Who are you?
My name is Laura Schultes. I grew up the daughter of a veterinarian and non-profit executive director in north central Iowa. My childhood was spent living in the country and attending small town schools. Then life took me to Iowa City, the southwest United States and even out of the country before I landed back in Cedar Rapids, which is now the city I call home.
What motivates you to do what you do?
The visible resilience of our clients to overcome life-altering challenges and the opportunities to help shape the law for greater fairness.
The clients who walk through our doors or pick up the phone to call us are often coming to us at one of the hardest moments of their life: the loss of a loved one, a life-altering injury, the sudden end of a long career. Our clients face the unbelievable challenge to take those unexpected events and figure out a way to move forward in life. We have the privilege to be witness to our clients’ deep inner strength to push forward with their lives. We also have the privilege to help clients start to put the pieces of their life back together. Being a small part of that process is both humbling and motivating.
I also see my work as an attorney extending far beyond each individual client. The law is not always fair. The “rules of the game” don’t always produce the right result. But from time to time while working on a single case for a single client, an opportunity arises to question the law as it is written or nudge the “rules of the game” towards greater fairness. It is motivating to me that I could play a role in making the system just a little bit fairer into the future.
What is your favorite thing about your job?
The people I work with. All of the attorneys, paralegals and administrative staff are not only kind and friendly but, as an office, we have a team mindset – we are all truly working towards the same goal of helping our clients. We work hard, we help each other, we learn from each other, we celebrate each other’s achievements and we have fun together.
What might someone be surprised to learn about you?
I speak Spanish fluently and spent a few years right out of law school living in South America doing human rights work. While it may seem like I made a big career leap – and I did – there is more overlap than meets the eye. Much of my work abroad involved educating individuals about the law and their rights; I continue to enjoy helping my clients at RSH understand the legal process and how the law effects them and their case. Beyond that, the work shares a common thread of working on behalf of and helping individual people. My past experience strengthened my ability to understand an issue from many angles and within the broader context of the law. On a client relationship level, I am sensitive to the fact that each of our clients comes to us with their own, unique personal story. Hopefully those skills make me a better attorney.
What do you do when you are not being an attorney? My parents still live in rural north central Iowa and I have three sisters, three great brothers in-law and a growing list of nieces and nephews spread out across the country. I love getting to spend time with them and often it also means I get to travel to fun and interesting places.
When I’m not traveling to visit family, I enjoy traveling generally. Seeing new places – whether it’s across the river in Wisconsin or across the ocean to Europe – is always exciting to me. Since I was a kid, I loved going on long road trips and apparently that desire to wander has stuck with me as I’ve aged.
As much as I like to travel I also like coming home and soaking up what Iowa has to offer. I love the outdoors and when weather permits, I enjoy being active outside – riding my bike, hiking, kayaking, and snowshoeing.
If you weren’t an attorney, what would you be doing?
I have often thought being a chef and running my own restaurant would be fun. Cooking allows me to work with my hands and be creative in a very different way than I am as an attorney. I also think community development and community organizing work would be fun. I really enjoy all of the great amenities in our community – the bike trails, parks, farmers markets, musical acts, and local eateries and small business. I admire the efforts of the members and leaders of our community who are behind these types of projects.