Listen and Subscribe

Apple Podcasts
Spotify
Google Podcasts
Stitcher

Description

Chris Seeger is a leader in mass tort and class action.

Chris grew up on Long Island, where he practiced carpentry for years after high school. Almost on a whim, he took a few courses at a local college. A few years later, he was graduating Cardoza Law at the top of his class.

For two years, Chris worked at a “white shoe” firm, where he liked the people but hated his chosen field of real estate law. For a while, he thought he might quit and focus on his side–hustle doing legal work for fighters [or boxers].

Chris did eventually decide to set out on his own and took any case he could get, mostly living off of credit cards. That’s when he found personal injury and his professional calling.

In this interview, Chris and I discuss the importance of boxing in his early years, the controversy surrounding his NFL concussion litigation, and how his own parenthood led to a reconnection with his estranged mother before her death.

Check out our sponsors!
Hennessey Digital
Milestone Foundation
Trial School
7 Figure Cases

Join our Better Together LinkedIn Group
📚 Enter to win a full set of books from Lawful Good guests!

Transcription

Click to Open Full Transcript

Chris Seeger:

There are academics that probably never practiced a day in their lives that criticize this network of repeat players. And we keep seeing them in every case, and they build these cozy relationships, and they do these backroom deals, and they just don’t really understand what goes on in the legal system. These defense lawyers and plaintiffs’ lawyers are so good at what they do that you shouldn’t confuse the fact that they can sit down and put a deal together with anybody selling anybody out. They are fighting very hard in the courtroom but then sitting down to solve a really complicated problem, which takes trust, credibility, integrity, and creativity.

Luke W Russell:

Welcome to Lawful Good, a show about lawyers and the trials they face inside and outside the courtroom. I’m your host, Luke W. Russell. I’m not a journalist. I’m not an attorney. I’m trained as a coach. I love human connection. And that’s what you are about to hear. My guest today is Chris Seeger, a leader in mass tort and class action litigation. Chris grew up on Long Island, where he practiced carpentry for years after high school. Almost on a whim, he took a few courses at a local college. A few years later, he was graduating Cardoza Law at the top of his class. For two years, Chris worked at a white shoe firm where he liked the people, but hated his chosen field of real estate law. For a while, he thought he might quit and focus on his side hustle, doing legal work for boxers.

Luke W Russell:

Chris did eventually decide to set out on his own and took any case he could get, mostly living off of credit cards. That’s when he found personal injury and his professional calling. In this interview, Chris and I discussed the importance of boxing in his early careers, the controversy surrounding his NFL concussion litigation, and how his own parenthood led to a reconnection with his estranged mother before her death. Chris, do you remember when you first saw Muhammad Ali? And what did you find so captivating about him?

Chris Seeger:

So I’m going to lead into that for 30 seconds about a little bit about my mother because my mother was a rebel. If you knew a lot about her, she was a hippie. And Ali was very anti-establishment when I was growing up. There were a million things about Ali. Anybody could find something. It’s like a apple tree pull, whatever apple, but his big mouth, what he said, his confidence. He was a beautiful-looking guy. He did not look like a fighter. But the fact that he spoke with conviction about his beliefs, I love that about him. Then as a little kid, when I really first got introduced to Ali and who he was, I liked the fact that he would talk shit and then back it up in the ring.

Chris Seeger:

And that was really fascinating. I mean, there was a period of time where he was predicting rounds he would knock guys out. Then he would go do it. But the thing about Ali, it was like, although he did this really violent thing, he was involved in this really violent sport, there was beauty on the other side of that, not just how he looked and how he spoke, but you could tell he was a really good, authentic person. So I love everything about Ali, know everything about his life.

Luke W Russell:

Do you remember when you first saw him?

Chris Seeger:

It was just watching him on TV. Trying to remember the fight. It was before Joe Frazier, which is 1971. So I was 11 in 1971. But I probably really discovered him in the period of time when they stripped him of his title, and then his comeback, and fighting… He fought Jerry Quarry, then he fought a guy named Oscar Bonavena, but then went right to fighting Joe Frazier, who was the champ at the time. But none of us who loved Ali felt Frazier was the legitimate champ. So it’s so much context here in the story.

Luke W Russell:

Yeah. I love that. And when did you start boxing?

Chris Seeger:

I started around again, somewhat influenced by Ali, but only to a small degree. I tried other sports. I was a pretty good athlete, but not great, but I really was a little better at boxing than I was at some of the other sports I tried. I like sports where it’s really individual against individual. I didn’t like the team sports as much. There’s nothing wrong with them, but for me, it wasn’t. But the one thing about doing an individual sport, whether you’re a boxer or a tennis player, is like, there’s nobody to blame when you lose, but you get all the credit when you win.

Luke W Russell:

Yeah. And as I understand it, your dad, Jack, was a carpenter. Was he around much?

Chris Seeger:

Jack was really more like my stepfather, my biological father who lived 20 minutes away. I really didn’t know very well growing up. He worked a lot when I was a kid. We never had the closest relationship. Wasn’t awful. He wasn’t beating me up every day or anything like that, but we didn’t have the closest… So I liked when he wasn’t around. He was a carpenter, but he would travel. He would go on the road to build things, and he’d be away for… as a little kid for a time. That part didn’t bother me as much, that he was away.

Luke W Russell:

And what was your relationship like then with your mother Mary?

Chris Seeger:

So like I said, she was really a hippie. I mean, that was the term used at the time, flower child hippie. Very much a free spirit. My mother and I had a very close relationship when I was young. She went through a very tough period in her life, probably when I was around 10, 11, 12, and in some respect, disappeared for several years. But then we got reacquainted later on in my 20s and 30s, and we grew very close again.

Luke W Russell:

Yeah. And how much time were you spending learning carpentry through all of this?

Chris Seeger:

So one thing I would do with Jack is every now and then, I’d go to work with him, which wasn’t always great because back in those days, he was a big smoker. He was a chain smoker. And in those days, you’d put your kid in the car, roll up the windows in the winter and smoke away. I hated that. And like I said, he wasn’t the easiest person to be around all the time, but he also taught my older brother, John, carpentry. So I worked with Jack a little bit, and then I worked with my brother John probably a lot more and really learned it with him in my teens and early 20s.

Luke W Russell:

Yeah. So there was John, and was there… You were fourth in the birth order? Do I have that right?

Chris Seeger:

Yes. You do.

Luke W Russell:

What is the age difference on the siblings?

Chris Seeger:

So my oldest sister is 10 years older than I am. I’m 61. My brother John is eight years older, and I have a brother, Ken, who’s a lawyer also, five years older, and then I have two younger sisters.

Luke W Russell:

So there was six of you in the home growing up?

Chris Seeger:

Six of us in the home.

Luke W Russell:

Plus mom and then Jack was in and out.

Chris Seeger:

Yeah. Jack’s in and out. Mom at some point was in and out too a little bit.

Luke W Russell:

And you grew up on Long Island?

Chris Seeger:

I did.

Luke W Russell:

Yeah. Can you take me back to your neighborhood or neighborhoods?

Chris Seeger:

I grew up, I grew up in a great neighborhood. As I was saying to you before we even got on, in my neighborhood, wasn’t the town. The town of Bayshore is a pretty diverse town. In my immediate neighborhood, I was a minority. I grew up as a minority. And I think it was one of the best things that could have happened to me as a human being because it sensitized me to things that I got to see with my own eyes. I mean, I’ll do this by way of example. It’s easier. Folks, the term white privilege didn’t exist when I was growing up. Nobody talked that way. But you hear that term now. And I used to explain this to friends of mine 20 years ago, 30 years ago, that would say, “There’s no racism. Everything’s equal. Everybody has the same opportunity.”

Chris Seeger:

And the example which today would be called white privilege, the example I would always use is, when I was a kid, 10 years old, my best friends were black. And we’d go into a store, and nobody followed me, the white kid. Everybody followed them, which I say to people, just think about what that’s like from the time you’re 5 years old, 6 years old, 10 years old, 15 years old, you are being told by these people with that conduct that you can’t be trusted, that you’re bad, or you’re different, or there’s something about you. People should try to understand what that would make a 10-year-old feel like. To the extent that that has an impact on somebody, you could almost understand somebody saying, “Well, why not steal something? You expect me to do it anyway.” And the reason I relate that to white privilege is because I never felt that even though I’d walk into the store with these kids, my best friends, but I saw the hurt on them. So it had a big impact on me and the way I think about relationships and race.

Luke W Russell:

Yeah. At what age do you remember starting to actually notice that you, even though you were one of the few white kids in the area, were still being treated differently than your friends? When did that start to-

Chris Seeger:

Very young. Under 10. I use 10 years old, but I’m telling you, it was under 10. In those days, if you had a buck or 50 cents and you went to the supermarket to buy a piece of candy, I’d ride there on my bike with my friends. And I can’t tell you that I have a total understanding of what I saw at 6 or even at 10. I just knew it was wrong and it was different. And I knew I didn’t feel that way. So I was always confused by… Another example I’ll give you growing up is there was a bakery in our town. And I went in there again with my best friends. I didn’t see them as black. I don’t think they saw me as white in those days. And I know people say, “Of course you see color,” but I think folks know how I mean that. We were friends. We cared about each other.

Luke W Russell:

You saw the person.

