Jessica and Jennifer Zupp are twin sisters who were born and raised in LeMars, Iowa. They went to high school, college, and law school together and graduated from Buena Vista University in 2003, both double-majoring in Criminal Justice and Political Science. Graduating from the University of South Dakota’s School of Law, they obtained their juris doctorates in 2006. Both studied for and passed the Iowa bar exam that same summer and were immediately employed as attorneys at separate law firms in Denison, Iowa.
After practicing law as associate attorneys for seven years the sisters, with support from friends and family, decided it was time to explore opening their own law firm. They had grown up competing with each other and winning numerous debates together, so they decided that together they would start their own business helping others.
Jennifer and Jessica had never run their own business before and did not know where to start, so their personal banker, Janine Keim of Consumer’s Credit Union in Denison, advised them to contact Todd Rausch, Regional Director of the Western Iowa Tech Small Business Development Center (SBDC) in Sioux City.
Todd met with the twins on multiple occasions, assisted them in reviewing and preparing the various applications and loan requests that accompany opening up a new business, and within three months of planning the business received a loan from Heritage Bank in Holstein. Zupp and Zupp Law Firm, P.C. opened its doors in July 2013 and assisted new clients the very first day.
“The Small Business Development Center, especially Todd Rausch, was instrumental in helping us find support and encouragement for our business,” says Jessica. “He also assisted us in contacting other loan officers, so we could compare financing options and spend wisely.”
Jessica and Jennifer’s law firm focuses on four main areas of the law: Jessica on criminal law and family law, and Jennifer on personal injury and worker’s compensation. The firm is unique in many ways: it is all female owned and operated, Jennifer is the only attorney in Denison that works with workers compensation, and their firm is the only law firm in Denison that offers bilingual services to Spanish speakers. In addition, Zupp and Zupp Law Firm is located on Highway 30 at 20th Street in Denison, where they are more easily accessible to clients. All other law firms in Denison are centralized uptown near the courthouse.
In the four years since the law firm opened, the Zupp sisters have seen their client base double in size and their revenue increase almost twofold. Jennifer and Jessica feel that the most surprising part of starting their own business is that they have been able to work mostly normal business hours and still pay all their bills, successfully balancing their family and work lives. They feel their biggest triumph to date has been helping hundreds of injured workers in their community get fair compensation and then watching those same people start their own businesses or go back to school to get necessary education. Jessica says, “We love what we do and are grateful every day that we get to do it. Praise be to Todd for holding our hands to get started.”
Zupp and Zupp Law Firm is a firm advocate of its community. Along with promoting community events on social media, it donates to several different community events and causes including After Prom, the Bill Riley Talent Competition, the Jackson Recovery Center, and the Center for Outreach to Victims of Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence. Jennifer is on the Norelius Community Library Board and Jessica served the past few years on the Denison Board of Adjustments.
The sisters continue to keep in touch with the SBDC and Jessica praised the assistance they received, “With the help of the SBDC and the guidance its experts provided, another woman-owned small business success story has come to light.”
Looking towards the future, Jessica and Jennifer are hopeful their children will join their law firm and eventually take it over. “We want to keep it all in the family,” says the sisters.