Raoul Shah: Keeping Humanity and Compassion Close
For Raoul Shah, the decision to become a lawyer was always about helping people. His passion stems from validating victims’ experiences and helping them hold their wrongdoers accountable.
Before joining Robins Kaplan in early 2023, Raoul spent two-and-a-half years as a Hennepin County prosecutor, focused on violent adult crimes. He worked on everything from DWI to murder cases, spending most of his time on the team that prosecuted adults who committed crimes against children. Before that, he was a child protection attorney for two years, representing child protective services.
“Seeking justice and accountability on behalf of children has always been very important to me,” he said. “I tried several child sexual assault cases where almost no one believed the child. It was crucial for me to give children a voice in the court process.”
During his two years in the child protection division, Raoul tried eight court trials. Those cases often involved multiple years of history, staying on top of documents, and being very familiar with files. On the criminal side, he tried approximately 15 trials in his two-and-a-half years as a prosecutor. Each case has had a lasting impact on him.
“Every conversation I’ve had with someone who’s been personally harmed or lost someone close to them–especially when it involves children–has stuck with me. Some have reminded me of the importance of being a voice for those who otherwise wouldn’t have one in the system. Some have been, and continue to be, humbling reminders to do better–to not let the system fail those who have already been harmed,” he said.
From his extensive trial experience, Raoul has learned to think on his feet and react quickly to the unexpected. He found that being ready to pivot at a moment’s notice is just as important as being familiar with the case and prepared for trial.
“Trials are very dynamic and the worst thing you can do is go into it expecting everything to go your way or exactly as planned,” he said.
Raoul has also learned the importance of building rapport and credibility with juries. This has been especially imperative in his role as a prosecutor over the past few years, when there has been a lot of criticism of the criminal justice system, law enforcement, and prosecutors.
“I had to be even more sure that I was credibly and effectively portraying the facts to the jury,” he said. “I’m not someone who will put on a mask or a face when talking to a client, a judge, opposing counsel, or the jury. Everyone will get the same Raoul Shah throughout the entirety of the case, because authenticity and humanity are extremely important as a trial attorney.”
Now, as an associate in the firm’s Personal Injury and Medical Malpractice Group, Raoul looks forward to continuing to grow his trial experience in his new role as a plaintiff’s attorney.
“My goal has always been to validate the experiences of those harmed, and as a plaintiff’s attorney now, that translates perfectly,” he said. “I get to help share the client’s experience with the court, with opposing parties, and with the jury to make them see that the client’s experience mattered, and to seek accountability and compensation for the harm.”
While the work may be slightly different, Raoul still approaches it with the same mission in mind: helping people.
“We see people on their worst days, and we must try to make things better,” he said.
“One of the things that has always been important to me is keeping humanity and compassion close. It’s something that can easily get lost in the legal profession. I keep these things close to my heart as I work with clients who have experienced a significant injury or loss and continue to live with that every day.”
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