For the first 10 years of my career, I defended several Fortune 500 companies in their products defense and toxic tort cases. However, for the past 10 years, my practice has been in commercial litigation with a focus on commercial real estate foreclosure work-outs.
How has your practice evolved in the last few years?
The nice thing about having practiced for so many years is that you become more confident in your trade and more willing to engage in other activities like speaking, mentoring, and doing pro bono work. In the last few years, I began serving on boards for underprivileged children and am also on the board of directors for the Chicago Bar Foundation, which helps to provide legal assistance to those who cannot otherwise afford it.
If you could offer one piece of advice for young lawyers, what would it be?
First, understand that in our profession there is uncertainty. Uncertainty breeds insecurity, so know the difference between your ego and reality. Second, sometimes you will win and sometimes you will lose. You will also make mistakes, and that is okay. It’s all a part of your professional journey. When this happens, do not get too high or too low – keep things in perspective. Lastly, keep a balance of your physical, mental, and spiritual life.
What are you most hopeful for about the future of the legal profession?
My hope is for more civility in the profession. I believe that if more lawyers would grow to understand that everyone is just doing their job, we’d see happier and healthier attorneys. To get there, lawyers must be impeccable with their word and always remember that our reputation is all we have in this business.
How has civility made a difference in your practice of law?
I would like to think that I treat opposing counsel with respect at all times. In my mind, opposing counsel is not your adversary. They are like you, passionately advocating for their client. Over the years, I’ve developed my relationships with my opposing counsel, and would go as far to confidently call them my friends. In fact, many of them have even donated to the charity that I oversee outside of the profession.
What do you do for fun?
I enjoy traveling, running, practicing meditation, and spending time with friends.
Cara Houck is a trial attorney specializing in commercial litigation at Miller, Canfield, Paddock and Stone, PLC. In addition to her law degree, Cara holds a master’s degree in business administration. She is recognized by Marquis Who’s Who for Excellence in Law, Illinois Leading Lawyers and Illinois Super Lawyers.