By KATE GENO
For Dede Zupanci, one fast-paced career field just wasn’t enough. After 10 years working in the advertising industry, Zupanci decided to pursue a law career and has worked as a medical malpractice defense lawyer at HeplerBroom for over 10 years.
After graduating from Southern Illinois University Carbondale as a radio/television major, Zupanci joined D’Arcy Advertising in St. Louis, working with clients such as M&M-Mars, TWA and Southwestern Bell. When business started to decline in the region, she decided against moving to a new city. She chose a new career path instead. In college, one of her favorite classes was broadcast law so she decided to enter law school. She earned her juris doctor from St. Louis University School of Law in 2002.
After graduation, she interned for a law firm in Springfield, Ill., that specialized in litigation. Zupanci enjoyed the fast pace of litigation because it was reminiscent of her advertising background and she liked working with new cases every day. She says the investigative aspect of law is her favorite part of the process. She starts with a problem and explores all the different angles of the problem to arrive at a solution.
In 2002, she began a full-time position with HeplerBroom on the medical malpractice defense team where she remains today. Her clients are mainly hospitals, doctors and nurses and most of her cases are based in Madison and St. Clair counties in Illinois, as well as St. Louis.
The medical field is fascinating to Zupanci. She claims no formal background in science, but she enjoys learning about each new medical topic that her caseload brings her way. The majority of her time is spent in investigation, depositions, discovery and meeting with clients.
According to Zupanci, it is very difficult for her clients to learn that a patient claims to have suffered mentally or physically as a result of their care. Her mission is to help those that care for others on a daily basis by lessening their stress when going through a lawsuit. The average length of her cases is three years, so she develops long-term relationships with clients. Satisfaction comes from arriving at the best outcome possible for her clients.
Zupanci volunteers for the Madison County 3rd Judicial Circuit Pro Bono committee. She is very family-oriented and spends the majority of her free time with her husband and two children in their hometown of Edwardsville.