Andy Siegel Discusses Justice & His Legal Thriller Series

 

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Andy Siegel maintains a special commitment to representing survivors of traumatic brain injury in his practice of law. He is on the Board of Directors of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association and of the Brain Injury Association of New York State. His many trial successes have regularly placed those outcomes among the “Top 100 Verdicts” reported in the state annually. A graduate of Tulane University and Brooklyn Law School, he now lives outside of the greater NYC area. 

 

Andy Siegel is also the author of several adventurous legal thrillers, three of which are newly released today.

 

 

NellyEltonJenna

 

 

 

A Time with the Author

 

 

In your bio you twice mention your “sense of justice.” What does that mean, and how does it affect your work as a lawyer and a novelist?

 

My sense of justice is an internal feeling I get when my hard-fought legal efforts have resulted in achieving an outcome I know to be more than fair and reasonable. And … the resolution leaves my client with an impression of satisfactory closure. As a novelist, I create good versus evil and/or David versus Goliath scenarios in my stories. So I believe a sense of justice is attained for my eponymous character when the readers find themselves viewing Tug Wyler as an ambulance chaser they can root for.

 

 

 

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What is the civil justice system?

The best and only game in town. Where people can come under one roof and address real grievances in a civilized way, judged by members of their own community. I’ve never considered any area of law other than personal injury, embracing the fact that the media likes to poke fun at guys like me. Any related scene you’ve ever viewed in a movie or on television will show a guy in a neck brace, representing a scammer of the system. I get it and appreciate its humor too. I mean, just look at the home page of my andysiegel.com website. It reads: “Finally, an ambulance chaser you can root for …”

 

But I specialize in injury cases involving traumatic brain insult. My commitment to these individuals extends beyond the courthouse walls, as I sit on the Board of Directors of the Brain Injury Association of New York State. I represent real people whose lives, and those of their families’ lives, have been tragically altered in a nanosecond of negligent conduct. I try to make life easier for those folks who—through no fault of their own face a future long in challenges. For some, that challenge is just getting out of bed in the morning.

 

 

You strike me as a natural storyteller. Name the similarities of trials, cases, and victims to storytelling.

Each has a beginning, middle, and an end. It’s that simple. But, if you’re going to be a storytelling novelist, you also need an audience. In court, my audience is captive, with a court officer keeping them in that jury box until their service is over.

 

 

 

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You stated “Justice is something you shouldn’t have to compete for, … but it is.” In light of this statement, what are the flaws of the adversarial nature of the justice system?

The flaws are not in the system per se but rather in the manner in which an injured individual selects and hires their lawyer. People spend hours and hours researching what car they’re going to buy, but that same person will hire any accident lawyer upon the recommendation of a friend—or even a friend of a friend—without doing any due diligence. The fact of the matter is, not every lawyer has the requisite knowledge and experience to handle cases of significant proportion. Especially when it comes to traumatic brain injury (TBI), an area I have a compassionate interest in.

And I’m not the “right guy” for every TBI survivor with a lawsuit. There has to be a particular connection between the attorney and the client in these matters for things to be holistic. For a greater understanding of the message I’m hoping to share here visit: http://tbihelpline.com/traumatic-brain-injury-lawyer-new-york/, which memorializes a lecture I gave at the annual conference of the Brain Injury Association of New York State called the“Dos and Don’ts of Hiring a TBI Lawyer.”

And what I mean by “justice is something you shouldn’t have to compete for” is that your case will only be as good as the lawyer you hire. If the other side has a better lawyer, then you may lose that competition for justice.

 

 

 

Who is Tug Wyler?

 

Part me, part my alter ego. But you knew that already. However, I live in the real world and not a fictional one, so I’m unable to follow Tug Wyler’s model as he goes about representing his clients in such an antic, creative, and risk-taking way.

 

 

What motivates him?

 

What keeps Tug digging deeper and deeper into the circumstances giving rise to his legal retention is his compulsion, like mine, to make the system work for the injured victim, an outcome the big insurance companies vigorously resist. Please remember, as I always do, that there’s no one type of victim. We’re all vulnerable.

 

 

 

 

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Do you have any other creative ideas for books besides the Tug Wyler series?

Easiest question of the bunch. No. Every single word in the Tug Wyler Mystery Series is derived from, inspired by, and influenced by each and every legal case I’ve handled over the years. I write from a true insider’s perspective. So, I’m not very confident that I could write an engaging book outside of this series. I have written a screenplay though …

 

 

 

 

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How did you go from “not knowing what you wanted to do” to Brooklyn Law School?

 

My college roommate made a very compelling argument in support, stating, “Hey, let’s go to law school. Let’s be lawyers, get a JD degree. Knowledge is power. Power is king, and we’ll command respect from our peers. Respect.”

Sounded good to me. My only plan at that moment was a decision whether to get a Domilise’s hot sausage po’boy or to go to the Camellia Grill for a piece of pecan pie. I recall being stretched out on our disgusting couch, sore from lacrosse practice, thinking how I needed to investigate this lawyer thing a bit more, already knowing exactly who I needed to speak to: my childhood next-door neighbor Jack B. Weinstein, Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, appointed by President Lyndon Johnson.

