Karl Gruse is an attorney with perspective.
In the fast-moving legal industry, concerns about mental health and well-being have become increasingly prevalent. Karl’s approach to balancing his career and personal life involves giving all he can — first to his family but also to his work at Renaud Cook Drury Mesaros, PA (RCDM), the firm’s clients, and the community.
“At the end of the day, what’s important is what you can give back,” Karl said. “In our job, we are representing our clients every day and working to help them out in a time of need. Beyond the legal world, just in general as an adult and as a person and as a member of society, it’s important to help others. I always try to live by that, and I think it’s an approach we here at RCDM value, too.”
Karl’s interest in pursuing a legal career goes back to his high school days serving in student government, including as student council president, with an appreciation for the challenge of public speaking. But even more truthfully, he admits to being a big fan of attorney-based shows like L.A. Law and Perry Mason.
Combine that with a grandfather who served in Arizona’s House of Representatives, and there’s no surprise Karl ended up in a law firm.
Born and raised in Arizona, Karl has found the right place for his legal career, having joined RCDM in the summer of 2018. He’s experienced firsthand the tremendous growth in Phoenix and the Valley area as a whole. This includes his childhood, time spent completing his undergraduate degrees in English and Political Science at Arizona State University and then returning to the southwest after earning his Juris Doctor from Drake University in Iowa.
“I enjoy living here in the Valley, even though the heat gets a bit much about three months of the year,” Gruse said. “I’ve got a connection here. This is home. Everything I do here is to help make Arizona a better place and make a contribution to the people of Arizona.”
At RCDM, one emphasis of Karl’s practice is litigation involving the transportation industry. He says the underlying subject matter in the cases truly interests him, saying the trucking industry remains “the backbone of our commerce ”
Overall, Karl assists clients in all types of legal matters, from federal, state, and local compliance to defending those facing serious allegations of negligence or wrongdoing.
The high-stakes nature of the litigation RCDM handles appealed to Karl when he made the decision to join the firm. He’s defended clients in product liability cases, premises liability cases, and other general litigation matters, as well, and relishes the challenges addressed on behalf of clients.
“It’s just a wonderful group of people I work with here,” he said. “We have top-notch people who are dedicated to their clients and want to do the best job they can. There’s a diverse client base that we appeal to, and that’s something that I’ve found to be really exciting for me.
“It’s just been a tremendous opportunity and a great pleasure to be a part of that and to learn and grow as an attorney and as a person.”
Outside of the office, Karl spends time with his wife, an accomplished nurse practitioner, and their two kids. His daughter just left for college as an aspiring veterinarian, and his teenage son is a fellow “seamhead,” sharing his father’s passion for baseball.
There are also three dogs that need to be walked — individually, and sometimes the adventure of handling all of them at once — and Karl tries to find time to play golf, run, and bicycle as a way to stay in shape.
“I really do enjoy (bicycling) because you can put all your thoughts and troubles behind you and just get out and ride,” Karl said. “You can just concentrate on what you’re doing, and it’s an escape and relaxing for me.”
Yet, Karl seemingly takes few chances to relax. He contributes to environmental causes both locally and nationally and is an ardent supporter of the Pat Tillman Foundation. He’s participated each year since the inception of the annual 4.2-mile Pat’s Run — a distance chosen for the jersey number of the former budding NFL star who gave up his career to join the military before tragically losing his life serving the United States in Afghanistan.
Somehow, Karl balances the family, professional, and civic aspects of his life and enjoys every minute.
“It can be tiring, but at the end of the day when you sit back and someone sends you a nice thank-you note, it puts a smile on your face,” Karl said. “Not because that’s the reason that you do it but because it makes you feel good to help out. It can be a little tiring, but it’s really rewarding to know you’ve been a positive influence on someone or been able to help someone out in need.”