What makes Steven M. Siegelaub “Lawyer of the Year” material? It might be his strong work ethic and his ability to “keep emotion out of it” and resolve issues in a calm and determined manner. Or maybe it’s his versatility in his real estate practice, the way he moves with ease from traditional buying, selling, leasing, and financing of commercial properties to high-end residential transactions. Most likely, it’s a combination of his patience, determination, versatility, and dedication to treating everyone (clients, other attorneys, title professionals, surveyors, architects, and counterparties to his transactions) with respect and integrity.
Deciding to pursue real estate law while earning his law degree at Columbia University, Siegelaub felt certain that “regardless of anything else that might happen in the economy, people would always need a place to live and work.”
“I hope that when I retire I can look back and say that I not only represented my clients well, but I also earned their respect and the respect of the real estate community.”
That pragmatism paired with positive childhood experiences watching his father’s success developing single-family homes, office buildings, indoor tennis courts, and other commercial projects has led Siegelaub to where he is today. One of Siegelaub’s recent transactions includes the Waypointe apartment project, a large development of apartment buildings and retail space that is helping to revitalize downtown Norwalk.
While the Waypointe transaction may have proved overwhelming to some, Siegelaub maintained his signature composure during the deal, saying, “We completed the initial property assemblage closing on over a dozen properties with multiple owners simultaneously. This was a real challenge. If even one property fell out, the entire deal would not have closed, as every property was required to allow the project to proceed.”
Although seven-day work weeks may not seem to leave time for anything else, Siegelaub finds time to be on the board of Vista Life Innovations, a non-profit that provides services to adults with disabilities. He has also done pro bono work for the non-profit, including representing it in the leasing of its headquarters facility in Madison and the acquisition of a residential facility for its members. “I’ve become acquainted with many of the young adults who [Vista Life Innovations] serves and the parents of the adults. I find it very gratifying to use my skills and experience to try to help these disabled adults live more satisfying, productive lives.”
Ultimately, Siegelaub aspires to receive the respect he shows others. “I hope that when I retire I can look back and say that I not only represented my clients well, but I also earned their respect and the respect of the real estate community.”
Siegelaub has been a member of Berkowitz, Trager & Trager, LLC, since 2002 and has been honored by Best Lawyersfor his work in real estate law since 2006.