As I grew up, Jack had taught me a lot of useful stuff over the years—how to change a flat tire on my bike, how to bait a hook and scale a fish, and how to use a lock wrench, among many other things. One day on college break, I walked down his driveway. He gave me his patented smile and said, “Back from New Orleans. Great, here.” He handed me a potato sack and a broomstick. Jack, for certain, was the only person in Great Neck, Long Island, who owned a potato sack.

Anyway, he led me to his fenced-in garden, which was on a narrow tract of land between the Long Island Sound and the Library Pond, where I asked what the sack and the stick were for. He responded with a pointed finger. What I saw was a gaggle of Canadian geese swimming in the Library Pond.

“And?” was my next question, which led to his second finger point. A gosling was stuck in his garden, trying to get out by repeatedly attempting to jump through one of the square openings in the wire fence. Unfortunately the little guy was too big to get through, and, with each jump, he scraped the top of his head on the wire, which wound was now bloody and deep. “Jack, why don’t I just pick him up and put him over?”

He responded, “Go stand in front of the fence, and, when I pick up that chick, you ward off mama goose with the stick and the sack.”

I gave him a curious look, which was met with a You’ll understand in a moment expression. The one thing I knew about Jack was that he was always right, so I didn’t question him and took my position.

Jack asked, “Ready?”I nodded, and, when he went to pick up the tiny frightened chick, it began squeaking some alarm call. This cry for help caused mama goose to take off like a high-powered fighter seaplane on a dive-bombing mission, flying straight at my head at forty miles per hour. Barely fending her off, I screamed, “What the fuck, Jack?” realizing I had just sworn at the highest and most prestigious federal judge in New York State. Turning back to him, I saw that little ball of fluff was in the exact same place it had been before the mom took her run at me. Unnerved, I asked, “What’s up?” Jack responded, “I couldn’t get a grip on him.” Now I’m not one to take issue with a famous federal judge—and famous he was—but I did strongly urge him to get a hold next round, which didn’t happen until after four more attempts and close encounters with a highly protective and dangerous mama goose.

Recovering from our confrontation, we found ourselves sitting on a bench, facing the Long Island Sound, next to his rowboat. Over the years, Jack and I had had several conversations on this bench, but this was the most important one. I said, “Jack, I’m thinking of going to law school. Why’d you go?”

He responded, “I didn’t know what to do next.” That was good enough for me. He added, “I’d be happy to write a recommendation but don’t apply to Columbia Law School.”

I said, “Thanks, but why not Columbia?” He didn’t hesitate. “Because you’ll get in, but you’re not qualified.” He of course was right again.

Long story short, my roommate didn’t show up for the LSAT test or apply to law school, but I owe him dearly for that “knowledge is power” speech, for that conversation propelled me to go to law school. I will add that I love what I do.

 

 

 

NellyEltonJenna

 

 

ANDY SIEGEL

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Book Review: The Advocate’s Daughter by Anthony Franze

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A Washington, D.C. lawyer and a frequent major media commentator on the Supreme Court, Anthony Franze delivers a high-stakes story of family, power, loss and revenge set within the insular world of the highest court of our country.

Among Washington D.C. power players, everyone has secrets they desperately want to keep hidden, including Sean Serrat, a Supreme Court lawyer. Sean transformed his misspent youth into a model adulthood, and now has one of the most respected legal careers in the country. But just as he learns he’s on the short list to be nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court, his daughter, Abby, a talented and dedicated law student, goes missing. Abby’s lifeless body is soon found in the library of the Supreme Court, and her boyfriend, Malik Montgomery, a law clerk at the high court, is immediately arrested. The ensuing media frenzy leads to allegations that Malik’s arrest was racially motivated, sparking a national controversy.

While the Serrat family works through their grief, Sean begins to suspect the authorities arrested the wrong person. Delving into the mysteries of his daughter’s last days, Sean stumbles over secrets within his own family as well as the lies of some of the most powerful people in the country. People who will stop at nothing to ensure that Sean never exposes the truth.

 

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I’ve been on a legal thriller kick recently.  Not sure if you’ve heard of Anthony Franze, a lawyer in the Appellate and Supreme Court practice in a Washington, D.C. law firm, but he write’s a great book. From beginning to end, I peeled the pages in great suspense to find out what happened. A Supreme Court nominee is set to make history with the “cat in the bag”…Well, until he discovers his daughter is found dead the Supreme Court library. As he sets out to find the truth behind her murder, the plot unravels along with everything else in his life. Great book!

 

 

 

Five Gold Stars

 

 

 

 

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ANTHONY FRANZE is a lawyer in the Appellate and Supreme Court practice of a prominent Washington, D.C. law firm, and a critically acclaimed thriller writer with novels set in the nation’s highest court. Franze has been a commentator on legal and Supreme Court issues for The New Republic, Bloomberg, National Law Journal, and other major media outlets. He is a board member and a Vice President of the International Thriller Writers organization. Franze lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his family. Learn more at www.anthonyfranzebooks.com

 

 

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Book Review: The Defense by Steve Cavanagh

The Defense Eddie Flynn

 

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Eddie Flynn #1

 

The truth has no place in a courtroom. The truth doesn’t matter in a trial.