Chris Seeger:

I saw the person and that they saw me that way. And we went into a bakery, and I was the last one to get what I was ordering. And they were waiting outside. And the two women behind the counter said to me, “What are you doing?” And I was a young kid. I’m like, “What do you mean?” “Why are you hanging out with those kids?” And it was that kind of thing, to which, if you want to know the conclusion to that story, I went outside and told my friends, and we both went back. We all went back inside, picked up something from the counter, and hit them with it and ran. We threw cakes at them and muffins, then ran. But yeah. So those are just two small examples of what I’ve witnessed.

Luke W Russell:

Yeah. And do you remember, did you have a lot of the same friends going through grade school?

Chris Seeger:

Yeah. I have a small group of what I would call best friends. I have a lot of really good friends through the law, and I really care and love those people. But I mean, I’ve got my closest friends, we’ve been friends since we were little kids. My friend, Keith Bellfield, for example, he and I were born on the same day. We went to grade school, middle school together, high school. He married my wife and I. He performed the ceremony. I’ve had a few friends that have passed away, but another kid that I grew up with, Corey Swinson, who played in the NFL for a while, was one of my closest friends. He passed away a few years ago, but I’m still very close with his kids, who are like my nephews. So yeah. I don’t need a big group of friends, but I just like a small group of really high quality people in my life. And I have that. I’ve been blessed with that.

Luke W Russell:

Yeah. Did you all have in your neighborhood a neighborhood park where the kids would come together to play sports?

Chris Seeger:

Oh, yeah. Oh. We played all kinds. I mean, I used to play a lot of basketball in the park. We’d have boxing matches on my front yard. It’s one of the ways I got involved with boxing. Yeah. Trying to knock out my friends from the neighborhood.

Luke W Russell:

So how’d your mom feel about the boxing?

Chris Seeger:

She was totally cool with that. I mean, when I tell you my mother was crazy… I’ll give you an example of how crazy she was. I was on my front yard one day, and I got into a fight with a kid from my neighborhood who was there with his brother. So his brother jumped in, and I was literally fighting these two kids. So instead of what most mothers would do, come outside and break it up, she joined in.

Luke W Russell:

Oh, my goodness.

Chris Seeger:

Yeah. My mother and I were fighting these two kids, and she chased them down the street with milk bottles, which in those days were glass.

Luke W Russell:

Yeah. Oh, my goodness. Yeah. Oh. My, and now were you ever getting into trouble?

Chris Seeger:

I got into some trouble. Yeah. A little bit growing up. I mean, nothing serious. I never, hurt anybody, but we would steal, I would, go into the town truck yard, steal gasoline out of the trucks and, just MOUs stuff that kids do that come from a blue collar neighborhood like that. Yeah. I might have swiped a couple of candy bars here and there, but nothing, nothing crazy. I never really did drugs. Maybe I smoked them maybe a little bit of pot as a kid, which is not a big deal even today. And because I was involved in sports and I think that particularly you get involved with a sport boxing at 15, which is when I started, you want to keep yourself in good condition.

Chris Seeger:

I tell people all the time. They used to ask me if boxing was a scary sport, and I’m saying the sport itself is not scary, when you’re engaging with somebody. The scariest time is to be in a fight, a boxing match, or in today’s world, it would be an MMA or a wrestling match, and be tired. So conditioning is important. You don’t want to be so tired in a fight you can’t defend yourself. And you can get that tired if you don’t condition yourself right and get your head right and learn how to relax. So that kept me on the straight and narrow, that fear of getting the crap beat out of me.

Luke W Russell:

Yeah. What about in school? Were you pretty active in your academics? And also, were you maybe ever getting in trouble for talking too much or disrupting class with the-

Chris Seeger:

I got in trouble for that. I was kind of a clown. I really was. I wasn’t shy at all. I was not a good student in middle school and high school, and it was just lack of effort.

Luke W Russell:

Yeah. And can you tell me about the time you made your therapist cry?

Chris Seeger:

Oh, my God. Whoa. That’s pretty good. That’s pretty good, Luke. I’m impressed by you.

Luke W Russell:

Thank you.

Chris Seeger:

Wow. I hope he’s okay if he ever listens to this. So yeah. Yeah. So two interesting therapist stories. I was explaining to him what it was like waiting for my biological father to show up. I had virtually no contact with him, but every now and then, he would show up and take me out to a hockey game or something. And it would be a really good moment for me. I’d be 10 years old. So I was explaining the story of how I had a good moment with him and he was like, “I’ll see you tomorrow. We’re going to throw the baseball. We’re going to go throw a baseball.” And I was sitting on the front porch waiting for him, and I think he was going to come by at noon. And noon came and went, 1:00 came and went, 3:00 came and went, and it was dark out. And finally, my mother was like, “Time to come in. Come on inside. He’s not going to show up.”

Chris Seeger:

And I look up and my therapist got tears in his eyes. And I don’t know if I touched on something from his childhood, but I was comforting him in that moment. I was like, “Hey. It’s okay. I survived it.” It was very funny.

Luke W Russell:

Story two.

Chris Seeger:

Yeah. Story two. This was really quick. It was being told by a therapist that I would do a book about my life. When a therapist tells you you ought to do a book about your life, you’ve got a pretty messed up life.

Luke W Russell:

What would the title of that book be?

Chris Seeger:

Oh, man. I would like to say the title would be You Can Overcome Anything. Every experience is a good experience. You don’t lose, but you learn, which is a saying we use in jujitsu. But I don’t want to be presumptuous because I know I didn’t have it as bad as a lot of other people. But that’s the lesson, my takeaway from things like that.

Luke W Russell:

Yeah. Did you feel like you were having to overcome anything as a kid or was it more really later that you looked back and saw your childhood differently?

Chris Seeger:

No. I think it was mostly looking back. I think it was mostly looking back. I think in the moment, you don’t know it. And I’ve heard much worse stories than I had about home life and stuff. And I think in the moment, you just think, “Oh. This must be going on in everybody’s house.” Yeah. I think it’s mostly looking back. You know when I think these things hit people generally is when you have your own children. And then you say, “Wow. How could that guy not show up?” or, “How come I didn’t see him for all those years?” You start asking yourself all those questions and it drives you to a therapist’s office, try to get some answers. Wow. You did some really good… But you caught me off guard on that one. That was something.

Luke W Russell:

So Jack, your stepdad, was not around much. Your bio father was really hardly around.

Chris Seeger:

Oh. Never.

Luke W Russell:

And you saw him on a rare occasion.

Chris Seeger:

Once every couple of years. Yeah.

Luke W Russell:

And then did you have any other male authority figures in your life?

Chris Seeger:

Yes, I did. Wow. Another great question, things I don’t think about every day. But I’ve always been really lucky with mentors. Starting in high school, there was a guidance counselor by the name of Jack Twyman who to this day… We don’t stay in touch like I wish we could, but I get to see him every now and then or hear from him. But he had a big influence on me. When I was working as a… After high school, I didn’t go right to college. I was working as a carpenter, and I thought that I’d be a carpenter. And I met a guy in my town named Chuck Rogers who took an interest in me. He was a World War II veteran. I looked up to him in every respect. Just owned real estate and buildings and just gave me a lot of work.

Chris Seeger:

And I’d have private moments with him where he’d say, “Chris, you’re a pretty smart kid. Why don’t you try college? Why don’t you?” Or he’d give me a book to read and we’d talk about it. And then even as a lawyer, I had a great mentor, my partner’s father, Mel Weiss, who when I decided to go out on my own, he took me to a restaurant and sat down with me and told me how to do it. And if I had questions, I’d call him.

Chris Seeger:

I have been super lucky with mentoring. I would like to think that I have been a mentor to young people. I try to do that, but I’m not sure I’m as good at it as my mentors were. But yeah. That’s really critical, particularly if you don’t have… I mean, Jack who we’re calling… So that people understand, I had a biological father and not a biological father, a stepfather, I never really thought of him that way. He was always there. I mean, he paid the bills. I had clothes, I had food, I had all that stuff. But I didn’t have that nurturing person in the house, like the father I try to be for my six kids. But I got it through mentors.

Luke W Russell:

Yeah. Now was religion part of your life growing up?

Chris Seeger:

Not really. Not a part of my life, even now. I have total respect for people who’ve dedicated their life to it and believe in it. And maybe in some ways, I would describe myself as spiritual, but definitely not religious. Yeah.

Luke W Russell:

When did you hit that transition from deciding not maybe having plans for college to then going like, “You know what? I think I am going to go down this path.”

Chris Seeger:

So I used to read a lot, and I was living in the city at the time, New York City, working with my brother, doing carpentry.

Luke W Russell:

John.

Chris Seeger:

John. And I’d walked by Hunter College almost every day because it was on Lexington Avenue. I was so insecure and I had so little confidence in myself as a student that I remember just thinking, “Maybe I’ll go over there and I’ll take a course.” I forgot what you call it, a non-matriculating student where you don’t even worry about a grade. So I took three courses, and I guess this is around 1987, and I decided, “Hey. I’m going to go ahead and get a grade. I’ll probably get C’s and D’s and that’ll be that.” I wound up getting three A’s. I didn’t even understand how that happened other than timing is everything in life. So if I had gone from high school to college, I wouldn’t have done that well. But because I took that time to work and have a real job… and when I say a real job, I mean hauling sheetrock up 10-story buildings, doing hard work, labor, sweeping floors… that sitting down to read 20, 30 pages a night was really no big deal.

