Firm’s Talent Development Program Featured in Article in American Lawyer Media’s Daily Report

Siegfried Rivera
January 4, 2022


Our firm is extremely proud of our talent development program for new associates that was featured in an article in today’s online edition of American Lawyer Media’s Daily Report newspaper in Atlanta.  The article, which was titled “Extremely Beneficial: How Firms Use Talent Development Programs to Get a Leg Up” and will soon appear in the print edition of the newspaper and also in the pages of ALM’s Daily Business Review in South Florida, focuses on the programs that several law firms in Georgia and Florida have created to help new associates develop their skills and knowledge.  It includes insights from the firm’s Stuart Sobel and Maryvel De Castro Valdes.  The article reads:

. . .For at least a quarter-century, Siegfried Rivera, a Coral Gables, Florida-based firm, has had its new construction attorneys go through a rigorous process of studying construction law and then speaking to fellow lawyers in the firm before lecturing in front of other attorneys in other organizations and even at public events such as conferences.

Maryvel “Marty” Valdes, a nonequity shareholder at Siegfried Rivera, went through the program shortly after joining the firm in 2012.
“It’s important,” she said. “For the firm, number one, it helps give the younger associates a sense of confidence. It’s something you’re very concerned [about] when you are first out there. You don’t want to make yourself or the firm look bad. I would say it was a benefit in every sense of the word.” . . .

. . . Stuart Sobel, equity shareholder with Siegfried Rivera, said its construction law program has been in place since he started working there in 1995 and was initiated by firm founder Steven Siegfried. New construction lawyers join with shareholders on seminars where they learn to speak comfortably in front of others, and they previously even spoke on local radio shows.

“There is a selfish motive also,” Sobel said of why the firm started the program. “Every lawyer has a continuing legal education requirement. To speak on a subject, you get CLE credits for writing the paper and getting the paper.

“On the one hand, it’s an easy way to get your CLE credits. But on the other hand, if you want to have experience in a profession, you need to speak about it. But you can read about it, attend other lectures and then speak. Once the public perceives you as an authority, you are in fact an authority. It’s a way of learning the law you practice.”

Valdes, who became an attorney in 2004, worked for eight years at a smaller firm, where her real estate legal experience was limited to researching and examining titles. When she joined Siegfried Rivera, she started working on matters involving development and homeowners associations. Valdes was scheduled to speak at the International Council of Shopping Centers’ annual Law Conference in San Francisco in November but could not due to a family health issue.

“I would say it helped us to build confidence,” Valdes said of the program. “It helps you really understand the material at the beginning. You had to understand the material to handle the questions coming into our lawyers and through our radio shows. It gives you that sense of really getting into every aspect of the statutes we were explaining, especially if someone was not sure what to do about some statutes.”

‘They Were Really Envious’

Valdes and Chrisman said the programs were invaluable in helping them gain the experience and confidence needed to succeed.

“You have your point of view and these speaking engagements gave us a lot more confidence out there,” Valdes said. “If you know your material, why wouldn’t you want to be the first one to speak up? I’m definitely someone they will choose when there is a speaking engagement coming up.”. . .

Our firm is extremely proud of our talent development program, and we salute Stuart and Maryvel for sharing their insights on it with the readers of the Daily ReportClick here to read the complete article in the newspaper’s website (registration required).