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  • InsideTrack
  • September 20, 2023

    Q&A with Lauren Raupp: Outstanding Young Trial Lawyer

    Lauren Raupp, a 2013 graduate of Marquette University Law School, is a partner at MacGillis Wiemer LLC, based in Wauwatosa. The Wisconsin Association for Justice named her the top young trial lawyer of 2022. Raupp discusses her path to the courtroom, and the keys to her success over the last decade.
    Lauren Raupp

    Sept. 20, 2023 – Lauren Raupp, a 2013 graduate of Marquette University Law School, is now a partner at MacGillis Wiemer LLC, based in Wauwatosa. Last year, the Wisconsin Association for Justice named her the top young trial lawyer of the year.

    InsideTrack recently caught up with Lauren to discuss her path to the courtroom, and the keys to her success over the last decade.

    1. When did you decide you wanted to become a trial lawyer?

    When I was in high school, I thought that I might want to become a lawyer, but at the time, I really didn’t know what that would look like, or what kind of lawyer I wanted to be. I also considered becoming a psychologist and going into the mental health field.

    I majored in Psychology and minored in English, keeping my options open. To get some exposure to the field of law, I took an internship with the Oshkosh Public Defender’s Office. It was a great experience and I learned so much, but I concluded that criminal law was not my calling. Then, near the end of my college career, my little brother was seriously injured in a car accident. Seeing first-hand the impact tragedy can have on someone’s life, I decided that I wanted to help people through these kinds of difficult circumstances.

    2. Once you decided, how did you prepare to become a trial lawyer?

    My road to law school wasn’t direct. Following my graduation from college, I moved back home to Illinois and sought a job as a paralegal at a personal injury firm in Chicago, where I worked for three years. This experience was very formative.

    I was able to learn the ins and outs of building a case from the ground up. The firm that I worked at did primarily plaintiff work, but also did defense work for corporate clients. It was helpful to see a case through both a plaintiff and a defense lens.

    While at Marquette Law School, I took classes with a torts and litigation focus, ultimately earning a Certificate in Litigation. I was a law clerk at a Milwaukee area personal injury firm during law school. Following law school graduation, I became an associate attorney at the same firm and was able to dip my toes into litigation, learning the ropes by second-chairing litigated cases. In 2019, I made the move to join MacGillis Wiemer, LLC, where I took on my own litigation caseload. Along with that responsibility came opportunities to take depositions, argue motions, and ultimately, participate in jury trials.

    3. Did you have a mentor or mentors to help you advance in your trial practice?

    My partner at MacGillis Wiemer, LLC, Christopher MacGillis, has been instrumental in the advancement of my trial practice. Chris has not only provided me with mentorship in the form of guidance and insight but has also given me the push to get out of my comfort zone. I have seen significant growth in my confidence and abilities by taking on, and conquering new challenges. And when things do not go as well as I had wanted, I still appreciate the experience because I am able to apply what I learned from that attempt in another endeavor.

    I think that the best lawyers are the ones who are lifelong learners. I am perpetually eager and willing to learn how to do this craft better – whether by reading books on trial practice theories, absorbing the wisdom a seasoned trial lawyer is willing to impart, or learning through doing.

    4. What qualities are necessary to be a good trial lawyer?

    A good trial lawyer needs to have passion, drive, and appreciation for our constitutional right to a trial by jury. You can’t just go through the motions as a trial lawyer.

    It’s not a clock-in and clock-out type of job. You have to get excited by the prospect of fighting for your client, taking their case to a jury trial, and trusting that 12 people will do the right thing. If you don’t love what you do, it will be difficult to muster the stamina required to successfully litigate a case to the finish line.

    5. How do you prepare for trial?

    Preparing for a trial begins long before you get a trial date. If you have done the legwork at the front end of a case, by the time it is time for trial, the preparation is much less overwhelming. It is important to weave the theory of the case into everything you do while you work up your case and address the problems in your case well ahead of time. Knowing the case well and being organized is essential.

    6. In a time when fewer trials are taking place, how did you get trial experience?

    Even though it would be easier, and less work, to resolve a case pre-suit or pre-trial, if the proposed resolution significantly underestimates the value of the case, and if it is in the best interest of the client, holding firm and proceeding with a trial is the right thing to do. It is easy to make the decision to go to trial when an offer is so low it is laughable.

    It gets harder when an offer isn’t terrible, but you think a jury would value the case for more. However, if you really believe in your client and your case, it is likely that a jury will too. The only way to get trial experience is to be willing to take a case to trial.

    7. What do you like most about trial practice?

    I love the challenge of trial practice. It is a full-body exercise, requiring you to think on your feet and use your analytical, communication, and connection skills all at once. It is also so rewarding and gratifying to represent an individual and be their advocate and voice. It is also hard to top the adrenaline rush and satisfaction of a favorable verdict being read!

    8. What is the biggest challenge?

    Litigation can be exhausting, stressful, and can lead to burnout. Being rested and energized is essential. The biggest challenge is to prioritize your physical and mental health, especially when it may seem like there is no time to do so. You have to find a way to carve out time for yourself.

    9. What do you do for fun to unwind from practicing law?

    I have two small children, so these days, there isn’t too much time for unwinding! I do try to make it to the gym a few times a week and indulge in some occasional pampering. Connection with others is so important and therapeutic.

    On the weekends, I usually cook and relax at home with my family. When I can, spending time with friends and traveling helps me to decompress and stay grounded.

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