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Home / Supplements and Special Sections / WJA 2019 / Cara Rose- Franke Schultz & Mullen

Cara Rose- Franke Schultz & Mullen

cara-roseCara Rose knew she wanted to be a lawyer growing up, but she didn’t necessarily think it would be in Springfield.

“I always thought growing up that I’d move away and never get married, never have children, have some glamorous life in some big city,” Rose said.

In contrast to that youthful vision, Rose is married, has three young boys and a fourth on the way, and is firmly ensconced in the legal community of Springfield, where she has practiced ever since earning her law degree from the University of Missouri in 2006.

“I actually really enjoy this size [of city], where there’s enough opportunities and enough experiences that it feels like a large city a lot of times,” she said. “But especially within the local bar, it’s small enough that you have a lot of close relationships and you really get to know the people that you practice with over the years.”

Last October, Rose became the managing partner of Franke Schultz & Mullen’s Springfield office. The defense firm is well known in Kansas City, and under Rose its once-fledgling Springfield operation has blossomed. The office has two attorneys — a roster that Rose hopes to double — plus five staff, all serving the southern Missouri and northern Arkansas market.

Rose, who previously spent 12 years with Wallace Saunders’ Springfield office, provides insurance defense representation. Her clients range from convenience-store chains to medical providers, with cases that include “a wide gamut of pretty much anything you can insure against,” she said.

Rose grew up in Rogersville, a small city outside Springfield. Her friends and family have said since her childhood that she’d one day be a lawyer — not because she was argumentative, but rather because she enjoyed reading and analyzing things.

“My dad was more of an engineer, so he physically took things apart and rebuilt them. I find that I do it more on the mental side of things,” she said. “I would never be able to be an engineer, but I love to take apart arguments and allegations and piece them back together into what makes the most sense.”

In her career, Rose has had 16 jury trials — a difficult feat in an age when most legal matters end in out-of-court settlements. In 2015, her efforts earned her the Lon O. Hocker Award, an annual honor that the Missouri Bar Foundation gives to outstanding trial attorneys.

“I really enjoy trying cases,” Rose said. “That’s how I try to focus my practice. I prepare every case as if it’s going to trial, and then the ones that actually go are ready to go.”

Such a practice requires a deft balancing act. Sometimes a case appears to be worth less than what the plaintiff demands, and it’s up to a jury to say which side was wrong. Some clients will refuse to consider settlement, while others just want the case to go away. And sometimes a client wants to fight the matter to the death — at least, right until the eve of trial.

“I consider myself very blessed to have had those experiences that I’ve had and to have had those clients who trust me enough to say, ‘Let’s try the case and see what happens,’” Rose said.