Q&A: Marcus Fruchter
Photo by David Durochik.
Family: He and his wife, Mitzi Baum, have a daughter, Sasha, who is 3½ years old.
Education: He earned his undergraduate degree from Michigan State University in 1996 and earned his law degree from the University of Chicago Law School in 2004.
Practice: A partner at Schopf & Weiss, he works with domestic and international companies and business people to solve business disputes in ways that both protect their legal rights and advance their strategic interests.
His practice encompasses prelitigation counseling and litigation in a variety of substantive areas.
1. Why did you become a lawyer?
I decided to become a lawyer because after college I worked awhile as a political consultant and I worked as an aide in the Senate on Capitol Hill and I also was a lobbyist for a nonprofit.
In each of those jobs, at certain times, my colleagues and I had to defer to lawyers. Oftentimes, for no other reason than that they were lawyers who had some specific skill set that the rest of us did not have.
2. What advice do you have for new lawyers?
The first is it is really not about you; it's about your clients in whatever area you practice in. It is really about the clients and finding the best way to advance their goals and objectives in a cost-effective manner. If you do a good job, the personal accolades will follow.
The second thing is it's important to keep in mind that it's a profession and you ought to act professionally. You can do a good job, you can advocate for your clients and you can try to correct injustices but you can do all of that being civil, polite and courteous.
3. What do you like the most and the least about being a lawyer?
The thing I like the most about being a lawyer is helping people achieve, whether it be personal or business goals, or some goal that the legal system can help them do. I also like having the opportunity, as I've been able to do in litigation, to learn about different industries.
The thing I like least is billing and keeping track of time. It's unpleasant.
4. If you could have lunch with anyone, living or dead, who would it be and why?
The reason I would choose him is to be around and have the chance to talk with someone with that immense intellect and experience. He really was a guy who beyond his scientific achievements had a lot of experiences and interests and just to be able to pick his brain would be amazing.
5. What's the last big case or matter that you handled and what did it entail?
I have two matters that are somewhat related for the same client that involve patent and antitrust litigation. The most challenging thing and most interesting thing is that it has required me and the rest of the people on the team to become fluent in two very diverse areas of law — patent law and antitrust litigation. And it also requires us to be fluent in two separate fact patterns and, at the same time, keep the client's goals and strategies in mind and how we accomplish that across two separate fronts at the same time …
6. What is your favorite childhood vacation?
I grew up in Hyde Park, on the South Side of Chicago, and one of the things my family would do when my brother and I were little was my parents liked to go to art festivals and antique festivals in rural parts throughout the Midwest in Michigan, Indiana and Wisconsin. It was really amazing to me, coming from the inner city, to travel to places in rural southern Indiana or northern Wisconsin and see a part of America that I wouldn't otherwise get to see.
7. How have you seen your practice change?
The immediate change has been e-discovery and the central role that has played in litigation. Discovery has always been expensive, but it seems that harvesting, collecting, reviewing and producing electronically stored information has taken over more and more parts of the litigation and more and more of the case. It's rare that you get a box of documents to review.
8. What is your favorite Chicago restaurant?
The first one is Marigold on Broadway in Uptown. It does a fantastic, modern take on Indian food and has one of my favorite meals to eat, Mussels Mole. My other favorite Chicago restaurant goes back to my childhood and that's Manny's. My dad would take my brother and I quite often so that's kind of a Chicago institution and one of my favorite places.
9. What's the strangest thing that happened to you as a lawyer?
I was volunteering as an election poll monitor, nonpartisan, and we had some reports that there were people being refused access to voting. I went to one of the polling facilities where this was happening and by showing up and announcing that I was there as a lawyer, and not even getting to the issue of what the problems were, they were resolved. That was a strange experience and it spoke to the power that lawyers still have in society to do good things and that whatever was going on they figured they better stop it.