Like a lot of the University of Texas Law School students, Jacqueline Sudano wasn’t sure how her legal career would unfold once she graduated from the prestigious law school.
Ultimately, she took an unpaid position supporting the general counsel of The Vines of Mendoza, located in Mendoza, Argentina. It was a chance to prove herself. And Sudano has done just that, manifesting a full-time legal position in a growing industry. Her unique path made her a solid candidate for our weekly interview in Austin Legal News.
Question: Describe your job?
Answer: I’m Assistant General Counsel at The Vines of Mendoza, located in Mendoza, Argentina. I work as part of a small in-house legal team with both US-based and Argentina-based outside counsel as support. My main focus and role on The Vines’ team is to manage real estate closings on the sale of our Private Vineyard Estates, mini wineries in our Winemaker’s Village, and villas at The Vines Resort & Spa (scheduled to open late 2013). In addition, I work closely with our distribution team in establishing and modifying our wine importation and distribution structure in the U.S., for the wines of our Private Vineyard Owners and of our own brand (“Recuerdo”). I also work on general corporate matters such as managing and drafting corporate documents and documents for the governing board, private equity raises, etc.
Q: What do you like most about it?
A: I work with and for some pretty amazing entrepreneurs (Michael H. Evans and Pablo Giménez Riili) who have an amazing vision of what they want The Vines to be and who have caused our company to adopt the motto “Nada es impossible” (“Nothing is Impossible”, in English). With the changing political and legal climate in Argentina comes a need to adapt our legal and administrative processes and procedures,
which always presents new legal challenges and problems to be solved in (sometimes) unconventional ways. I think between having an amazing mentor in Duffy Doyle Crane (our General Counsel and COO) and getting real, interesting work as such a young attorney, I have gained some really amazing experience in such a short career span.
Q: What are your strengths as a lawyer?
A: I’m a perfectionist and as a result, I’ve earned quite the reputation for being a relentless proofreader! On a more serious note, I think that having had a career prior to becoming a lawyer, and background in business has really helped me in my current role. As a result, I’m able to see the business side of my role and evaluate risks and reward from a business standpoint, rather than that of just a lawyer. I’ve also been able to apply my passion for learning new languages to my role at The Vines, and work now in both English and Spanish. With our burgeoning presence in Brazil, I’ve begun to learn Portuguese as well, and I think that it’s definitely helped me with relating to and servicing our clients.
Q: Who had the most influence on you becoming a lawyer and why?
A: I don’t think I was ever that child who would stand up in class or tell my parents “When I grow up, I want to be a lawyer.” It was actually the farthest thing from what I wanted to do. I wanted to be in the media, in entertainment, to be part of Hollywood. However, that changed when I was interning in college at a talent booking agency in New York, NY called New York Entertainment. I saw the agents Matt Frost and Bryan Billig loving their jobs, and the opportunity to get involved in the business on the business and legal side, by representing talent and writing contracts behind the scenes. It made me want to pursue the law eventually after giving myself a fair chance at a career in advertising and just didn’t feel challenged enough in that field. Luckily, I’ve found a whole lot of challenge in my career as an attorney. Although it’s not in entertainment law currently, I haven’t ruled that out. But for now, I am really enjoying working with real estate, tourism and wine!