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Up & Coming Honorees: Sarah J. Luem, 37

Associate, Capes Sokol, St. Louis

sarah-luemPractice Area: Business and real estate transactions

Law School: Saint Louis University

Sarah Luem was a 33-year-old associate at Capes Sokol when, one day, in the middle of an intense mediation session for a client, she learned she had cancer. She has successfully completed treatment, and she now volunteers for organizations — such as the Young Survival Coalition — that assist young women afflicted by breast cancer. Meanwhile, at Capes Sokol she has exhibited an experience level that one colleague described as “way beyond her years,” thanks to her pre-law-school background as a consultant for Fortune 500 companies. At the firm, she has served as the primary attorney for various teams of lawyers in complex business disputes that involve ownership interests with enterprise values of several billion dollars. In one case, she helped a prominent developer sell his interests in more than 100 retail shopping centers valued at more than $300 million.

What is the best career advice you have received?

Don’t focus on generating business as a young lawyer. The most important thing that you can do to generate business in the future is to focus on improving your skills and becoming a fantastic lawyer. The business will then naturally follow.

What has been your favorite moment as an attorney?

After working for more than seven years on an epic business “divorce” related to a large real-estate development firm, we finally settled the case — and completed the final day of closing on Friday the 13th — during an ice storm that had shut down the rest of St. Louis.

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