Kaufman ’99 Perfecting Litigation in San Francisco
Rebekah Kaufman ’99 came to The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law knowing she wanted to pursue a practice in litigation.
“At the time I wasn’t sure what area of the law I wanted to practice in, but I knew I wanted to do litigation,” she said.
After receiving her bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Barnard College in New York City and her master’s degree in philosophy from Ohio State, she decided to switch gears and go to law school.
“I really liked the analytical part of philosophy, but I didn’t want to be a teacher,” she said. “Law is a good extension of philosophy because of all the complex and practical work.”
As someone who enjoys writing briefs, persuading judges through briefs, and presenting oral arguments, Kaufman’s path after graduation seemed obvious.
“I knew I wanted to be on my feet. I knew I wanted to be in trial arguing before judges,” she said. “I like the advocacy and persuasive aspect of litigation.”
Kaufman is a partner at Morrison & Foerster LLP in the firm’s San Francisco office. There she practices mainly in financial services litigation and consumer class action defense.
Kaufman said that she has had the opportunity to work on a variety of cases that she finds rewarding. One such case involved the estate of Tasunke Witko (also known as “Crazy Horse”). She represented the descendants of Crazy Horse in a trademark infringement and defamation action against the manufacturers of Crazy Horse Malt Liquor.
“The case took many, many years,” she said. “We ended up winning and received a good settlement for his descendants.”
During her time at Moritz, Kaufman was the editor-in-chief of the Ohio State Law Journal. She attributes some of the opportunities she has had to her involvement with the journal. “Because I was looking at jobs outside of Ohio, it helped to have that on my resume,” she said. “Being editor-in-chief helped me be a manager and administrator, which are skills you need to have at a big law firm.”
Hailing originally from Arkansas, Kaufman has been a nomad of sorts. She spent her childhood in Louisiana and attended high school in Washington, D.C. After spending her undergraduate years in New York, she changed locations once more to Ohio because of Ohio State’s reputable philosophy program. Her move to San Francisco was not simply an occupational one either. “Moving here was part of the plan,” she said. “My husband and I wanted to go to a place that had a lot of outdoor opportunities like hiking and going to the beach.”
Kaufman has two small children, and she said she tries to spend as much her time outside of the office with them.