Mark Budzinski was five years into his career as a medical malpractice attorney when he re-enlisted with the U.S. Marine Corps.
“My grandfather served in World War II, my dad served in Vietnam,” said Budzinski, who first enlisted as a teenager with the Marines and served for nearly a decade before returning in 2005 for a seven-month combat deployment with the 3rd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment. “I would have had a hard time going through life knowing I had not made an effort to do my part. And I didn’t think the fact that I was an attorney really gave me an excuse to not do it.”
For Budzinski, his time in the Al Anbar province, home to Sunni insurgent strongholds, was a matter of duty. And it’s an experience, he said, that had nothing to do with his practice, his role as managing partner at the Corneille Law Group LLC or his work to establish the firm’s Green Bay office, which he opened shortly after his return from Iraq.
But, for fellow partner Barrett Corneille, the connection could not be clearer.
“I think it says a lot about him,” Corneille said. “He’s extraordinarily modest and competitive and honest and tough.”
And, Corneille said, that attitude carries over into Budzinski’s legal career.
“He will try very difficult cases against good lawyers,” Corneille said. “In other words, he’s not afraid to lose.”
That is an almost radical approach at a time when fewer and fewer civil cases go to trial. But it’s a tactic that has paid off not only for Budzinski, who has taken more than 35 cases to verdict in recent years, but also for the four attorneys who joined the Green Bay office since he opened it in 2006.
“We’ve made great efforts to try to make sure those attorneys who do want to be the first-line trial lawyers are given that exposure,” Budzinski said. “That’s probably one of the best things about the position I’m in now.”
It’s as important to him, he said, as being there for his battalion, as important as making time for his wife and three children. That balancing act, Budzinski said, has posed the greatest challenge of his career.
Corneille said it’s a challenge Budzinski has met.
“To be able to have built a practice as he did,” Corneille said, “try the number of cases he has and be able to balance career and family is something really to be proud of.”