Chicago-based attorney Susan Capra knows medical negligence cases inside and out. A former registered nurse at a top children’s hospital, she spent years working with infants and young children with serious neurological conditions. In1989, Capra switched to advocating for those children and families in the courtroom by joining Clifford Law Offices, where she is now a partner. As a lawyer, Capra has succeeded at getting justice for families whose children have been the victim of medical malpractice. A host of the cases she’s litigated have resulted in verdicts and settlements of more than $10M to help support children who need it most.
Lawdragon: Your legal practice focuses on medical and hospital negligence – have you developed a niche within that practice?
Susan Capra: Yes, I specialize in obstetrical and pediatric cases.
LD: How did you first become interested in developing a practice in medical negligence?
SC: In addition to being a lawyer, I am also a registered nurse. I worked at a children’s hospital. As a nurse, I always wanted to work with children. As a lawyer, I am helping them in a different profession.
LD: Do you feel your work as a registered nurse helps you in your legal career?
SC: My work as a registered nurse in pediatrics was very helpful in my law career. In most cases, I am familiar with the medicine involved.
LD: Is there a specific reason why you chose your law school?
SC: DePaul has an excellent reputation in the Chicago legal community.
LD: Is this the type of practice you imagined yourself practicing while in law school?
SC: Yes. I was very fortunate to meet Robert Clifford at law career day at DePaul Law School. He is not only a phenomenal lawyer but also a great man. I am working at a premier law firm in an area of law I love. I have been with Clifford Law Offices for over thirty years and I am grateful to Robert Clifford for giving me the opportunity to serve so many wonderful clients over the years. I could not have had a more rewarding career.
LD: That’s wonderful. Do you have any advice you’d give to current law school students?
SC: Work hard and always put the client first. Always be honest in dealing with clients and opposing counsel.
LD: How would you describe your style as a lawyer?
SC: I describe my style of practice as being tough and relentless in my representation of clients.
LD: What are some aspects about this work that you find professionally satisfying? What keeps you excited about it?
SC: The best part of the practice is the clients. Once I meet my clients, especially the children, I am 100% focused and committed to their case. I am blessed to work with incredible families. Despite great adversity, they face every day with strength and courage. It is my goal to make life easier for them. I also enjoy the intellectual challenge of the cases. Medicine, like law, is always changing and evolving. It is gratifying to learn new things in both law and medicine.
LD: As your work continues to change with the field, are there any trends you are seeing in your practice?
SC: No specific trends except cases are getting more complex and involved. In a birth injury matter, I work with at least 12 experts. This was not the case 30 years ago. You need more experts to prove the cases and fend off the defenses.
LD: Over the years, do you have one central lesson you’ve learned from your work?
SC: The guiding principle that I have used throughout my career is to put the client first. I am cognizant of the enormous privilege and responsibility I have in representing brain injured children. I never forget that I am fighting for them.