Alumni

April 18, 2016 at 6:28 am

CLJC Spotlights POLS Alum | Chicago Lawyer Has High-Paced Subrogation Practice

Marisa Saber

Marisa Saber

Ohio University alum Marisa Saber is a member in the Chicago office of Cozen O’Connor and practices in the subrogation department. She handles all varieties of property, marine and auto subrogation claims.

Saber is licensed in Illinois and Missouri, as well as several federal courts, and she handles cases throughout the Midwest. She has litigated both tort and contract cases involving governmental agencies at both state and federal levels.

She earned a B.A. in Political Sciences from the College of Arts & Sciences in 2003. She was one of five Cozen O’Connor attorneys from the firm’s Chicago office recognized as a 2015 Illinois ”Emerging Lawyer” by Leading Lawyers, a division of Law Bulletin Publishing Company.

What brought you to Ohio University?

Several things—the great liberal arts programs, the beautiful campus, the fact that the school was 3.5 hours away from home, and of course one of my best friends was going to OHIO as well!

What is your current occupation? Explain what you do in a typical day.

I am a litigator. I practice in an area of law called subrogation. We work for insurance companies that pay insurance claims on homes or commercial properties when there is a property loss, like a fire, product failure, water loss, transportation loss, explosion, the list goes on. We evaluate whether someone else was at fault. If we believe someone else is at fault, we will litigate against that company to recovery money for the insurer that paid the claim. There really are no typical days for me. Every single day is different and brings new challenges. I could be traveling to Puerto Rico to take depositions, arguing motions, presenting a jury trial, drafting briefs, investigating a fire scene or collapsed building, or marketing current or potential clients. It’s pretty high-paced.

How did you become interested in that field? Was there a particular topic or field of law that got you interested in it in the first place?

When I was first applying to law school, I never would have thought I would be practicing this type of law. At that point in time, I was thinking environmental law or constitutional law. I stumbled into subrogation during my first year in law school. I attended the evening program at DePaul University, and I had never set foot in a law office before. I wanted to know what I was getting into, so I decided to work at a firm. It happened that my Legal Writing professor was an old colleague of an attorney at my law firm, and the attorney was looking for a paralegal. I ended up working at my current firm through law school, first as a full-time paralegal, and then as a summer associate and law clerk. As luck would have it, I was offered a position in my last year of law school. I suppose it was more of a situation where I learned to really like litigation once I was working for my firm. It’s been so long, it is hard to imagine doing anything else.

What’s your favorite part of your position? What are you passionate about?

I like the fact that there is always something new happening. No case is ever the same. I have learned so much in my career about science—how electricity works, physics, chemistry. It’s also very exhilarating arguing a motion before a judge, or presenting a trial to a jury. While I really like what I do, one of my favorite parts of this job is that I am the pro bono coordinator for my office. Pro bono work is very rewarding and our firm encourages it.

How did your Ohio University experience prepare you for law school and shape your career path?

There are so many things about my OHIO experience that helped prepare me for where I am now. I think first and foremost, I met so many amazing people during my time at OHIO, and it helped me to decide that I wanted to work with other great people. I think being a political science major also opened up my interest in the law. A lot of topics in political science go hand in hand with law, which is why it is no surprise that so many politicians are/were also lawyers. Having an interest in law definitely helps.

What do you think were the most important things you did as an undergrad to get you prepared for law school?

I honestly wasn’t sure that I was going to apply for law school until maybe the second half of my third year at OHIO. I am lucky that I was just drawn to law and a lot of my political science classes were law-related. I am glad that I took an interest in some of the law-based classes. They really gave me a flavor of what I then learned in much greater detail in law school. Some of my favorites were Political Theory with Professor Julie White, International Relations, Constitutional Law with Professor John Gilliom and Great Jurists with the late Professor Henderson.

I’m also glad I had a lot of writing and English classes because a lot of what I do as an attorney is read, write, and argue.

Do you have any advice for students interested in law?

Do your best in college and study for the LSAT so you have the best chances to get into a good school. If you want a big firm job, doing well in school and testing is key. Also, get involved in as much stuff as possible, firms love super-involved overachieving students.

Don’t stress to get into a great and expensive school if you cannot—as long as you excel in law school, firms will hire you. DePaul is no Harvard, but I worked hard, joined Law Review, and basically tried to be as involved as my time allowed. And that pays off.

Make sure you want to make the commitment. It isn’t cheap.

Don’t be intimidated by law school. A lot of things that I heard about how difficult and competitive law school is were just not true, at least not in my experience. It’s a new type of thinking, but you’ll figure it out.

Try everything in terms of classes in law school. You may find the unexpected is what you end up loving.

Don’t lose your personality when you go to law school. Lawyers are salespeople by nature. They are selling themselves and the fact that they are good lawyers who will do a great job for their clients. It’s difficult to market and obtain clients if you lose your personality. I’m sure that won’t be a problem for anyone at Ohio University. We have some of the best people around.

What is your favorite Ohio University memory?

Many of my favorite memories aren’t fit for print, but some of my favorite memories were right before graduation, spending time with friends that I had made at OU. There was such a sense of excitement to go on to new things, but such a horrible feeling of not wanting to leave OU. The bar crawls. I’ll add that Halloween each year was always an absolute blast. I don’t know if it has become tamer or wilder since I’ve graduated, but I still have people who meet me to this day that praise OU Halloween when they find out I attended OU.

Anything else you would like to share?

GO BOBCATS! Cherish your time at Ohio University. It is sincerely one of the greatest times of your life.

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