March 20, 2017 at 10:12 am

CLJC Features Political Science Alum | Siegal Counsels for an Automotive Glass Company

Micah Siegal

Micah Siegal

Center for Law, Justice & Culture Alumni Spotlight

Micah Siegal is Assistant General Counsel to Fuyao Glass America Inc., a Chinese-owned original equipment manufacturer and aftermarket automotive glass supplier.

Siegal is a 2005 graduate of Ohio University’s College of Arts & Sciences with a B.A. in  Political Science) and Wright State University (2006, M.B.A). He earned a law degree from Michigan State University College of Law.

Fuyao is completing construction of 1.7 million square feet and 600,000 square feet automotive glass fabrication facilities in Dayton and Detroit, respectively. The Dayton facility, where Siegal is based, is the largest integrated automotive glass plant in the world.

At Fuyao, Siegal’s practice focuses on labor and employment, general corporate, immigration, and compliance work.

Before Fuyao, Siegal spent about six years in private practice. He was a senior associate at Gottschlich & Portune LLP,  where he built a practice counseling and advocating on behalf of businesses of all types and sizes, including large corporations, individual entrepreneurs, inventors, commissioned sales representatives, and family-owned enterprises.

What brought you to Ohio University?

By the time I toured OHIO, I’d visited a lot of great schools, but none felt “right.” Although my parents lobbied hard for Pitt and Miami (“OU’s a party school!,” they moaned.), ultimately a visit to Athens on a warm October afternoon convinced me that I had found my school.
What is your current occupation? Explain what you do in a typical day.

I’m Assistant General Counsel for Fuyao Glass America Inc., a subsidiary of China’s largest, and the world’s second largest, automotive glass company. Our department oversees the legal affairs for our company’s U.S. operations in four states.

On a typical day, I might spend the morning discussing strategy with our outside counsel in Ohio and Europe. Later, you might find me negotiating a supply contract with a member of our purchasing department. In the afternoon, I might be out in our 2-million-square-foot facility meeting with our engineers. Although I now have only one “client,” my practice is more diverse than ever.

How did you become interested in that field? Was there a particular topic or field of law that got you interested in it in the first place?

I was in private practice for my first seven years out of law school. In private practice, I worked with many kinds of solo-, small- and mid-sized businesses. I loved the exposure to the different kinds of industries I worked with, but I was frustrated by the fact that my representation would end right as I had learned their business well. To resolve this frustration, I started looking for an “in-house” job, like my current gig, that would allow me to focus on a single industry.

What’s your favorite part of your position? What are you passionate about?

The best part of my job is being in the trenches with my internal clients. I have daily, unfettered access to them and can work through problems without worrying about the bill I’d have to send them were I still in private practice. I’m proud to contribute to my community by playing a small role in revitalizing an abandoned General Motors plant, which my employer bought in 2014 and has been renovating since.

How did your Ohio University experience prepare you for law school and shape your career path?

In a word: exposure. The classes I was in, and organizations I was involved with, exposed me to new ideas that brought into sharp contrast the problems and schisms of the human condition. Fundamentally, the law tries to find an answer to these problems. That’s where I wanted to be.

What do you think most important things you did as an undergrad to get you prepared for law school?

To succeed in law school, you’ll need to abandon your old problem solving and learning habits. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I stumbled into following my own advice. Break your brain away from stilted, linear thought processes by trying something new. For me, it was doing a little improv comedy, creative writing, and taking some 101 natural science classes in Clippinger Hall. Contact with new ideas helps your mind work in ways you’ll need it to in law school.

Do you have any advice for students interested in law?

Be ready to work hard. Although you can make a good living in the law, if you’re looking to make a buck, there are easier and more lucrative ways to do so. Law, done well, is as much a service profession as it is a scholarly one—be absolutely certain you’re committed to selflessly advocating for your clients.

What is your favorite Ohio University memory?

There are loads. But I have to say, my favorite memories came from having the opportunity to build so many friendships in such a short period of time. I loved being able to cross College Green, stroll down Court, or huff up Jeff Hill and be able to say “hello” to so many folks, many of whom I still count as friends.

Anything else you would like to share?

As a lawyer, you are a servant. Work hard and honestly. Be humble. Take care of your family and clients. The rest will take care of itself.

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