Chris Seeger:

It would’ve been a big deal for me four or five years before that. No big deal to me in that moment. I was ready for that, and got three A’s. And then another mentoring story. I had a professor in one of those three classes by the name of Melvin Richter, who had this term, born again student. He had taught at Harvard and Oxford, gave me a great recommendation for law school, ultimately, but had a great experience with students who left and came back when they matured a little bit more. And again, in one of those moments where I was going by his office to knock on the door, feeling insecure, thinking I didn’t understand the material, had a discussion with him, and I felt pretty good coming out. And he was talking, saying to me, “I think you’re a pretty smart kid. You ought to really commit yourself to this.” And I was like, one of the first times somebody had said to me, “I thought you were really smart.” So that gives you a little bit more confidence now to try to push for the next thing.

Luke W Russell:

Yeah. So that would’ve been 9, 10 years post-high school. Is that right?

Chris Seeger:

Yeah. So ’78 I graduated high school. I’ve been 23. So at four or five years.

Luke W Russell:

Yeah. And was that time spent mostly with carpentry?

Chris Seeger:

Oh, yeah. Doing construction. Yeah. Mostly carpentry back then.

Luke W Russell:

Yeah. What kind of projects?

Chris Seeger:

Oh. Many. I mean, in the city, I was involved in building a lot of boutique stores. Worked on some homes. I mean, I was pretty good. I mean, I knew how to build a house and do all that stuff. And once I graduated law school, I retired my hammer and never picked it up again. Never. My wife, even to this day is like, “Why do you have to call somebody? You used to be carpenter. Can’t you just put that shelf…” And I’m like, “I don’t remember anything. Let’s get somebody to do it.”

Luke W Russell:

That’s too funny. I love that. Yeah. As you were in those early 20s, did you have an optimistic outlook on what was ahead of you in life?

Chris Seeger:

Yeah. I was never a pessimist. I was an optimist. I was just in that moment a realist. So when I was going to be a carpenter, I thought, “Hey. I’m going to try to be a really good carpenter. Maybe own my own business.” When I decided to move on and go to law school, I built that confidence up in college. Did very well. I said to myself, “Hey. You know what? I’m going to try to be a really good lawyer.” But my expectations of what a good lawyer is or what they would’ve made are very different than the way things… I would’ve been totally happy with a lot less. If the career went even in a different direction, I would’ve made myself happy in that career.

Luke W Russell:

Yeah. Now, so when did your… ’83 is when you start pursuing your undergrad. When did becoming a lawyer come? Because we’re going from construction where you didn’t really have that belief in yourself academically to getting a Juris Doctorate.

Chris Seeger:

Yeah. It really started to seriously take root in that very first semester when I took those three courses. And I got the A’s. And then I was like, “Wow.” I never believed I was going to be the smartest in any class. But I started to say to myself, “Maybe I can outwork some of these folks.” I hear the questions they ask. I would’ve never thought of that question. Or the answer they gave, I would’ve never thought of that answer. But maybe if I put an extra hour in a night, work a little harder, maybe read things twice instead of once, outline, be real organized, I could outwork these kids because they all look like kids to me. And then I started saying to myself… My brother, Ken, is a lawyer. He’s one’s five years older than I am. At the time-

Chris Seeger:

I think he was in law school when I was in college. He went right through college and then to law school. I started thinking to myself, “Well, Ken’s doing it.” Ken was always a good student and definitely the smart one in the family. But I started thinking to myself, “Well, Ken’s doing it. Maybe I’ll head that way because it’d be really cool to be a lawyer.” I mean, in the neighborhood I grew up in, the only lawyers you got to know were basically plaintiff’s lawyers, personal injury lawyers. They were like white knights. If you got injured, you went to the personal injury lawyer. You didn’t need money. If you had a case, they’d bring your case, advance your costs. I’ve loved that white knight aspect. I even love it to this day, what we do.

Luke W Russell:

You’re doing your undergraduate. You realize this lawyer path is something you want to go down?

Chris Seeger:

Now it’s a real possibility, I start saying.

Luke W Russell:

What was when you thought, when you had your realistic perspective of the future as, hey, I might go get this doctorate, what did that future look like? What did you imagine that …

Chris Seeger:

I didn’t know what kind of lawyer I wanted to be because I had a construction background, carpentry, I think initially I thought maybe I’ll be a real estate lawyer. I wasn’t even sure what that entailed. In fact, when I graduated law school in my first job, I asked to be put in the real estate department and I hated it. I just hated it. No offense to the people I work with. They’re all great people. It just wasn’t for … It was sitting behind a desk. I was a pretty active person, even as a carpenter, but sitting behind a desk doing real estate law just wasn’t for me. I left that and I had rediscovered kind of discovered litigation three years into my law career and then fell in love with it.

Luke W Russell:

Was law school easier or harder than you expected?

Chris Seeger:

Again, I always have this thing in me where I think everyone’s smarter than I am. I kind of thought nobody, I want to make sure that people, when I got to law school that they didn’t figure out I was this dummy who somehow worked his way into law school, but now I’m going to fail. That really pushed me even in law school.

Chris Seeger:

Although I was never part of a study group, because I was four or five years older than most of the kids I started with, I was kind of was on my own. When I was on my own, I was working really hard thinking again, if I get C’s, B’s, I’ll be thrilled. I continued to do well in law school. I was still getting A’s and I was kind of at the top of my class, I made it onto law review. I graded onto law review because I was in the top 10%. As that went on, I started realizing that, look, if I really dedicate myself to something and I work hard, I could probably achieve it.

Luke W Russell:

What about your mom? Was she still in your life at this point?

Chris Seeger:

She was. She was very proud. Like I said, she went through a very tough period and in her life dealing with all kinds of things. As an adult, we connected and we were very close. She did. She was proud of the career I was building. She passed away in 2009. She got to see a good piece of it, not all of it, but a good piece of it.

Luke W Russell:

When did you two really reconnect?

Chris Seeger:

Probably in my 30s when I started having children. We were okay even before then, but when you start having children, you start to appreciate your parents a little more. You start asking them questions like was I pain in the ass like that? We connected and we were close. I mean, I taught her how to text. There were times I couldn’t be on the phone so we text almost every day. We spoke pretty much every day up until the end.

Luke W Russell:

Wow.

Chris Seeger:

I was with her at the end.

Luke W Russell:

Wow. Would you say law school prepared you for the real world?

Chris Seeger:

No. In some respects I would, well, yes and no. Law school taught me how to think like a lawyer. I really liked my law school. I still, I’m very involved with Cardoza School of Law. It was recommended to me by somebody I liked and respected to go there, a lawyer who I knew at the time.

Chris Seeger:

I learned how to think, but you have to make your own way in the world. Law school can’t do that for you. Nobody could do that for you. They can give you the tools. I think in some respects it gave me the tools, but when I graduated law school and I think every lawyer says this, I had no idea how to practice law. You really don’t. It’s a three year exercise in thinking critically. Some do it better than others, learning how to solve problems.

Chris Seeger:

It doesn’t really teach you to be resourceful. If you are resourceful, you do better. You know that? But I don’t think, I mean, it took me years. I personally believe looking back, it took me 10 years to really learn how to practice law, which is not a big surprise. I was prepared for it because even is a saying in carpentry that it will take any good carpenter five-six years to learn the trade. In any trade, anything you do, it’s going to take time. I was prepared for that.

Luke W Russell:

You complete your Juris doctorate. What was your frame of mind? Were you eager, tired?

Chris Seeger:

No, not tired at all. I’m not tired now. I mean, again, I’m 61. I got bags under my eyes and gray hair, but I have a lot of energy. No, I wasn’t tired. I was ready to take on whatever I can get my hands on. I wanted to learn everything I could about practicing law. I used to, I talked to you about mentors and lawyers I knew that had successful careers. If I knew they were going someplace for dinner, if I knew Mel Weiss or somebody was going to be somewhere for dinner, I would show up at the restaurant just to act like I was busy. I happened to be there just so I could run into them and maybe get the opportunity to be invited over for a drink or dinner and just get to listen.

Chris Seeger:

That’s something I don’t know if I see a lot of young people doing that today, although the world is kind of different. But I really never passed up an opportunity. In some respects it was good that I did that. When I say never passed up, I mean, I wasn’t only doing that in New York. If I heard there was a crew going to dinner in Pittsburgh, I would jump on an airplane and just act like I had to be in Pittsburgh for something just so I could run into people. I mean, I did a lot of that and I was afraid to let any opportunity get by, to meet a great lawyer, to be in a case, to just get some wisdom. That’s the way I was.

Chris Seeger:

Now, I’m not that bad anymore. Now I will turn down a dinner because I passed up a lot of nights with my older kids where I probably should have been home hanging out with them. I maybe do that a little bit more with my younger kids. I hope my older kids forgive me for that, but I think they understand. I’ve explained it to them. I was building a career blind. I was just grabbing onto everything. They get it, but no, I was ready. I was a very hungry young lawyer. I wanted to be in the middle of things.

Luke W Russell:

Think back to those early years, what advice would you give a law student getting ready to head out into the real world?