The only thing that matters is what the prosecution can prove.

Eddie Flynn used to be a con artist. Then he became a lawyer. Turned out the two weren’t that different.

It’s been over a year since Eddie vowed never to set foot in a courtroom again. But now he doesn’t have a choice. Olek Volchek, the infamous head of the Russian mafia in New York, has strapped a bomb to Eddie’s back and kidnapped his ten-year-old daughter Amy.

Eddie only has 48 hours to defend Volchek in an impossible murder trial—and win—if wants to save his daughter.

Under the scrutiny of the media and the FBI, Eddie must use his razor-sharp wit and every con-artist trick in the book to defend his ‘client’ and ensure Amy’s safety. With the timer on his back ticking away, can Eddie convince the jury of the impossible?

Lose this case and he loses everything.

 

 

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“Steve Cavanagh has created a different breed of legal thriller.”

 

 

This book was unlike any legal thriller I’ve ever read. It grips you from the first paragraph until the very last, unrelenting in suspense and utter turmoil. Good to the last drop! The stakes are high, personal, and filled with dilemma at every turn.

Former con man turned lawyer Eddie Flynn doesn’t disappoint in the first book. He has to go up against the head of the russian mafia, a dirty cop, win an impossible case, while a bomb is strapped to his back. There’s everything to love about this series. It’s witty, gritty, tense, smart, entertaining, filled with drama, twists and turns. Don’t miss out on this one.

 

The Plea (Eddie Flynn #2)

The Liar (Eddie Flynn #3)

Thirteen (Eddie Flynn #4)

 

Books 3 and 4 aren’t available yet in the U.S., so we’ll have to wait patiently. The Plea is avaiable though as an ebook, hardback, paperback, and audiobook.

 

 

 

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In the News: Law & Vengeance by Mike Papantonio

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Mike Papantonio is back with his second novel with Law and Vengeance and is sure to be a winner. So don’t miss out on this legal thriller!

 

Law and Vengeance

 

 

From the Author

Mike Papantonio, a leading trial lawyer and the television host of America’s Lawyer, has delivered his new action-packed legal thriller. This time his leading character is a beautiful, determined woman who built her career as a criminal trial lawyer by believing she could play by the rules and still achieve justice for her clients. But the gruesome murder of her law partner and former lover has turned her world upside down―and suddenly she’s on a playing field where there are no rules.

When Gina Romano learns America’s largest weapons manufacturer has her in its crosshairs, she realizes this time the pursuit of justice is not enough.

In her own two-pronged attack against her enemies, her strategy is to win both in the courtroom and, when necessary, outside of it.

Based on a real case, Mike Papantonio delivers the goods in his carefully drawn, likeable characters and a smart, well-told adventure.

 

 

Law and Vengeance: Introducing Gina Romano

 

 

 

 

Don’t miss this Eye opening Television Interview with Mike Papantonio.

 

 

 

Mike Papantonio is a senior partner of Levin Papantonio, one of the largest plaintiffs’ law firms in America, that has handled thousands of cases throughout the nation involving pharmaceutical drug litigation, Florida tobacco litigation, litigation for asbestos-related health damage, securities fraud actions, and other mass tort cases. “Pap” has received dozens of multimillion dollar verdicts on behalf of victims of corporate corruption.

Papantonio is one of the youngest attorneys to have been inducted into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame. In 2012 Papantonio became President of the National Trial Lawyers Association, one of the largest trial lawyer organizations in America. For his trial work on behalf of consumers, Papantonio has received some of the most prestigious awards reserved by the Public Justice Foundation, The American Association for Justice, and the National Trial Lawyers Association.

Papantonio is an author of four motivational books for lawyers. He is also co-author of Air America: The Playbook, a New York Times Political Best Seller.

Papantonio is the host of the nationally syndicated radio show “Ring of Fire” along with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., and Sam Seder. Papantonio has conducted hundreds of recorded interviews with guests, including Dan Rather, Helen Thomas, Howard Zinn, Arianna Huffington, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Bernie Sanders, David Crosby, Merle Haggard, Morgan Spurlock, John Edwards, Bill Moyers, Rickie Lee Jones, Alanis Morissette, Pete Seeger, Jackson Browne, Chuck D from Public Enemy, Henry Rollins, Ted Sorensen, and Elizabeth Kucinich. His role on “Ring of Fire” is featured in the movie, “Jesus Camp,” which was nominated for the 2007 Academy Award for Documentary Feature.

Papantonio is also a political commentator who frequently appears on MSNBC, Free Speech TV, RT America Network, and Fox News.

Papantonio is married and has one daughter. He is an avid scuba diver and often dives on the Emerald Coast.

 

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Special Feature from the Crime Division by Robert K. Tanenbaum

So You Want to Write a Legal Thriller

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