"What makes it difficult in your case is that…normally we could look to judicial decisions if you were a judge, we could look to cases that you tried as an attorney that would give us an insight into who you are, in terms of your philosophy, your experiences," said Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman John Bonacic, R-Mount Hope.
Bonacic told Rivera that her background is seemingly "devoid" of practical experience.
"In your life, after you finished your formal education, how many years did you engage in the practicethe practiceof law as opposed to being in academia?" Bonacic asked.
Rivera said she graduated from law school in 1985 and didn't join academia until 1994.
"I believe I have broad experience I would bring to the Court of Appeals," Rivera said. "I never divorced myself from the practice of law. I am engaged with the practice of law…I don't view my academic experience as one where I have been isolated and apart or divorced from the practice."
Rivera said she knew during law school that she wanted to teach and she sought practical experience so she could tell her students, "I have drafted a complaint. I have done a motion to dismiss. I have done a summary judgment motion. I have done depositions."
But Bonacic pressed the issue.
"I think most attorneys will tell you that the study of law…and the practice of law is night and day, totally different," he said. "When you speak of the practice of law, the cases that your students bring you or from a cerebral analysis or policy, it seems very theoretical, more than practical. Have you tried a case? Have you done any commercial litigation? Have you appeared before a jury? Have you done anything in Surrogate's Court, anything with securities, a real estate closing, an assortment of subjects in the trenches for which a practicing attorney does?"
Rivera again stressed that she had "done the quantity and quality of work that prepares me" for the Court of Appeals. "In the classroom, I made it clear that there is theory and there is practice."
Left, Jenny Rivera meets with Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman John Bonacic, R-Mount Hope, before her hearing yesterday. Below, Rivera appears before the state Senate Judiciary Committee at the Capitol.