The Rising Stars list is released by Super Lawyers, a rating service of outstanding lawyers that selects attorneys from all firm sizes and from more than 70 practice areas each year. Attorneys are selected through a multiphase selection process that includes peer nominations, evaluations and independent research, and each candidate is evaluated on peer recognition and professional achievement.

A 2017 graduate of the Knudson School of Law, McNulty is an associate attorney at Zimmerman Reed LLP. In this role, McNulty is a member of the public client practice group and represents states and municipalities in complex litigation involving consumer protection. In her practice, she handles all aspects of litigation, including preliminary investigations, pleadings, discovery, dispositive motion practice, oral arguments and trial preparation.

We asked the alumna and rising star about her experience at the state’s only law school and how it prepared her for her legal career, and this is what she had to say.

What are your favorite memories from your time in law school?

My strongest memories include competing in trials around the nation on USD's Trial Team, led by Professor Thomas Horton; working on the law review with fellow classmates, including my husband, Rene McNulty; competing in the finals of the Sam Masten Moot Court Tournament; and learning from exceptional professors like Professor Patrick Garry (employment law, administrative law, mass media) and Professor Hannah Haksgaard (employment discrimination, reproduction and the law), who inspired me and helped me develop my critical thinking and other legal skills while exploring exciting areas of the law. I also worked as a graduate assistant for Professors Wendy Hess and Mike McKey and enjoyed learning from them and sharing tips about legal writing and the Bluebook with first year law students.

What lesson from law school have you carried with you into your career?

The importance of strong, clear and well-organized legal writing. I also carry with me how critical it is to be prepared, and even when you’re prepared, prepare a bit more.

What is something you are proud of in your work?

I recently represented the State of Minnesota in litigation against tobacco companies, JUUL Labs, Inc. and Altria, for their role in contributing to the youth vaping epidemic, which led to a three-week jury trial in 2023 that achieved a $60.5 million settlement the day before closing arguments. I also represented individual state attorney generals in litigation against entities responsible for deceptive marketing, sale and distribution of opioids.

What advice would you give to current law students?

Build a strong foundation now. Law school is a great opportunity to build a strong foundation upon which good skills and habits develop to prepare and propel you in the field of law. The skills and habits you develop today, along with the base understanding of legal principles and concepts, will help you better serve your clients.

Most importantly, never stop fighting for your clients’ rights. It is a privilege to be an advocate for your clients and make their voices heard. Be unwavering in the pursuit of justice for your clients.

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