Chris Seeger:

Depending, my advice might be a little different depending on what they want to be, but if they want to do what I do, I basically tell them what I just said to you. I mean, do not pass up an opportunity. I was never afraid to raise my hand to volunteer for stuff. Even my first big opportunity in my first class action, sitting in a room full of lawyers much more experienced than I was, I was the guy always saying basically put me in the game, put me in the game.

Chris Seeger:

Whether I had the experience or not, in my first big case, they needed somebody to depose an underwriting expert in a case against workers comp carriers. I grabbed that assignment and then ran out that night and grabbed every book I could find on underwriting workers comp policies in every state and then a book on how to depose an expert. You know what I mean? You got to be resourceful and you got to be hungry and you almost have, this is going to sound weird, you almost have to be stupid, too dumb to care if you fail.

Chris Seeger:

I never thought about, wow, if I fail at this, it’s over. I didn’t have that thought process. I don’t know why. I really don’t know why. To this day I kind of really am the same way. I don’t try cases as much as I used to. That really just is a more of a function of my role in this firm. I’ve got so many smart partners who can try cases that my time is probably not better spent for months being tied up in one trial when I’m handling a number of cases.

Chris Seeger:

But having said that, if somebody said today, “We have the most important case going on in the country. Would you be willing to try it?? I’d be absolutely. Some guys at 61 would say, “Well, if I blow that assignment, then everyone’s going to say he’s been lucky. He really sucks.” But I never cared about that. There’s always going to be some failure with trying, but you got to try. If you want to be successful, I don’t care if you’re an accountant, a lawyer or doctor, you really have to be the person that looks at challenges and says, “I want to try that.”

Luke W Russell:

You take your first job out of law school and you’re doing real estate law?

Chris Seeger:

At Sherman and Sterling, a big white shoe firm where I couldn’t really relate to anybody there.

Luke W Russell:

You said you were there for three years?

Chris Seeger:

I was there for two and a half, three years.

Luke W Russell:

Two and a half, three years. Was that just drudgery? Was it terrible?

Chris Seeger:

The job was terrible. People were fantastic. But I was around people now at this white shoe law firm, which with a fantastic reputation and brilliant people who played golf or tennis, I didn’t. It wasn’t where I came from. That wasn’t a crowd and I never felt the desire to go play golf just so I could be accepted by the golf crowd. That wasn’t who I am. If I went and played golf, I’d feel like I was selling out a little bit, which is stupid. It’s totally stupid. It’s a great game. But that’s the way I felt about it.

Chris Seeger:

We used to have scavenger hunts where we would steal the pin from golfers who were putting just to screw up their game, or steal a golf cart. It was just a very different environment for me. It was a great learning experience. I learned a lot about how I learned a lot about practice mechanics there, how to be a lawyer. I’m very thankful for that. But it wasn’t a place at that point in my life where I saw myself.

Luke W Russell:

When you were going into that, is that maybe where you discovered you would eventually want to be your own boss?

Chris Seeger:

Yeah. I was thinking actually, so on the side I was managing fighters. I was managing or I was doing legal work for fighters and I mean, some really great fighters. I was involved with James Tony, one of the greatest fighters that ever lived, actually I have pictures of me sparring with him, and others.

Chris Seeger:

I was thinking maybe I’ll just go manage fighters or something or get involved in boxing somehow. It’s a sport I love. I love the people so maybe I’ll even do that. Then what wound up happening is I left Sherman and Sterling and went to another firm, which is where I was introduced to litigation. Then the one thing I discovered about litigation is that if you’re a competitive person, you want to be a litigator because that is all about winning and losing. I liked the competitive aspect of it.

Chris Seeger:

Then when I left that firm and I went out on my own and when I was doing everything like wills and real estate, I was doing anything to pay the bills. I was both mostly living off credit cards. I did my first personal injury case and then just fell totally in love with that. That was where my client was grabbing my arm in court and I was really there to fight for her. I just loved that dynamic. We did okay in that case.

Chris Seeger:

There was nothing that, I mean, at a time in my life when I was literally thinking of leaving the law, it was like, this was given to me this opportunity to be a plaintiff’s lawyer and that was it. There was no looking back. That was totally what I was meant to do. I got up every morning and ran to work as opposed to schlepping there, grabbing my bag and going, “I got to go make a paycheck.” I worked for months and months and months without even a pay, without pay because I was on my own and loved it, loved it. I love it to this day.

Luke W Russell:

I want to break that down just a little bit. You’re in ’90 to ’93 ish. You’re at that the first firm?

Chris Seeger:

’93 ish, ’93-’94.

Luke W Russell:

Then you worked at another firm for a bit. Was that when you went off on your own, because I know you started your current firm in ’99.

Chris Seeger:

I was out on my own before then. ’93-’94, I went out on my own, fumbled around, had a partner here and there, didn’t work out for whatever reason and was pretty much on my own.

Chris Seeger:

I had formed a firm with some other guy by the name of Ed Weisman. The firm was Weisman and Seeger, I guess we did this ’94-’95. That lasted until about ’98-’99. Then my friend from law school and still my friend, Steve Weiss, who was at another firm, he was at Fried Frank. I had convinced him to come over and join me. He came over in ’99 and then brought with him and introduced me to Dave Buchanan, who is one of the greatest lawyers in the country. Anybody who’s worked with him would tell you that. From there, this is how it started really.

Luke W Russell:

You mentioned you had this period where it sounds like you were maybe thinking about walking away from the law. Take me back to that.

Chris Seeger:

I was really close. I mean, I was super close. If I had maybe the right break came along managing a fighter or being a lawyer for a fighter and I thought I could have made a living doing that, which I was trying to do but I couldn’t get enough going and boxers don’t pay very well, maybe things would’ve been different and I would’ve gone down that path, but while I was trying to sort that out is when I fell in love with the idea of being a personal injury lawyer.

Chris Seeger:

Believe me, I only stayed away from it before then, because most of the people I were around, whenever the word personal injury lawyer came up, it was kind of a negative connotation. You’d hear things like ambulance chaser a lot of times. I came from kind of stodgy law firms where that was that rotten plaintiff’s lawyer to blood sucking plaintiff’s lawyer. Until I had my own experience with it, realizing now they couldn’t be more wrong. It couldn’t be more wrong. I mean, particularly I was at a point where I was starting to feel like I was becoming a good lawyer and I felt like people like my clients deserve to have a good lawyer, just like the lawyers defending the companies. I felt I could function in that role and be that person.

Chris Seeger:

Man, I just love it. For years when we would settle cases, even after we got into mass tort cases, I personally wanted to hand out those checks to my client. A couple of times I got on airplanes to go do it because I knew it was going to be just a life changing moment. I’ve had clients faint on me.

Luke W Russell:

Wow. Really?

Chris Seeger:

We’d pick them up and dust them off and say, “This is real. This is really happening.” I mean, this is not a slight at any defense lawyer, but no defense lawyer will ever have that experience because if you represent 3M or a big pharmaceutical company or GE, you’re just spending their money. They’re not loving anything about you. You’re just part of a problem.

Chris Seeger:

But to my clients, they view the whole system’s slanted against them. You come along and say, “No, no, no, no. I can level this playing field, and by the way, I’ll put up the money for this. You don’t have it, I’ll put it up and if we win we’re partners and I get my money back that I laid out,” and I have never had a client, I mean, I can’t tell you there hasn’t been one or two that maybe didn’t have some gripe, but I cannot sitting here right now think of, I’ve represented thousands of individuals, anybody that has a problem with that type of a relationship.

Luke W Russell:

Now what about that, can you take me back to that first plaintiff’s case that really started to change your desire to be in the law?

Chris Seeger:

It was a case that settled that didn’t go to trial, although I have tried personal injury cases since then, but it was just, it was more the dynamic between us. I came from law school, went to Sherman and Sterling mostly working on Citibank matters. Then I went from Sherman and Sterling to another firm, again, working for companies, big companies. They were very nice people I was working with at these companies, but they were companies, multi-billion dollar entities.

Chris Seeger:

Then I meet this woman who comes along with an injury, which is not minor, but not life threatening but it was an ankle problem. There was just something about that relationship. I just liked it. I mean, I liked it. I guess I would describe it to somebody who doesn’t understand it that if you don’t like bullying, then you like to be the person when you see them being bullied, you like to be the person who sticks up for them. It was like that kind of scene.

Luke W Russell:

At that point, so we’ve been kind of talking about the ’90s. This is when you had your first children, is that right?

Chris Seeger:

1993.

Luke W Russell:

1993.

Chris Seeger:

My first, my son, Aaron.

Luke W Russell:

You have Aaron and I believe this is this with your first wife.

Chris Seeger:

Yes. Three children from my first wife, three children from my second wife. But I like to balance things out.

Luke W Russell:

This is also when you’re starting to reform your relationship with your mom, you now have a child you’re responsible for, you’re trying to figure out what you’re doing with the law and you find this place now that feels right?

Chris Seeger:

Yeah.

Luke W Russell:

How did you meet your partner that you would go on to build this firm with?

Chris Seeger:

Steve?

Luke W Russell:

Yeah.

