“People always ask me how I went from public relations to law, and they’re actually more similar than you might think,” said Jerabek, who made shareholder in July with von Briesen & Roper in Madison after five years with the firm. “I spend most of my day writing, as I did before, and trying to solve problems for people, as I did before. The subject matter, the expertise is different, but the day to day is actually very similar.”
Similar, yes. But not enough to keep her on the marketing side of that coin.
“I was always interested in becoming a lawyer,” said Jerabek, who studied journalism and spent two years in advertising and public relations before starting law school.
“I was intrigued by the profession of being a lawyer, not so much the law itself, but being able to help people navigate complicated or stressful situations.”
These days, those situations tend to revolve around estate and trust planning, real estate transactions and leases, and often involve helping family companies and start-ups find creative solutions to their troubles or start new ventures — something she knows about firsthand, since her husband, Joshua Jerabek, a former agricultural journalism major (that’s how they met), has taken on marketing for an area tech start-up.
But it’s not just her real world experience that sets Jerabek apart.
“In law, we talk about the finders, the grinders and the minders. Very rarely do you get one that is all three, and she is,” said Chris Jenny, also a shareholder with von Briesen & Roper. “Megan is smart, yet practical. She’s got the book smarts, yet the street smarts to guide her clients and give them practical advice. It’s a pretty rare combination. She’s one of the good ones.”
Good or not, Jerabek said staying on top isn’t just about doing your best work. It’s also about marketing.
“I started networking really early,” Jerabek said. “I started meeting other young professionals who were starting their careers at the same time, knowing that even though they didn’t have any work for me then, someday they would.”
It’s part of the reason the already busy mom of two — Reiter, 4, and Raleigh, 18 months — got involved with Downtown Madison Inc., a non-profit focused on economic growth, in part, by drawing on the strength of professional expertise and relationships.
“I really wanted to create professional connections early on, so I could have people to lean on outside my area of expertise, and I could do the same for other people,” Jerabek said.