Sunil K. Raju (pronounced “Sue-neal Rah-zhew”) is an experienced trial lawyer with over 15 years’ experience. He focuses his practice on real estate litigation, landlord-tenant disputes, land use, and general litigation. He is a battle-tested guide who helps clients navigate how best to use the legal system to serve their objectives.
Sunil has tried over 150 jury and judge trials, including over 80 jury trials, and numerous trial-related motions. Nowadays, many trial lawyers in mid-sized and large firms become partners without trying a single case all the way through the litigation process. Sunil has tried and won cases against experienced trial lawyers, including one case with six trial lawyers on the other side.
Early on in his legal career, Sunil made a conscious effort to try as many cases as he could, rather than shying away from the courtroom. Today, most lawyers settle their cases, and as a result, there are many lawyers who rarely are in the trenches trying cases and learning and honing their craft. While some cases can and should settle, some cases simply deserve to be aggressively tried in court for a client to see justice.
Trying cases is a craft, and real trial lawyers try cases regularly. Lawyers can only learn how litigation works by trying cases over and over again. There is a steep learning curve, and a lawyer cannot operate at a high level unless they put the time and energy in learning what works in practice. If a lawyer just reads books and takes courses, but never tries cases, then they are like a surgeon who rarely operates. Who wants that surgeon?
Born in Chicago and raised in rural east Texas, Sunil was born to parents who immigrated to the United States to give their children the American Dream. Sunil first discovered confidence in the legal profession in law school, where he placed first in an appellate mock trial competition. “I was the guy who sat in the back and never said anything in class. When I won the competition, I was as surprised as everyone else.”
After law school, Sunil spent six years prosecuting criminal cases, where he gained substantial trial experience. He studied the top trial lawyers at the courthouse, watching their performances and studying transcripts of their cases. He incorporated their best tactics and techniques into his own practice. “One of my favorite career highlights is from a jury trial I won, where the judge told me afterwards: ‘I was the best trial lawyer to try a case in their courtroom in the last ten years. That was truly gratifying.”’
Sunil began his legal career as a prosecutor in Portland, where he served for six years, and has been in private practice representing clients and business owners over the last nine years. He built up his north coast litigation practice at Campbell & Popkin, LLC, in Seaside, where he established himself as a go-to resource for clients with real estate issues, and litigation issues generally, in Clatsop County, Tillamook County, and Columbia County. Additionally, he represents clients on a limited basis in the Portland area and statewide.
With farmers, businesspeople, and investors in his family tree, starting Coast Land Law was a natural choice for Sunil. “Real estate is so central to people’s hopes and dreams. Who doesn’t want to own, manage, and invest in real estate? Ownership of property is part of the American Dream. I really enjoy getting to know my clients and how I can use my skills and experience to help them achieve their hopes and dreams as they relate to owning property.”
Dedicated to continuing to perform at a high level, Sunil regularly takes courses on the latest legal developments and works on a variety of skills and techniques to hone his craft. “Most trial lawyers, after a certain point, just coast along, which is a real disservice to their clients. I view the work I do for clients as a real privilege and work hard on an ongoing basis to keep getting better and better over time.”
Sunil has trained with experienced trial lawyers at the National Institute for Trial Advocacy, the National District Attorneys Association, and the Oregon Trial Lawyers College. In addition to representing clients in real estate disputes, landlord-tenant matters, and land use cases, he also represents clients in a wide variety of other litigation matters. He currently serves as the president of the Clatsop County Bar Association. When not practicing law, Sunil enjoys spending time with his wife Christy, reading, hiking, and traveling.
- As a young man, he initially pursued a career as a professional trumpet player.
- He spent a year studying abroad in Saint Petersburg, Russia.
- Shares a birthday with his wife.
- Loves spicy food: “It’s not hot enough unless it makes you sweat.”
- J.D., Lewis & Clark Law School, Portland, Oregon
- B.A., Economics, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois
- Study Abroad, Herzen State Pedagogical University of Russia, Saint Petersburg
- Russian Language School, Middlebury College, Middlebury, Vermont
- President, Clatsop County Bar Association
- Real Estate and Land Use Section, Oregon State Bar
- Civil Litigation Section, Oregon State Bar