Chris Seeger:

Steve and I met in law school. We became really good friends in law school. We were both on Laura View together. I hope this doesn’t come across in any way sounding like I’m disparaging Steve. But Steve was a big supporter of mine. Steve’s dad was a big plaintiff’s lawyer and he’d go to his dad and say, “You got to meet my friend, Chris. Dad, you really got to give him an opportunity. This guy’s a good lawyer. You’re going to be impressed by him.” He was a big, and at the same time he was my friend. He was a big proponent and he promoted me to one of the right people, I mean, his dad who gave me an opportunity to become, to start doing bigger cases, class actions and things like that.

Chris Seeger:

We were close and like I said, he was growing tired of big firm life. He had been at Fried Frank for eight or nine years. I was just like, “Hey, why don’t we get together and do something here. Come on over and we’ll build something together.”

Chris Seeger:

Then as he was walking out of Fried Frank, I didn’t know Dave Buchanan. Dave literally walked into his office and said, “Hey, Steve, what’s up? Where are you going?” He’s like, “I’m going to join my friend, Chris. You ought to come over and meet him.”

Chris Seeger:

We had dinner at Spark’s Steakhouse in New York. I guess this is going back to ’99 or ’98. I was like, “Oh yeah, we got to have that guy.” First of all, he’s a big guy, football player, was like, “He’s going to intimidate people.” I didn’t know he was as smart as he turned out to be. He’s a fantastic lawyer, Dave in his own right. Everything’s about timing in life, big believer in that.

Luke W Russell:

When we come back, Chris and I will talk about some of his class action work. He’ll explain why settling isn’t the same as selling out, the truth about race norming and the milestone case he’s working on with Bin Crump. Stay with us. I’m Luke W. Russell and you’re listening to Lawful Good.

Luke W Russell:

When we left off, Chris explained how he moved into the world of personal injury. As we pick up the conversation, we’ll hear about the importance of being friendly with opposing counsel, his black belt in jujitsu, and why even after six kids, he would have more. You started getting involved in class actions. How did you find yourself in that seat?

Chris Seeger:

Well, again, through this relationship, Steve’s dad gave me my first opportunity. It was that case I was telling you about. It was, I think the first class action I had been involved with, which was a worker’s comp, suing workers comp carriers for overcharging on premiums.

Chris Seeger:

From there, I got involved in these life insurance cases, which they were called vanishing premium cases where people were told you’d pay into a policy for seven years and then the dividends or the interest would pay all the premiums. But they didn’t disclose that it was tied to insurance rates or what was going on in the market. Folks who bought hundreds of thousands of these policies felt hoodwinked by that. I was involved in those cases. Those cases are really what launched my career as in the complex lit world doing class actions.

Chris Seeger:

Then that led to my first mass tort, which was pretty much two of them at the same time. It was involved in a drug called Resolin and Propulsid. Those were the two of the mass torts I got involved with.

Chris Seeger:

From there, interesting story about that when you asked me before, what would I say to a law student or somebody who wanted to get into this? I literally just did this yesterday because I was teaching an online course at Duke. I said, “If you want to get …” I told them my background and my story, but I said, “Look, the first, the meetings, it was an old boys’ network back then and it was an old boys’ network for old boys, not even young boys or women or anybody who was black or brown. It was a really small cabal back when I started doing this and I used to show up at these organizational meetings and pretty much get thrown out of the room and my very close friend, Arnold Lavin, who’s a very successful lawyer from Philadelphia will tell you because he’s the one that threw me out of the first room I was in. But you got to go out there and prove yourself.”

So what happened in Reslen is they had this case. They were all in federal court. No, they did not support me being on their committees, and I didn’t really get a position or a role. So Dave and I took our cases, and we filed them across the street in state court. While they were out fumbling around, and some of them were losing cases, we went and rung the bell. We tried our own case cap. We got a yes to punitive damages, and before we could get to punitive damages, even trying that phase, we had a settlement.

Luke W Russell:

Wow.

Chris Seeger:

We put ourselves on their radar by just doing the work. That’s what I always tell law students. Don’t expect somebody to hand something to you. I know there’s a lot of talk today about, “Oh, you got to bring young people in.” Yeah, you do. We do have to find ways to integrate, to get a lot more people involved, but people have to have the attitude they want to do that. They got to go prove themselves because it’s about your client. At the end of the day, there are clients on the other end of these cases. So we need the best people doing this. If you’re good, and you want to be involved, you’re a good trial lawyer, a good brief writer, go prove yourself, you’re going to get a spot.

Chris Seeger:

Plaintiffs lawyers are smart in this respect. But if there’s somebody that brings value, that increases the value of your cases, which is better for your client. You’re going to want to work with those folks.

Luke W Russell:

Do you remember the moment when you realized you were getting into big stuff? Not even just a big, complex, individual case, but you realized this is the effects of what you were doing, and the ramifications for the volume of people was great.

Chris Seeger:

I always had the awareness that the bigger cases I worked on at Reslen, Propulsive, Viox, Zyprexa. I can name many of them. Volkswagen, Clean Diesel, the NFL concussion litigation. I always had the sense that these were big, important cases, in some respects more important than others. But I never, I don’t really spend a lot of time thinking about that. It’s just not my personality. I didn’t spend any time thinking, “Hey, I’m taking on the NFL.”

Luke W Russell:

And they’ve never lost it and they’ve never lost the case. Yeah. It doesn’t factor into my thinking at all. It’s like, I don’t care. Like you’re lose. I, my attitude is you’re going to lose this one. Yeah. Doesn’t always work out that way, but that’s how I really approach it. And I really believe that you may have dozens of cases, maybe hundreds of cases you’re dealing with, but to your client, that case is everything that might reflect a very traumatic event in their life and you got to be mindful of that all the time. In every decision you make, how you communicate with them, whether you take those calls, whether you return the calls. The decision you’re making on settling, you got to talk to them.

Luke W Russell:

So we really try to always remember that, and I hope we do it around here. I believe we do. But if I step back and say Volkswagen Clean Diesel was a significant case to be involved with because it not only resulted in a $14 billion result for consumers, but working with the government, there’s also going to be electric charging stations throughout the country for electric vehicles. There was money to remediate environmental harm caused by Volkswagen. NFL concussion litigation started a big discussion in this country about concussions which has affected, not just football but other sports. Now, young kids at a certain age can’t head a soccer ball. You got to be, I think, 12 or 14 years old before you could even really do that. People say to me, “Well, you might have harmed the sport,” but if you harmed a sport and preserve someone’s brain, that’s probably a trade off worth making.

Luke W Russell:

But it started a big discussion in the country and it started a discussion in people’s homes. Like, whether parents want their kids playing football or wrestling or even soccer. At least it’s part of the thought process, whereas before that nobody really thought about concussions at all. At least now we’re thinking about it. I’m not saying people’s changed their lives. I wouldn’t change a thing. I know as much as most average, maybe as much as some doctors about head hitting and concussions, and I still, if I had my life do over again, I still would’ve boxed.

Luke W Russell:

I’m told that you are particularly skilled in both litigating fiercely while you’re also able to then sit down with the other side to try to craft a solution.

Chris Seeger:

Well, whoever said that probably would pay me the greatest compliment because I do pride myself on that. The ability to make war and peace at the same time. I don’t want this to be interpreted wrong, but I’m not an ideologue. I do fall in love with my clients and their cause, but it’s part of your job to be a lawyer not just to be a cheerleader for your client and tell your client what they want to hear, but sometimes you got to tell them the bad stuff. You got to have the ability to view the strengths and the weaknesses of a case. I think that has helped me on the settlement front.

Chris Seeger:

When I’m trying cases, you got to know your strength and weaknesses, but you’re in a war mode. When you’re settling cases, it’s a very different dynamic. It’s a more fun dynamic in some respects because these cases are so big that they really become big workouts. When you’re trying cases, your opponent’s problem is an opportunity for you to destroy them. In the settlement world, your opponent’s problem is a problem you need to work on together. Because if you can’t solve that problem in the settlement, they won’t settle.

Chris Seeger:

There’s one other thing I would say about that. When you take on these cases like we take on where you represent hundreds and sometimes thousands of people, or you’re responsible for tens of thousands because judges appoint lawyers to work for other lawyers, you have to realize that there is only one path to justice for everybody and that is global settlement. That’s some form of a global settlement.

Chris Seeger:

Because think about it. If you try every case which the legal system can’t handle, it can’t handle 10,000 Viox trials and it can’t handle 300,000 3M trials. So, at some point, those cases are going to get resolved. That is going to eliminate the risk for all those people that would’ve lost their trial, because some will lose that trial. We don’t win every case. So if you want some form of justice for a hundred percent of those people, the way to do that is do a global settlement that pays something to everybody. Hopefully, it’s fair. I was literally in a Viox trial and basically on weekends and at night negotiating settlement while we were in trial. It resulted in a global settlement worth $4.85 billion. So you got to be able to do both. Well, you don’t have to, but if you’re not good at both, then pick the one you’re good at.

Luke W Russell:

Have you built any good relationships with people who sit across the table from you?

Chris Seeger:

I mean, you really are asking such good questions. I take a lot of pride in that. I have defense lawyer friends and I could give you a long list of who they are, that I would literally tell you that I really love these people, men and women on the other side. They are people of high integrity. We try to kill each other in the courtroom, but I trust them. This is something I think other plaintiff’s lawyers, some will get this and some won’t, but there are some defense lawyers out there when they say to me, A, B, C, and D, I believe them because they’re not dishonest. They wouldn’t say it. If they can’t tell you something that’s useful, they just won’t say it.

