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Lauren Rucinski on RBG, IRAC and the WOTUS rule

Published in 2022 Louisiana Super Lawyers Magazine

My nickname is … LJ (Lauren Jean). “Lauren” is such a popular name. I went to undergraduate out of state and did not know a soul, so I rebranded myself as LJ. I have since pivoted back to Lauren, but everyone I met during college still calls me LJ.

I can’t go a day without … black coffee.

If you were in my office, you’d … know right away that I am a Virginia Tech Hokie.  

My colleagues would be surprised to know that … I play on an over-30 recreational soccer team.

The quality I most like in a lawyer is … the ability to balance being a zealous advocate for the client but also a good human being.

My courtroom walk-up music would be … the instrumental intro to “Enter Sandman” by Metallica.

When I started, I wish I knew … that I knew nothing. Out of law school, I could IRAC with the best of them, but it certainly did not prepare me to practice law. This is especially true in niche practices like mine.

My career high point (so far) has been … preparing briefing to the federal circuit in a patent infringement case.  

If I weren’t a lawyer, I’d be … a wedding planner.

The SCOTUS justice I wish I could have met is … the GOAT, RBG. RIP.

The SCOTUS decision I’d overturn is … Rapanos v. US, 547 U.S. 715 (2006). Not a fan of a plurality and the resulting yo-yo-ing of the WOTUS rule.

A different practice area that intrigues me is … mergers and acquisitions. I have assisted in due diligence reviews on the environmental side, but delving into the nuts and bolts of a deal seems interesting.

I can’t believe more people haven’t read … Circe by Madeline Miller. We all read Greek mythology in grade school, but this novel makes a goddess of a villain by switching the point of view.  

Nothing cheers me up like … cold-weather football games (wish we had any in Louisiana).

My fictional hero is … Hermione Granger. I read the first Harry Potter book a year after it published and was from then on a steadfast fan.

My real-life hero is … my mom. She thrived in a male-dominated engineering field and inspired me to chase my dreams.

The talent I wish I had is … the ability to sing on key—ask my steering wheel.

My favorite song lyric is … “The monsters turned out to be just trees/When the sun came up you were looking at me” (I am a Taylor Swift fanatic.)

The last TV show I binge-watched was … Clickbait.

My favorite podcasts are … Not Another True Crime Podcast and Office Ladies.

My guilty pleasure is … chocolate milk.

My favorite word is … humongous. Especially if it is used with a deadpan tone.

My least-favorite word is … “utilized” because it is a word made up by engineers (and I can say that, being an engineering grad). Just say “used.”

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