Larraine McNamara-McGraw has more than legal expertise to guide her when working with clients fighting to keep their homes; she has personal experience, too.
After going through a divorce in the late 2000s, McNamara-McGraw’s home entered the foreclosure process and she decided to fight back.
“I learned a lot by going through the process and saw how mixed up it was,” the attorney with Horizons Law Group LLC, Brookfield, said. “People were trying to get mortgage modifications as their homes were being taken away from them. I saw that this was a whole area of the law that was being underserved. I was able to make lemonade out of lemons.”
Not enough attorneys handle foreclosure defense, she said.
“No one is really helping the middle class with this issue,” McNamara-McGraw said. “It’s been fascinating to be in a field where there are so few attorneys and you take what you learn from your experiences and then apply it to the next case.
Her personal experiences were a great motivator, she said.
“My clients are very appreciative when they hear I’ve been through it myself,” she said. “It’s very gratifying helping families.”
Michelle Fitzgerald, the owner of Horizons Law Group, said she is impressed by the ways McNamara-McGraw goes out of her way for clients. She said thank-you notes from grateful clients are not an uncommon result of the attorney’s work.
“Larraine is a zealous advocate for them,” Fitzgerald said. “She is helping a lot of homeowners stay in their homes.”
While the number of foreclosure cases has decreased since the years immediately following the recession, plenty of calls still come in from people needing help, McNamara-McGraw said.
“I really focus on families who want to stay in their homes,” she said.
In addition to foreclosure defense, McNamara-McGraw, a former Milwaukee alderwoman, also handles employment law and civil rights cases.
“I’ve always practiced in more contentious areas,” she said. “I like being in court and making my case in front of a judge. But I’ve also learned after practicing for 32 years about respecting the other side and working together.”
McNamara-McGraw’s passion for justice extends beyond her work at Horizons Law, as well. She founded a legal clinic at Repairers of the Breach, a day program for homeless people in Milwaukee, and continues to volunteer there.
“Larraine has really blazed a trail for women attorneys my age,” Fitzgerald said. “It’s been such a privilege to work with her and see her in action.”