Chris Seeger:

And there are some folks out there who have been doing this now for 25 years. Been out of law school, over 30 already. I’ve been doing this long enough to know, and make those kind of relationships with defense lawyers under the side where we can fight it up, but when it comes time to have a settlement discussion, I’m going to hear what their concerns and their problems are. They’re going to hear mine and we’re going to be able to start to solve each other’s problems, and then bring together the pieces necessary to solve a big problem for their clients and mine. I’ve got people who are injured and their client might have a really big litigation that’s an existential threat to their company. These are high stakes multidimensional chess games and those relationships come in handy.

Chris Seeger:

There are academics that probably never practiced a day in their lives that criticize what they call repeat players. Guys like me on both sides, the defense side and the plaintiff side, saying that, “Well, this is like this network of repeat players, and we keep seeing them in every case, and they build these cozy relationships, they do these backroom deals, and they just don’t really understand what goes on in the legal system.” these defense lawyers and plaintiff’s lawyers are so good at what they do, that you shouldn’t confuse the fact that they can sit down and put a deal together with anybody selling anybody out. They are fighting very hard in the courtroom, but then sitting down to solve a really complicated problem, which takes trust, credibility, integrity, and creativity.

Chris Seeger:

If you interview defense lawyers, and I think if they told you they want to have somebody on the other side, I want to have somebody on the other side I trust. Not because I’m going to believe everything they say to me, but it will eliminate a whole bunch of mess that we could just cut through and start getting to the real issues.

Luke W Russell:

You reference judges. I was curious, you have great relationships with people on the defense side. What about judges? How has the way you’ve chosen to show up affected your relationships with the people in the judiciary?

Chris Seeger:

The reality is one of the reasons I’ve had great success as a plaintiff’s lawyer is because I have … man, it’s hard to say this and to sound humble at the same time. But I have developed not personal relationships with judges, but really good professional relationships where I think some judges have developed confidence in me and trust. I don’t lie to judges and I don’t stretch the true. I advocate zealously, try not to be a fumbling bumbling idiot in front of them and say things that aren’t true. What has happened from that is that certain judges have taken … When I’m applying for a position in a case and judges say, “Give me a name of some judges that you’ve been before so I can check you out.” I never let that go to my head but I will tell you that I’m blown away sometimes by the fact that a judge will take that call and say to another judge, “The Seeger guy’s okay. You can give him a shot.” That’s just a great honor. I wouldn’t do anything to ruin that.

Chris Seeger:

That’s another thing I’d recommend to young lawyers. Be mindful of the judge you’re in front of. That person may get a call one day saying, “What kind of lawyer is that person?” I don’t think you want him to say, “You can’t trust a thing that comes out of his or her mouth.” That wouldn’t be really good. The system doesn’t work well if that’s going on either.

Luke W Russell:

So you’ve mentioned it a couple of times, the NFL litigation. How did you get involved in that from the start with?

Chris Seeger:

I literally had a group of players referred to me by a lawyer who used to send us cases. When it first came into my office, I was a little suspicious of it because again, I grew up around boxing. I know the effects of boxing on older fighters. They hung out at the gyms that I boxed that and trained that. I saw some of these older fighters and the effects of constant punches and concussions. So when I first looked at the case and I said, well, yeah, these are really super athletic, big, strong guys, and they’re running into each other. So I would expect there to be some brain issues.

Chris Seeger:

The sweet spot in the case, the thing that really made me want to pursue that case though, was the fraud that was committed by the NFL. They formed a committee called The Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Committee in the late 90s, and everything that came out of that committee was just a lie. I mean, it wasn’t even really run by neurologists or neuropsychologist. It was run by an arthritis doctor and it was publishing and putting information out that ran counter to what was being said in the medical world. So they were really hiding this thing from the players. Now, again, some players might say, “Having known that, I still would’ve done exactly what I did.” But they have the right to make that decision based on the information. That was the sweet spot in the NFL concussion litigation and why I wound up bringing the case. Because of the fraud.

Luke W Russell:

What do you feel like the public discourse or perception of that case was? Where was the disparity in how the media reported on that versus what you were actually seeing as a person involved with these cases?

Chris Seeger:

I have never been in a case that was more screwed up by the media than the NFL concussion litigation. Probably because it’s a complicated case, and also because anybody who is unhappy in that case and wants to pick up the phone and talk to a reporter, the reporter will basically write things without checking it out. I mean, I’ve had so many incorrect things said, and literally have sent documents to a reporter saying, “What you just reported was incorrect. Would you like to print a retraction?” Sometimes they do. Sometimes they don’t.

Chris Seeger:

The thing that should be remembered about that case, I’ll tell you the reality. And I am right on this. This is not just the guy who negotiated boasting about it. When we brought that case, everybody predicted we would lose. NFL had never lost a litigation. There was a massive legal issue in the case that threatened every case to be thrown out of court involving preemption. I’m not going to get into that whole thing there. When we settled it, we had in place something that was going to take care of players and their families who were the most seriously injured as a result of concussions and pay at least up to $1.5 billion over 65 years. So if a player was 30 years old and was diagnosed, he’d be taken care of if the diagnosis didn’t come till he was 60 or 70, and we’re compensating 80 year olds.

Chris Seeger:

This is a highly successful settlement. And this is where I think the disconnect comes in. Not every retired player will come down with one of the compensable injuries, which is dementia, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and ALS. If you don’t get diagnosed with one of those compensable injuries, you’re not going to get a check. You still can get baseline testing. There’s a lot of value in baseline testing, because if you’re 30 and something comes down when you’re 45, to be able to look back on an older test and compare it is really important. But that doesn’t satisfy some people’s need for wanting a check. So it’s a long program that will not pay everybody unless you’re diagnosed with one of those horrible diseases. I would really hope most people don’t want to be diagnosed with one of those. So that’s one complicating factor.

Chris Seeger:

The second complicating factor, many of the lawyers representing retired NFL players in this case are more fans than they are lawyers. They went out and retained hundreds and hundreds of clients, some of them. Not all of them are being compensated and maybe they have a relationship issue now. That issue they have taken from them because they’re responsible, and they’ve dumped that on the settlement and me. They’re directing their anger at me and they tell their clients, “You’re not getting a check. Not because you’re okay or you’re not being diagnosed. You’re not getting a check for your depression or your anxiety or one of these things, and it’s Chris Seeger’s fault. He sold those injuries out.”

Chris Seeger:

It’s just not true. But like I said to you when we started out, I don’t get very high and I definitely don’t get very low. This comes with the job. When you’re in the cheap seats, everybody has conviction. They’re not in the ring, they’re not there in the fight, so they sit back and criticize. Unfortunately, it’s a very sexy case that reporters want to report about. I will say, not every reporter has been unfair to me. I’ve gotten some pretty fair treatment by some. The stuff that gets sent around on Twitter though is not that. I mean, there’s a USA Today columnist that wrote a very complimentary piece about me and the case, his name is Mike Freeman. When the race norming issue came up and it came to my attention that it was a much bigger problem than I thought it was, and we have now solved that. So we’ve eliminated it.

Chris Seeger:

He wrote a nice piece saying, “I don’t know why all these people are pissed off at Seeger. He’s done a good job and I think he’s the right guy that can resolve this.” That meant a lot to me because it came at a time where I was saying to myself, “Wow, is this my fault?”

Luke W Russell:

For people less familiar, can you give a little background on the context of race norming within the NFL and how the concussions were evaluated.

Chris Seeger:

So when we settled this case back in 2013 is when we were in settlement negotiations and it was approved, and I forget exactly the year, but this case was settled already 2014, 2015, pretty much done. We basically said, we set up a testing program that was based upon neuropsychology tests that were available out in the world. Chris Seeger wouldn’t know how to design a neuropsychology test. That’s not my thing. We sent people to doctors, the doctors use the tests. We simply said some tests are permissible, some aren’t. Some of those tests allowed for a correction for race-

Luke W Russell:

Meaning?

Chris Seeger:

Meaning there were adjustments to scores that made a presumption that African-Americans started with a lower IQ than white.

Luke W Russell:

Wow, yeah.

Chris Seeger:

Now that was based upon studies that were done that I’m not supporting. I’m just simply saying, and I don’t support and I know they’re wrong. But that was part of neuropsychology. So if you walked into a neuropsychologist office, a neuropsychologist would’ve applied these tests. That’s how it was done. We didn’t put it in, but we did take it out. About two years ago, a couple of players and their lawyers complained about it. I took a look and I didn’t see it as a systemic problem. It wasn’t until about a year ago when I really began investigating and looking at it that I realized it’s a bigger problem than I appreciated. That’s why when I was interviewed by ABC News, I said I felt I needed to extend an apology to my clients by saying, “I’m not apologizing for the existence of it because I didn’t create it, but not anticipating the impact that would have on a settlement where 70% of the class is Black.” I think I talked to you a little bit about my background. It’s something I pride myself in being very sensitive to issues like that.

Chris Seeger:

For the last year, I mean, I dedicated myself and my firm and we got the best experts involved, to ridding the settlement of that, and it’s now gone. So let me give you the silver lining because I told you, I’m always the guy looking for it, right? The silver lining is there’s a lot of race norming going on in the world. It’s not just neuropsychology. It’s other areas of medicine. What we have done through the concussion settlement and the NFL concussion settlement, is we’ve taken a step in the direction of eliminating race as a factor. Now, race was a proxy for somebody being underprivileged, maybe not being born in an economically disadvantaged background. So, our view is if that’s what you’re talking about, then focus on that and not race. Because now you’ve got white folks that are in exactly the same, they’re economically underprivileged, they may come from a broken home. It’s not just Black folks suffering from that.

