Even though Esteban Rivera travels frequently as part of his practice, he puts in plenty of work close to home.
Originally from Ecuador, Rivera has developed an international practice, focused in immigration and business law, which spans two continents. He’s one of the only attorneys to be licensed in both the United States and Ecuador.
Rivera did not set out to develop an international practice. Rather, he first wanted to work in the Foreign Service in Ecuador, but he thought the work would be too constraining. He decided to attend law school in Ecuador and passed the bar in his home country. Rivera then moved to the United States, attended Hamline University (Now Mitchell Hamline), and then passed the bar in Minnesota.
His specialized practice requires frequent trips back to Ecuador, as well as to other places across the United States, including Florida, Texas, New York, Baltimore, and California.
Workdays are rarely predictable for Rivera. “Sometimes I go to court, sometimes I meet with clients, and sometimes I'm traveling overseas, or traveling locally. I have hearings. I have depositions. Every day is different,” he said.
Even with a busy schedule, he finds time for local bar association involvement. He is active with the Minnesota Hispanic Bar Association (MHBA) and served as President in 2015-2016, and has been a member of the Hennepin County Bar Association board of directors since 2011. Rivera initially got involved with the HCBA while in law school, and his involvement has only increased since then.
Rivera is particularly pleased with his work growing the MHBA. “I'm very proud of the mentorship program. I chaired the program when I was student rep for two years and continue to see it grow with more students, more mentors, more participation,” he said. He also helped the MHBA quadruple its revenue from its annual gala.
One particular issue Rivera would like to see addressed more is the appointment of more Latino and Latina lawyers to the bench. “We (the MHBA) now have a comprehensive vetting program for judicial endorsements. Several of our members have been appointed the judiciary, especially in the district court. We had a historic appointment with Judge Peter Reyes to the court of appeals. We are very proud of that,” he said. However, he would like to see more appointments to the bench.
“I think that gives the sense of justice to the community and it gives another perspective to the bench,” he said.
The MHBA also has been focused on making sure law firms are hiring, retaining, and promoting Hispanic lawyers. He helped organize a CLE last year that explained why that practice could benefit firms.
Even though Rivera’s work keeps him busy and takes him many different places, he enjoys coming back home, “It’s a very vibrant community. I enjoy networking with attorneys here. I think the practice of law is great here. The judges are great. The system works. The economy is healthy. I enjoy Minneapolis.”