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Mickey Kantor Edit Profile

also known as Michael Kantor

Lawyer , United States Secretary of Commerce

Mickey Kantor, lawyer, former United States Secretary of Commerce. Bar: Florida 1968, District of Columbia 1972, California 1974. Order of the Southern Cross, Government of Brazil, 2001; William O. Douglas award, Constitutional Rights Foundation; Thomas Jefferson Distinguished Public Service Medal, Center for Study of Presidency; Albert Schweizer Leadership award, Hugh O'Brien Youth Foundation.


Kantor, Mickey was born on August 7, 1939 in Nashville, Tennessee, United States. Son of Henry Kantor.


Bachelor, Vanderbilt University, 1961. Juris Doctor, Georgetown University, 1968.


After serving as the Clinton-Gore campaign chair in 1992, Kantor was appointed United States Trade Representative, holding that office from 1993 to 1996. He was, in 1996 and 1997, United States Secretary of Commerce. Born in Nashville, Tennessee, of Jewish parents, he holds a B.A. in business and economics from Vanderbilt University, earned in 1961.

He then served four years as an officer in the United States Navy, and subsequently earned a J.D. from Georgetown University in 1968. Initially, Kantor worked for the Legal Services Corporation, providing legal assistance to migrant farm workers. It was during this time that he first met Hillary Clinton.

From 1976-1993, he practiced law with the Los Angeles law firm of Manatt, Phelps, Phillips & Kantor (now Manatt, Phelps & Phillips LLP), and was active in Democratic politics and fundraising. He also co-founded the Los Angeles Conservation Corps. An advocate of free trade, Kantor, as Trade Representative, led U.S. negotiations that created the World Trade Organization (WTO), such as the Uruguay Round, and North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

His efforts were broadly criticized by organized labor and environmentalists alike, for refusing to consider fundamental worker and environmental health issues in the core agreements. President Clinton later acknowledged the errors of his administration in relegating these key economic concerns to legally weak side agreements, while favoring large business interests in the NAFTA treaty document. "I think it was a mistake.

I think it was part of a global trend that was wrong-headed." Kantor also engaged in organizating the Miami Summit of the Americas and three meetings of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, including the U.S.-hosted First Leaders' Meeting. With the European Commission of the newly formed European Union, he expanded the trans-Atlantic market. Kantor practices law in the Los Angeles office of Mayer Brown, an international law firm based in Chicago.

He is also the Co-Chairman of the Pacific Council on International Policy. Another son by Valerie, Russell, died in a single-car crash in October, 1988, while a senior in high school.


  • Bar: Florida 1968, District of Columbia 1972, California 1974.


Participant various Democratic campaigns. Manager Clinton for President Campaign, 1992. Member board visiting Georgetown University Law Center.

Trustee International Commercial Diplomacy Proj. Board member Center for Law in the Public Interest, 1989-1992, Center for Study of Democratic Institute, 1988-1990. Member American Bar Association, California Bar Association, Florida Bar Association, District of Columbia Bar, Council Foreign Relations (Elihu Root Distinguished Lecturer).

Director National Association Public Interest Lawyers.


Married Valerie Woods (deceased 1978). Children: Leslie, Douglas, Russell (deceased). Married Heidi Schulman, 1982.

1 child, Alix.

Henry Kantor Kantor

Valerie Woods

Heidi Schulman

Leslie Kantor

Douglas Kantor

Russell Kantor (deceased)

Alix Kantor