Chris Seeger:

So we’ve used this settlement now to take a step in that direction and we think it’s going to have an influence on other areas of medicine. Where now they’re going to have to sit down and reevaluate the importance of race. I mean, does it make sense to have white and Black people treated differently?

Luke W Russell:

Now can you tell me, I want to talk about the Henrietta Lacks case. Before we get into the actual case material. Could you talk to me about how this came in front of you? Let’s start there.

Chris Seeger:

Well, that’ll give me a chance to talk about my friend Ben Crump, which I’m happy about. So one nice thing that really happened, and it was for me was a very meaningful thing during this whole issue with the NFL concussion settlement, is I got a call from a friend who said Ben Crump would like to talk to you. I want to set up a call with you and Ben Crump. I had no idea what that call was going to be about or what it was going to be like. To just fast forward and get to the punchline there, so I got on the phone with Ben, and it turns out Ben was mentored and very close with one of my closest friends who had passed away a few years ago, who was a trial lawyer down in Atlanta by the name of Charles Mathis.

Chris Seeger:

Ben looked up to and respected Charles and Charles used to talk about his friend, Chris Seeger. So this moment that I was having in the middle of all this turmoil, not knowing what this call from this great civil rights leader and social justice lawyer, not having any idea what that call was going to be about, it was almost like a, so I told you I’m spiritual, not very religious, it was really kind of like the universe brought this. It was so nice to hear Ben’s voice and for him to say, “Chris, I believe in you. I know who you are through Charles.” To get that boost of like go get it now, go fix it. From that moment, Ben and I have become, I hope he feels the same way, close friends.

Chris Seeger:

We were looking for case opportunities together and the Lacks family contacted Ben. Everybody should know if they don’t, but Henrietta Lacks was a Black woman who died in 1951 who came down with cervical cancer. John’s Hopkins was one of the few hospitals that would even treat Black people in Maryland. They had a separate Black ward for Black women and white women. And while she was a patient there, they literally experimented on her. They inserted radium rods into her cervix, a treatment they were not doing to white women; and literally cooked her from the inside out. In the final days of her life, months of her life, made her sterile, caused her great pain and suffering. Then on top of that, they harvested cells from her uterus, which turned out to be miracle cells. I mean they are to this day, 70 years later, those cells are alive and they’re replicating.

Luke W Russell:

Wow.

Chris Seeger:

And they have become the cornerstone of modern medicine. The polio vaccine was developed testing from those cells.

Luke W Russell:

Wow.

Chris Seeger:

The COVID vaccines, Gardasil, which is an HPV vaccine made by Merck, and so many products. The cells have been in outer space to see how they react to weightlessness.

Luke W Russell:

Wow.

Chris Seeger:

They have been used to test sunscreen. I mean, all this money, billions trillions of dollars generated, and you know what the family’s gotten? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. So, the pharmaceutical industry through Johns Hopkins, stole this genetic material from this woman. Nobody has given a shit to even ask the family if you’re okay. Do you even have health insurance?

Luke W Russell:

Right? Wow.

Chris Seeger:

Members of the Lacks family don’t even have health insurance and they are using her cells to make billions of dollars. So I was like, “Hell yeah, I want to be involved in this case.” This case represents a lot. It’s not just justice for the family because these cells have been so miraculous, but it’s one step in the right direction towards some form of reparations, I think, that needs to be dealt with in this country between the country and Black Americans. I mean, so much was built on slave labor. There’s been so much exploitation. And I told you, like some of the Tuskegee syphilis experiment, where there are experiments where Black women were told they were going in for appendectomies in Mississippi and they were getting hysterectomies. They tested gas masks that were unproven on Black soldiers during World War II. And if they complained, they put them in jail.

Luke W Russell:

Wow.

Chris Seeger:

I mean, so there’s … Have things gotten better? Absolutely, but there’s a history of exploitation that has not really been dealt with, I think. And I love this case because I like the idea of taking care of the family. I also think it’s a step in the right direction toward recognizing that exploitation. This is part of that exploitation.

Luke W Russell:

Yeah. All right, Chris. I’m going to shift our mood a little bit here.

Chris Seeger:

Okay, all right. I’m in trouble.

Luke W Russell:

And we’re going to do what we call … Yeah. We call it a high-velocity round and I’ve got six-ish questions here. They’re all yes or no. And the rule is you can answer yes or no, but you can’t just answer yes. You’ve got to give me more.

Chris Seeger:

Yes and then answer.

Luke W Russell:

Yeah.

Chris Seeger:

Got it.

Luke W Russell:

Okay, so are you the epitome of the quote, “Sometimes people mistake kindness as weakness”?

Chris Seeger:

Yes. I think I’m a good guy to most people, but I think people don’t understand that most people, I can be pushed to the wall. With me, like I said, I’m this 61-year-old lawyer, but there’s still a lot of street in me. And when somebody takes advantage of the fact that I trust them or I treat them respectfully, and treat me disrespectfully or take advantage of that, I’m ready. I’m like a snake. I’m ready to coil and lash out.

Luke W Russell:

Yeah. Are you a silly person at times?

Chris Seeger:

I think my kids would tell you yes. I keep them laughing, so the answer is yes. My center of gravity in my world is my wife and my six kids. I mean, I spend all my free time with them. Yeah, I think they would tell you I’m a bit of a clown. When you’ve got your five-year-old laughing at your jokes you’re a clown.

Luke W Russell:

Do you see your sense of humor coming out in some of their senses of humor?

Chris Seeger:

I do. Yeah. Sometimes I laugh at it, and then sometimes I just rift with them.

Luke W Russell:

Yep.

Chris Seeger:

We just say completely stupid stuff to each other.

Luke W Russell:

I love that. Is there anything better than a barbecue, friends, and fight night?

Chris Seeger:

No. There’s nothing better; barbecue, friends, family, and fight night. We do that all the time. I mean, I had a big theater room, and actually, I have one in the house we’re moving into also because I’ve got six kids and my older boys have girlfriends. Fight nights, MMA, boxing, anything of that yeah, they’re over and we’re having a great time.

Luke W Russell:

Yeah. Do you always know the right thing to say?

Chris Seeger:

No. I don’t. I would say depending on the moment. I try to be empathetic to everything. I try to read people. I coach sometimes, too. I have a black belt in Jiu Jitsu, so I teach classes. I’ve taught wrestling, and I’ve taught boxing. I’ve learned an important lesson from coaching, and that is this: not every kid can be treated the same. There’s actually a lesson from this.

Chris Seeger:

Some kids need to be torn down a little bit. Some kids need to be built up. The ones that need to be torn down need to understand that the whole world isn’t going to … You’ve got to go work and humble yourself a little bit. But some kids need to be told they’re great. They’re the best thing that has ever existed. And you have so much talent you could be anything in the world.

Chris Seeger:

I was one of those kids, and when I got that little bit of feedback, it really built me up. When I read people, I try to get a sense of who they are and what they need in my relationships, but sometimes people just need a little hug. I’ll hug anybody; anybody. I love giving hugs, getting hugs, and I like saying kind things to people.

Chris Seeger:

You know what I’m not really good with? I wish I were better when … I’m not real good dealing with death, so if I have somebody close to me who has lost somebody I can say sorry, but I really wish I was better at connecting with them in a way that would comfort them a little bit more. I’m not always good with that and I’m not really good with attending funerals and things like that because they’re uncomfortable for me. I have to remind myself it’s not about me; it’s about them.

Chris Seeger:

Probably everybody gives a similar answer. We’re good at some things and not good at others.

Luke W Russell:

Thinking of your friend, Keith, have you figured out how to make his mother’s fried chicken?

Chris Seeger:

Well, first of all, nobody will ever make fried chicken like his mother. That was the best. When we were kids and hung out over there, and I used to sleep over at his house a lot as a young kid because I wanted to be out of my house. I would wake up at night and eat it cold out of the refrigerator and steal it.

Chris Seeger:

But I think I’m getting there. I make pretty good fried chicken. I hope he told you that because if he didn’t he’s lying. He eats it; I can tell you that.

Luke W Russell:

Yes. Do you think you’ll ever grow your hair back out into a ponytail?

Chris Seeger:

I want to.

Luke W Russell:

Really?

Chris Seeger:

The answer is yes. Somebody asked me about retirement. I said, “My idea of retirement is growing my hair really long and doing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu on the beach, becoming this old guy that’s not as fat as I am right now and skinny.” Yeah, I wouldn’t mind. At some point, I might just grow it out long again. It would be white, but, hey.

Luke W Russell:

Have you ever struggled to get out of bed in the morning out of fear or worry?

Chris Seeger:

No. In fact, if I’m fearful or worrisome, I look forward to getting out of bed. Life is one foot in front of the next. It’s just it. You can’t run from fear. You can’t run from things that intimidate you. You’ve got to go right at it.

Luke W Russell:

Yeah. Can you take me to the meeting of your current wife?

