to the former Twin Towers. So I would encourage a visitor to take a helicopter ride around Manhattan.

Q. What’s a misconception people have about working as an attorney?

A. That lawyers are not down to earth and that we only care about ourselves. The reality is that many of us are committed to helping people, to making a difference and leaving the world a better place than when we got here.

Q. What’s your favorite depiction of the legal professional in popular culture?

A. As a trial lawyer the one that stands out to me is Tom Cruise. He did masterful job as Lt. Kaffee when he was cross-examining Col. Nathan Jessep, played by Jack Nicholson in “A Few Good Men.” You rarely see a witness fold like that in real life, when he lost his cool and said, “You can’t handle the truth!” Cruise’s performance demonstrates the tenacity and stick-to-itiveness that you need to have to be an effective trial lawyer.

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