Over the course of a long career as a litigator and appellate attorney, Vincent Ruiz increasingly found himself representing two distinctive groups of clients. Financial institutions often sought him out to represent them in mortgage foreclosure and deed of trust litigation, as well as lawsuits involving banks' commercial properties. At the same time, he was regularly representing clients with business interests in Mexico, dealing directly with opposing foreign counsel and, when necessary, hiring and overseeing Mexican lawyers to handle aspects of business transactions that required local counsel.
Taking notice of his ability to negotiate with monolingual Spanish speaking lawyers, Ruiz's bank clients realized the value of having him act as an outside compliance lawyer to assure that financial documents translated into Spanish and intended for use in this country accurately reflected the intent of their original English counterparts. Although motivated in part by the desire to avoid legal exposure when dealing in Spanish with their actual and potential U.S.-based customers, these institutions also sought to tap into the growing segment of the Spanish speaking population that had no banking relationship or simply preferred to have such a relationship in their native language.
More and more, Ruiz and his firm have come to serve as such compliance lawyers for a number of banks, credit unions, finance companies, securities brokerage firms and insurance companies. Indeed, Ruiz is the author of several articles on this topic that have been published in respected legal and banking journals. In these, he explains that truly well-crafted financial documents require more than just a general knowledge of Spanish financial and legal terms. Basic miscalculations in the syntax of a translation can be legally as risky as failing to understandand thus misstating in translationthe nature of the underlying transaction or disclosure. Ruiz's clients in this area include some the largest and most important financial institutions in the country.
Mr. Ruiz is a Certified Compliance & Ethics Professional and member of the Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics. He has a particular interest in recent studies on how linguistic differences influence the manner in which individuals assign causality and responsibility in everyday life, and the potential impact of this on ethical behavior in business conducted outside the United States. He strongly believes that some of these differences can be bridged though careful and appropriate translations.
EDUCATION AND PROFESSIONAL HISTORY:
Ruiz earned his J.D. from the University of California, Boalt Hall in 1980, where he was an Associate Editor of the California Law Review and member of the Moot Court Board. Following graduation, he was a research attorney for the Central Staff of then California Supreme Court Chief Justice Rose E. Bird. He also spent two years at the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, serving as a temporary clerk in chambers to the Hon. Arthur L. Alarcon and later as a civil motions attorney.
For the next twenty-three years, he litigated cases as a diverse as product liability matters, business tort disputes and real estate and mortgage lending lawsuits. In the early 1990's, he was engaged by an ad agency to review and approve the "voice over" copy and disclosures for a Spanish language television commercial featuring the latest model of the agency's automotive client. Since then, he has been retained by many clients in the financial services industry to provide such approvals of Spanish language documents.
Ruiz has published several articles on his firm's specialty and has been a featured panelist concerning the practice of law by small and minority owned firms. These include:
Author, From Inappropriate Cognates to Simplified Syntax: Accurate Translations Strengthen Compliance (Ethics & Compliance Professional®, September 2016)
Author, Policy Translations into Spanish Fraught with Potential Legal Issues (Insurance Journal-Southeast Region, June 15, 2009)
Author, Never Lost in Translation: Avoiding Legal Problems in Spanish Language Financial Documents (Community Banker, July 2007)
Author, Poorly Translated Legal Documents Can Be Costly (ABA Banking Journal Online, April 2007)
Author, Speaking in Tongues (San Francisco Daily Journal and Los Angeles Daily Journal, March 1995)
Panel member, The Difference Difference Makes in Solo and Small Firm Practice (Bar Association of San Francisco, November 2004)
Panel member, The Nuts and Bolts of Obtaining Legal Referrals from Financial Institutions (ABA Minority Counsel Program, Spring 1998)
Panel member, Affirmative Action: Dispelling the Myth or Upholding the Reality (ABA Minority Counsel Program, Fall 1997)
Long dedicated to community service, Ruiz volunteers his time within the court system and with non-profit enterprises seeking to provide equal justice and opportunities. He has served as a:
Mediator, California Court of Appeal, First Appellate District, 2004-2009
Mediator and Arbitrator, National Arbitration Forum, April 2006- present
Judicial Arbitrator, San Francisco County Superior Court, 1999-present
Member, Board of Directors, Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area, 2003-2015
Member, Board of Directors, Hispanic Community Affairs Council, 1999-2007
Member, Advisory Board, Rebuilding Together, San Francisco, 2000-2003
Inaugural Chair, Bay Area Minority Law Student Scholarship Advisory Committee of the Bar Association of San Francisco, 1998
Member, San Francisco Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, 1994 and 1997
American Bar Association (Sections on Litigation and Business Law)
Ruiz is admitted to practice before the following courts: State of California, United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, U.S. District Courts for the Northern, Eastern, Central and Southern Districts of California.