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Observe, Ask, Suggest

By: Charles J. Siegel, guest blogger

Observe, Ask Questions & Suggest Solutions –

I am a litigation attorney and I had a unique legal education. While still in college one of my roommates brought me an application for what he said could be a great paying summer job. His father was a court clerk and the courts in New York City were hiring provisional court officers to help fill vacancies that were created as a result of the vast expansion of the courts. This expansion was due in part to the implementation of the “Rockefeller” drug laws. Since I had nothing better to do, I took the test and was called up in July. The year was 1973.

As a result I learned several valuable lessons that have help me through my legal career. I discovered that if you watch various attorneys handling an assortment of legal matters over a period of time, you will gather immeasurable knowledge that can help and guide you through your career. There is just so much one can get from one’s legal studies and keeping up with the “law”. Watching and observing can help you better understand the procedures in court. This allows you to be relaxed and feel confident when you have to stand up and conduct yourself inside a courtroom. I discovered that by the time I started my legal studies, I had an immense understanding of the law, court procedure and the rules of evidence. Even today, I will take the time to watch and observe my colleagues handling their cases in court.

The second valuable lesson I learned was that of always asking questions. I find that most lawyers, myself included, love to talk. I discovered early on while still working in the courts, that unless your are their adversary, if you asked a lawyer why he or she did something or did not do something, they will be quick to relate to you their reasons, their theories and their mindset. I learned so much from other practicing attorneys, by just asking questions and “picking their brains”.

Finally, I discovered early on in my legal career in the district attorney’s office and while working in my firm, that when you go to someone with a problem or just asking for advice, also suggest a possible solution. It will help you develop as an attorney and also demonstrate to senior partners that you can solve problems and handle complicated matters.



Charles J. Siegel is the managing attorney of a 12 member insurance defense firm located in lower Manhattan. Mr. Siegel has been admitted to practice in New York for over 25 years. He is also a member of the bar in Florida and New Jersey. Mr. Siegel has lectured over the years to various claim departments and organizations in the area of Premises Liability, Auto Liability, New York Labor Law and Bad Faith. Mr. Siegel is proficient in a number of Microsoft software programs, such as Word, Excel & PowerPoint. He holds course certificates from Long Island University and C.W. Post College in Computer Repair, Computer Programming and Web Page Design. He has been a member of the New York State Bar Association for the past 18 years and is the immediate past chair of its’ Electronic Communication Committee (ECC) which has among other responsibilities general oversight of the NYSBA Web site. Mr. Siegel is also a member of the Executive Committee of the Torts, Insurance & Compensation Law Section (TICL) and presently chairs the section. He also chairs the TICL Information Technology Committee and is responsible for the Web site www.nysba.org/TICL.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on September 8, 2009 5:01 PM.

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