As a Partner in Conn Maciel Carey’s Chicago office, Mark Trapp specializes in labor and employment law with our Employment Practice Group. He arbitrates, litigates, and advises clients on multiemployer pension funds and withdrawal liability issues, as well as labor relations, union elections, and collective bargaining. He also handles various types of employment litigation and grievance arbitrations. Between 2014 and 2017, Mark was recommended in the Labor-Management Relations category by The Legal 500 United States and has been selected to Super Lawyers from 2020 to 2023.
Get to Know Mark!
Where is your favorite vacation spot?
My family doesn’t have one specific favorite. My wife is from Mexico, so we celebrate each daughter’s quinceañera—a traditional celebration of a girl’s fifteenth birthday. But instead of having the usual party, we decided to let them choose anywhere they wanted to go and make it a special trip just for them. So far, we’ve had three daughters reach that milestone. We’ve traveled to London and Hawaii, and we enjoyed a Disney cruise. Our youngest daughter is approaching 15, and we can’t wait to see what she chooses. She’s leaning toward Alaska, but she’s not sure.
We’ve also been camping in Gettysburg many times, including during the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg. It’s a great place for hiking and history.
What was your first job?
I had two jobs while I was in high school. I worked as a janitor at the local Post Office and as a dishwasher in a hotel kitchen. Later I became a server in the hotel’s restaurant. They may not sound like glamorous jobs, but I liked them. With jobs like these, where you’re working with your hands, you see immediate, physical results. There’s something satisfying about that.
What do you do for fun?
I love to write! In 2019, I published a book—A Destiny of Undying Greatness: Kiffin Rockwell and the Boys Who Remembered Lafayette. It’s about a WWI pilot who fought for France before the United States entered the war. What he and other Americans did was remarkable. Their motivation was what they believed to be their debt to Lafayette, who had played a key role in America’s fight for independence more than a century earlier. The book took five years to complete. The research was fascinating, and the writing was fun. You can find out more at https://undyinggreatness.com/ or on Amazon.
I also like coaching my kids’ soccer and basketball teams. And we love our family road trips!
If you could share a cup of coffee with one individual, living or dead, who would it be?
Well first, I don’t drink coffee. I’d have to switch to a glass of chocolate milk, ginger ale, or root beer.
I suppose I’d like to meet Abraham Lincoln. I would ask him how he dealt with the constant pressure and stress of the Civil War, particularly when he lost his 11-year-old son, William. So in addition to the pressure and stress, there was profound grief.
What do you “Netflix”?
My family doesn’t watch a lot of TV, so we don’t really have anything that stands out as special. Usually, we’re more likely to play board and card games, go for a walk, or take short road trips.
But there are a few shows we’ve liked. Merlin is about the wizard Merlin and his friendship with King Arthur. Watership Down is a short animated series about a group of rabbits. It is quite well done, but small children may find it a bit intense. Looking back, we quite enjoyed Downton Abbey and recently have found The Chosen, a series about the apostles, to be intense and captivating.
What is your greatest accomplishment (personal and/or professional)?
My greatest personal accomplishment is my family! They are the most important in my life. I prioritize them and try to spend as much time as possible with them.
On the professional side, I have won a lot of cases and saved clients a lot of money, A happy client is an accomplishment.
What is your most embarrassing lawyer/professional moment?
One evening, I was scheduled to meet a new client at a formal dinner event a few hours’ drive away. I gave myself plenty of time to get there on time and get dressed. Or so I thought.
I didn’t realize until I was nearing the city that the event was in a different time zone, so I had one less hour than I thought! But that’s not all – my cell phone died, so I no longer had access to the directions to the event, and no way to call. That made me even more late, and I didn’t have time to change my clothes.
I eventually found the place and dashed inside. In a room full of people in fancy dress, here I was in my Cubs jersey, cargo shorts and combat boots. Fortunately, they understood my dilemma, and everything worked out fine.
What advice would you give to a law student or young professional?
Be careful about debt, and don’t put aside your personal life too much. Some people delay getting married or other personal things for the sake of a career. But I say don’t sacrifice personal relationships for the sake of professional advancement.
What do you like most about working at CMC?
There’s no drama and not much rigmarole!