Partner, Bradley Arant Boult Cummings, LLP
Attorney Margaret Oertling Cupples is a busy partner in the Jackson law firm of Bradley Arant Boult Cummings, LLP, but through her community involvement devotes a large amount of time to making the city a better place to live.
Born in Ann Arbor, Mich., she graduated magna cum laude from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, and from Washington & Lee University School of Law in Lexington, Va. She accrued numerous honors at both universities and spent two summers at the Center for Bilingual and Multi-Cultural Study in Cuernavaca, Mexico.
“My law practice focuses on civil appeals and commercial litigation, representing corporations in trial-court level and appellate cases, mainly concentrating on products liability claims and claims that insurance sales practices were misleading or that an insurance company has breached a contract with a policyholder,” she said. “My work involves cases in Mississippi and in states across the country from California to Missouri to West Virginia.”
In addition to practicing law, Cupples has served as the firm’s managing partner for the Jackson office for the past six years. This position gives her the opportunity to work closely with the firm’s other offices, to be involved with human resources decisions, financial management and special projects.
A career highlight came for her in 2005 when the Mississippi Supreme Court handed down two decisions in cases on which she worked. “These two cases were landmark decisions in mass tort litigation,” she said. “Mississippi had been described as a Mecca for mass-tort litigation in which hundreds of plaintiffs sued dozens of defendants in several counties in the state where juries were known to be willing to hand out multi-million dollar awards.”
Cupples says these decisions were not only important to her client but also important to changing the legal landscape in Mississippi so that large corporations no longer view the state as somewhere they do not want to be.
She is admitted to practice in all state and federal courts in Mississippi, in the District of Columbia, and before the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Federal Circuit and the United States Supreme Court. She is recognized as one of the “Best Lawyers in America” in the field of appellate law and is included in Chambers USA’s listing of the best lawyers in Mississippi in appellate litigation, 2008.
An early role model for Cupples was her mother, who is a tireless advocate for her daughter and for the values of perseverance, determination and charity. “Another role model is a former law partner, now retired, who went to law school as a mother with young children when her husband was diagnosed with a serious illness,” she said. “She had not previously had a professional career but realized she would need to become the breadwinner for her family.
“She succeeded beyond everyone’s expectations, except probably her own. She told me when I was a young lawyer that in a profession dominated by men, it was especially important to put in extra effort and to prove that you could handle whatever the job threw at you, but still without trying to be one of the boys.”
Cupples and her husband, architect Brett Cupples, live in Jackson’s Belhaven neighborhood, which she says is “not just home; it is also a tangible reminder of what a community is where neighbors know each other’s kids, pets and life stories and where people sit on front porches and plant trees in the neighborhood’s parks.”
For leisure, she may be found singing at Fenian’s or at regional Celtic festivals, cooking, traveling or reading.
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