Attorney Sunil Raju said a single, complex case lasting a year or more can involve more than 1,000 hours worth of preparation.
“It can really involve a lot of blood, sweat and tears, in terms of investing yourself, and in terms of getting to know the case and making sure your client is getting a great case presented,” he said.
Raju, a trial attorney hired earlier this summer by Seaside law firm Campbell & Popkin, said he relishes the hard work and challenges inherent in representing his clients well.
Raju, one of four attorneys at the firm, was brought on to focus on preparing for and taking cases to trial when disputes arise between parties, mostly on the civil side.
“Typically what that will mean in practice is I represent a professional or a business owner in some kind of dispute,” he said. “It could involve a business or real estate or something like that. I also will represent a consumer in a construction lawsuit, or maybe the homeowner has a problem with the contractor.”
Growing up in Fort Worth, Texas, Raju said he didn’t know any lawyers but found early on he liked to research, argue and debate things. By the time he was attending Northwestern University in his hometown of Chicago, Raju knew he wanted a challenging and diverse career, which the law seemed to offer.
After graduating 11 years ago from Lewis and Clark Law School in Portland, Raju spent two years as a prosecutor with the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office and another four years in Washington County. During that time, he was the lead prosecutor on more than 100 cases, from shoplifting and domestic violence to a cold-case gang homicide.
“Overall, I think that work was really great, because I think it helps to illustrate how law enforcement operates,” he said. “You get to understand how do police officers and DAs really make decisions. It also reveals an underbelly to the community that not always everybody is aware of.”
Raju said he also received a lot of trial experience in a short amount of time. With a decade of practicing law under his belt, he estimates about 150 of his cases have gone to trial, more than some other attorneys with twice the number of years practicing.
After several years of practicing criminal and family law in the Portland metro area, Raju said he and his wife, Christy, an occupational therapist with Providence Health & Services, wanted something different. She had an opportunity to transfer out to the North Coast, and Raju started looking at local opportunities. He met Larry Popkin, a managing member in Campbell & Popkin and a licensed real estate broker, while looking for a home, which turned into a discussion about his law firm.
Raju said he feels fortunate that he and his wife can continue their professional careers and live in a place where they can go on walks and hear the ocean. Despite being in the legal and medical fields, Raju said, he feels like they are both in the people business, albeit from different perspectives.
“One of the big motivators for me is that they entrust me with their interests,” he said. “I don’t want to let them down.”