Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - 44

MEMBER SPOTLIGHT
was saveable, or at least whether I could make
an impact."
In the Dominican Republic she travelled from
community to community on her Honda XL
motorcycle, working with women business
owners and helping Doctors Without Borders
find patients to treat.
One of her most powerful memories from that
time was the poverty. Most of the people she
met were poor not because they were unintelligent or lazy, but because they were stuck
in terrible conditions and couldn't change
anything. "They would work extremely hard all
their lives and yet could only make ends meet,
with little ability to save for their children's
future," Loughran says.
Once she started attending the University of
Illinois John Marshall Law School in Chicago,
Loughran took up distance running to help
her de-stress. "As lawyers, we put a lot of
pressure on ourselves," she says. During law
school she realized that "running gives me a lot
of calmness; it gives me a lot of perspective,
and it was at that point that I really started to
get out and do ultrarunning."
Loughran says she doesn't keep track of how
many official races she's done. But UltraSignup,
a platform that consolidates race records for
long-distance trail running enthusiasts and that
started tracking Loughran in 1998, lists 93 completed races, most of them on unpaved terrain.
In four of her 100-milers, she came in third place
for women. In a 2019 50K in Rosaryville State Park
in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, she came in first for
women and set a course record in 4:24:54. She's
also done seven Ironman Triathlons, where participants swim for 2.4 miles, bike for 112 miles,
and then run a marathon.
There are many years when Loughran was averaging two extreme events a month. In November
2018, for instance, she completed a 50-kilometer
race, a 50-miler, and a marathon, all before
Thanksgiving. This does not count basic marathons and half-marathons. In fact, a marathon on
Saturday and a half-marathon on Sunday is the
basic weekend training regimen for Loughran.
The numbers are not important, she says. "It's
less about winning and more about making
sure I'm still out there."
After she finished law school, Loughran
was accepted into the Attorney General's
Honors Program at the U.S. Department of
Justice. Through that program, under Attorney

44 WASHINGTON LAWYER

*

General Janet Reno, she worked on immigration
appeals and found herself as a new law school
graduate handling a number of arguments in
federal courts.
"The Department of Justice gives young attorneys great experience. I was coming out of law
school and in just a few years I was already
doing the circuit courts on a regular basis," she
says. "You get that interaction with the courts
and you get a sense from the courts what's
working and what isn't."
"In that sense it's irreplaceable in terms of your
ability to develop as a lawyer," she adds.
Next, she moved to her current firm of 24
years. At Steptoe, Loughran's specialty is appellate litigation, particularly for the railroad
industry, which provided the case that allowed
her to write the merits brief that went to the
Supreme Court.

"Running gives me
a lot of calmness; it
gives me a lot of
perspective."
"It was fun. It was about the intersection of
probably two very boring topics: taxes and
railroad workers' compensation," Loughran
recalls. The question, she explains, was how
lost damages in a workers' compensation award
are taxed. "This was a situation where the client
wanted the answer because the courts had
provided different answers," she says. "It wasn't
necessarily a win-or-lose situation."
In the end, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg agreed
with their argument, which is why an RBG
figurine stands serenely on a high shelf above
Loughran's desk.
In addition to that career high, Loughran
spends a good deal of time in district appellate
courts. Each state is different, which means "it's
always a learning experience," she says.
Her conversations often gravitate toward
running, especially if she can find a way to

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2020

combine races with client interactions. For
instance, a visit to a client in Texas means she
can run the Fort Worth marathon. "I'll get the
opportunity to meet them in person, go out
to dinner with them, and meet their families,"
she says.
Running also has become a kind of connector
in her family. Loughran admits she enjoys
signing up family members, including her two
brothers, three sisters, and multiple nieces and
nephews, for races. "We all stay together and
we all have fun and goof around," she says.
"We're sort of the von Trapp family, but instead
of singers, we're marathon runners."
Loughran says running gives her time to
catch up with friends. One of her best running
buddies is John Guendelsberger, a member of
the Justice Department's Board of Immigration
Appeals. Guendelsberger says he's known
Loughran since 1995. In the past, the two
would meet up for training runs at the Iwo
Jima Memorial, also called the Marine Corps
War Memorial, halfway between their homes.
"Now she's getting out of my league,"
Guendelsberger says. "She has an incredible
schedule of ultras. I don't know how she could
do that many."
Loughran insists she's slowed down. In 1998
she ran the Boston Marathon in 3:19, which was
a personal record, about a 7:40 pace. Today she
tends to run marathons in about 4:24, which is
a little over a 10-minute-mile pace.
In the end, it's not about pace or awards,
Loughran says, although she has a collection of
trophies and medals. Most of the time, running
gives her a moment of quiet contemplation.
"There is something about long-distance
running that gives you a calmness," says
Loughran. "There are times when I'm thinking
about a legal problem and I can't see my way
through it. I get up early in the morning and
go for a run, and when I come back at the end
of the run I've figured my way through it."
And even though she might have been slightly
disappointed that she didn't actually run for
100 miles nonstop in the Yeti, she figures she
has at least one more 100-miler left in her.
She has her eye set on one in May 2020 in the
Florida Keys.
Debra Bruno is a local journalist who writes for the
Washington Post, Washingtonian magazine, and
many other publications.



Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020

Digital Extras
Your Voice
From Our President
Practice Management
Calendar Of Events
The Opioid Litigation Wars
The Art Of Wellness: Law Firms Get Creative
Combating Secondary Trauma
Debating The Path Forward On Health Care Reform
Taking The Stand
On Further Review
Member Spotlight
Worth Reading
Attorney Briefs
Speaking Of Ethics
Disciplinary Summaries
Community & Connections
Special Section: Counting Down To The 2020 Conference
Last Word
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - Cover1
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - Cover2
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - 1
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - 2
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - 3
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - Digital Extras
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - 5
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - Your Voice
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - 7
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - From Our President
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - 9
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - Practice Management
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - 11
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - Calendar Of Events
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - 13
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - The Opioid Litigation Wars
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - 15
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - 16
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - 17
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - 18
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - 19
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - The Art Of Wellness: Law Firms Get Creative
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - 21
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - 22
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - 23
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - 24
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - 25
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - Combating Secondary Trauma
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - 27
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - 28
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - 29
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - 30
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - 31
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - Debating The Path Forward On Health Care Reform
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - 33
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - 34
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - 35
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - 36
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - 37
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - Taking The Stand
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - 39
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - On Further Review
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - 41
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - Member Spotlight
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - 43
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - 44
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - Worth Reading
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - 46
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - Attorney Briefs
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - Speaking Of Ethics
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - 49
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - Disciplinary Summaries
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - Community & Connections
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - Special Section: Counting Down To The 2020 Conference
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - 53
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - 54
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - 55
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - Last Word
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - Cover3
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - Cover4
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