Luis Fortuño '85 , former governor of Puerto Rico and now a partner at Steptoe & Johnson in Washington, D.C., will welcome the Class of 2018 to the University of Virginia School of Law during orientation Monday.
Under Fortuño's leadership as governor from 2009 to 2013, during which the U.S. territory implemented major reforms, its bond rating increased twice and Puerto Rico experienced economic growth for the first time in six years (during 2011-12). His expertise as a lawyer includes a range of corporate matters, and he split his career between the private and public sectors.
Why did you want to become a lawyer?
While in college, I realized that the law affects every aspect of life. Becoming a lawyer would not only allow me to practice law; it would also provide with tools that are useful in different settings and circumstances. Those legal skills have been handy in my law practice, the corporate world and public service.
How did you start your career in law?
After graduating from the University of Virginia Law School, I wanted to practice corporate law immediately. My wife had not finished her law degree in Puerto Rico yet. Thus, going back to Puerto Rico to allow her to complete her graduate studies was the next logical step. As a result of us moving back to the island, I accepted a position as an associate at McConnell Valdes — at the time, the largest law firm south of the Rio Grande.