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Mickey Kantor

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Mickey Kantor
31st United States Secretary of Commerce
In office
April 12, 1996 – January 21, 1997
PresidentBill Clinton
Preceded byRon Brown
Succeeded byBill Daley
11th United States Trade Representative
In office
January 22, 1993 – April 12, 1996
PresidentBill Clinton
Preceded byCarla Hills
Succeeded byCharlene Barshefsky
Personal details
Born (1939-08-07) August 7, 1939 (age 84)
Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Valerie Woods
(died 1978)
Heidi Schulman
(m. 1982)
EducationVanderbilt University (BA)
Georgetown University (JD)
Military service
Branch/service United States Navy

Michael Kantor (born August 7, 1939) is an American attorney who served as the United States Trade Representative from 1993 to 1996 and United States Secretary of Commerce in 1996 and 1997.

Early life and education


Born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee, Kantor earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in business and economics from Vanderbilt University in 1961. He then served four years as a supply officer in the United States Navy and subsequently earned a Juris Doctor from Georgetown University in 1968.[1]



Initially, Kantor worked for the Legal Services Corporation, providing legal assistance to migrant farm workers. From 1976 to 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 formerly served and is founder of the LA Conservation Corps.[2]

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). Kantor also engaged in organizing 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 became United States Secretary of Commerce on April 12, 1996, succeeding Ron Brown, who had been killed in the 1996 Croatia USAF CT-43 crash.

Kantor practices law in the Los Angeles office of Mayer Brown,[3] an international law firm based in Chicago. He is the board of directors co-chair of Vision to Learn[4] and the University of Southern California Annenberg Center on Communication Leadership & Policy;[5] a board officer of Drug Strategies;[6] a leadership council member of the Sargent Shriver Center on Poverty Law;[7] a steering committee member of Japan House;[8] and a board member of Lexmark International, Inc.[9] and the Pacific Council on International Policy.[10]

Personal life and honors


Kantor has been married to broadcast journalist Heidi Schulman since 1982, following the death of his first wife, Valerie Woods Kantor in a 1978 plane crash in San Diego.[11][12] He has three children. Another son, Russell, died in a single-car crash in October, 1988, while a senior in high school.[12]

He formerly served on the board of directors of CBRE,[13] board of visitors for Georgetown Law,[14] and international advisory board for FleishmanHillard.[15] Kantor was awarded the Order of the Southern Cross by the government of Brazil in 2001.[16]


  1. ^ Bradsher, Keith (1993-12-12). "Mickey Kantor". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2021-04-04.
  2. ^ "LA Conservation Corps » History & Founder". Retrieved 2020-02-19.
  3. ^ "Michael Kantor - People - Mayer Brown". Retrieved 24 April 2017.
  4. ^ "Leadership". www.visiontolearn.org. 2020-02-19.
  5. ^ "Advisory Board | USC Annenberg Center on Communication Leadership & Policy". communicationleadership.usc.edu. Retrieved 2020-02-19.
  6. ^ "Michael Kantor". Drug Strategies. 2014-04-13. Retrieved 2020-02-19.
  7. ^ "Boards and Councils". Shriver Center on Poverty Law. Retrieved 2020-02-19.
  8. ^ "The Global Japan House Project". JAPAN HOUSE(Los Angeles). Retrieved 2020-02-19.
  9. ^ "Board of Directors". www.lexmark.com. Retrieved 2020-02-19.
  10. ^ "Leadership". Pacific Council on International Policy. 2020-02-19.
  11. ^ "In Memoriam." From The Classes. Sarah Lawrence College, Bronxville, NY. March, 1979. p. 30.
  12. ^ a b "Son of Activist Kantor, 3 Others Killed in Crash". Los Angeles Times. 30 October 1988..
  13. ^ "CBRE Group, Inc. - Leadership - Board of Directors". ir.cbre.com. Retrieved 2020-02-19.
  14. ^ "Members of the Board of Visitors". www.law.georgetown.edu. Retrieved 2020-02-19.
  15. ^ "International Advisory Board | FleishmanHillard". FleishmanHillard. Retrieved 2020-02-19.
  16. ^ "Mickey Kantor" (PDF). Asia Society. September 12, 2012.
Political offices
Preceded by United States Trade Representative
Succeeded by
Preceded by United States Secretary of Commerce
Succeeded by
U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded byas Former US Cabinet Member Order of precedence of the United States
as Former US Cabinet Member
Succeeded byas Former US Cabinet Member