Chris Seeger:

Yeah. It wasn’t really anything like love at first sight. I mean, I thought she was incredibly beautiful. We were at Sparks Steakhouse. I was recently separated, and a good friend of mine who was there said, “That is the most beautiful woman in this place.” He literally pointed in her direction. I was like, “I think you’re right.” He said, “I’m going to bring her over here and introduce her to you.” That’s pretty much how it started.

Luke W Russell:

What was your first impression?

Chris Seeger:

Well, first of all, I’m going to be really super candid. She’s 20 years younger than I am. I think I was 45 or maybe a little older. She was really incredibly beautiful and sweet. Very sweet. I didn’t think it was going to go anywhere just because of the age difference. I think she was 25 at the time. She was young.

Chris Seeger:

It took a lot of time for us to really get our relationship going. She just had a genuineness about her and a sweetness, and we come from very similar backgrounds in some ways. The more we talked to each other, and got to know each other and liked each other, the easier it was for the relationship to progress.

Chris Seeger:

To this day, honestly, she is an incredible person. I love being around her. We’ve been together now probably 15 years. We do everything together. We boat together; she’s my first mate. She’s a very good boater. I really love being around her. If I met you the day after I met her, I would say, “Wow, I met this beautiful girl, but there’s no way that’s going anywhere.” Look what happened? To me, next to my kids, she’s the most important thing in my life.

Luke W Russell:

One of your friends described your relationship with your wife as when you see them together you know they don’t just love each other, they are in love with each other. Your friend said that they hold hands, they’ll dance at a Christmas party.

Chris Seeger:

I’m a terrible dancer. I get up because she’s up.

Luke W Russell:

Yeah.

Chris Seeger:

Let me put it to you this way. She is so important to me that she’s not really easy for me to talk about because it’s hard to find the words. Before I saw you today, I was with her having lunch. One of the reasons I moved my office is so that I could be closer to her and see her more at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I just love being around her.

Chris Seeger:

She’s a super, tremendous person, and she loves family. My three older kids, she never tried to be anything or fill a role to them. She’s too young to try to be a stepmother, and she wouldn’t even try that. But she has developed her own relationship with them, and she’s very tight with all of them. They love her.

Chris Seeger:

When you are married for the second time, and you have kids with somebody else, the fact that that person takes the time to not only fall in love with your kids but to make them fall in love with you makes your life really easy and good.

Luke W Russell:

You come from a family of six kids. Now you have six. Some people would say that’s a lot of kids. What do you think about that?

Chris Seeger:

I would have more. If I weren’t 61, I’d have more. I mean, at my age, having babies it’s not so much a wear and tear on me. You want to be there for them long enough to get them … I wouldn’t change a thing about my life.

Chris Seeger:

I’ve met people that don’t like going home for whatever reason; kids, wife, whatever it is. When I meet people like that, and they tell me that, I say to them, “You need to change your life. You’re not doing anybody a favor by being this miserable guy who doesn’t want to go home.” I’m just really lucky.

Luke W Russell:

How have you surprised yourself as a father?

Chris Seeger:

I hope I’m not offending any of my brothers or sisters who listen to this, but I didn’t have a great role model. I didn’t have somebody who hugged you or said I love you, and I’m the opposite with my kids.

Chris Seeger:

In some respects, I think by not having that, I had this vision in my head of a really good dad, and I’ve tried to become that person. I would hope that if you talk to my kids, they would all tell you they feel that, and they know that. I think they would because they know they’re my priority.

Luke W Russell:

Yeah. What does it mean to you to be a family man?

Chris Seeger:

Everything. If you said what’s the number one thing you want to be know as some people might think lawyer. Family man would be number one for me. It’s important. First of all it makes me happy, so it’s easy. Secondary to that, I grew up in a house where there wasn’t a lot of nurturing going on really. Being there for my kids satisfies me in a very strange way. It kind of repairs things that I would have liked in my childhood. I feel very satisfied by being there for them.

Luke W Russell:

Do you do any martial arts with your kids?

Chris Seeger:

A little bit. I would love to do more, but I was never able to get them into it. I always wondered about that. I wonder if it was because I came from the neighborhood I came from or my background.

Chris Seeger:

Combat sports for me, especially at this point in my life, is very little about combat. It’s almost therapeutic for me. You know? Being so focused on something … If I’m wrestling around on a mat with a 30-year-old MMA fighter, I’ve got to be really careful because I’m going to wind up choked or something. I love that. I love that when I’m done, I’m totally spent. It’s very therapeutic for me.

Chris Seeger:

My kids don’t seem to have that desire, but I don’t push them into it. I’ve never been one of those fathers that are like you’ve got to learn to box, or you have to learn to wrestle. I introduced them all to Jiu Jitsu. Not many of them stuck with it very long. One or two stuck with it a year or two. Maybe they’ll go back to it.

Chris Seeger:

All you can do is expose your kids to stuff and hope that they pick up on it. I was talking to somebody the other day, and they were talking to me about how difficult it was to become a lawyer. They were asking me questions about it. I said, “Look. I did something that was a lot more difficult than becoming a lawyer.” They were like, what? I’m like, “Become a Jiu Jitsu black belt. It took me almost nine years. It took a long time.

Chris Seeger:

You have to compete, and you have to really be into it. I really love it. Like I said, it’s more therapeutic for me, but it’s not an easy road. That’s a long time to stay committed to something, especially when you start in the late 40s.

Luke W Russell:

Yeah. What year did you end up getting your black belt?

Chris Seeger:

2017.

Luke W Russell:

Wow, not too long ago.

Chris Seeger:

Not too long ago. In fact, I have one-degree. I’m a one degree black belt. I got my first stripe. You get a stripe every three years up until, I think, your third stripe. Then you get another degree every five years.

Chris Seeger:

You have to be active. It’s not like Taekwondo where they give black belts to little kids. I shouldn’t say Taekwondo, but maybe … I don’t even know if that’s one that does it, but Karate, I’ve heard of 10-year-old black belts. Jiu Jitsu and Judo are not like that. You have to be 16 to even get past blue belt.

Luke W Russell:

Interesting. Are there any particular life lessons or perspectives that you hope as a dad to share and pass on to your children?

Chris Seeger:

Well, there probably are a few things. Respect everybody is number one. Judge nobody is number two. Work really hard for what you want. I’ve seen that in my kids. When they want something, they will work for it. I’ve spoiled them, but not to the point where they’re not willing to work really hard for what they want. I think I’ve struck the right balance. Definitely, they grew up differently than I did. No doubt.

Luke W Russell:

Do you have a more merciful and understanding perspective of your parents that you couldn’t have had when you were younger?

Chris Seeger:

Definitely. Definitely. There was a period of time I was made at my mother. There was a period of time I was mad at Jack. A period of time I was mad at George, who is my biological father. I had reasons to be mad in that moment with all of them. Then you grow up and at some point you go, “That’s just a waste of time.” It’s a waste of negative energy.

Chris Seeger:

If you really open your mind and look back at it and try to look at things from their perspective, you might have a little bit of a greater understanding of why they were the way they were.

Chris Seeger:

Wow. This is really a personal interview. I have never been asked these questions.

Luke W Russell:

I’ll take that as a compliment.

Chris Seeger:

Yeah, you should.

Luke W Russell:

Thinking about your comments earlier about your mother. You said that you had a really rich relationship with her and you said you were with her when she passed.

Chris Seeger:

Are you trying to make me cry here?

Luke W Russell:

I’m not trying to. No.

Chris Seeger:

What does that show?

Luke W Russell:

If you’re willing to, feel free to pass on this, could you maybe give us a fly’s perspective on a wall of … Not everybody gets to be there. I’m not sure exactly what I’m asking you to share, but if there’s something when you think back to that.

Luke W Russell:

That’s obviously a hard moment, but also beautiful that you could be there.

Chris Seeger:

Absolutely. That’s exactly how I look at it. She got sick, but she didn’t degrade overnight. She was diabetic and she was on kidney dialysis and got a bacterial infection which lead to an infection of her heart called endocarditis. She wasn’t feeling well. They thought she had the flu.

Chris Seeger:

When they realized it was more than that, she was admitted to the hospital. She lived in Charlottesville. I flew down, went back home, and then when she was back in the hospital and I was hearing it’s really not good I got to go down and spend some time with her. That was good.

Luke W Russell:

Was there anything somebody said to you that really stuck out to you after she passed? I remember your comment earlier about not really knowing what to say to people. I’m curious, was there somebody who showed up there like, man, that person, they knew what I needed in that moment?

Chris Seeger:

The one thing that sticks out to me is look, toward the end of her life, we got to have some very good discussions that needed to be had. I was lucky. But there was still a lot that I wanted to explore that we didn’t get to. By the way, I could say the same thing about Jack and George. I haven’t been that great. I mean, if I have a regret about any of this is that I should have pushed these topics, the questions in my head. But stubborn pride stops you.

Chris Seeger:

Especially with a biological father and you want to say, “Hey, why couldn’t we connect a little earlier? How come we couldn’t get this thing going?” What was so hard about that? A question along those lines. I didn’t do it because I was too proud and then you run out of time.

Chris Seeger:

I would say to people if you’ve got questions in your head like that, and I do say this to friends of mine who have similar backgrounds. If your dad is still out there or your mom is still out there and you had a falling out and there’s unspoken stuff that you want to talk about, try to take your pride and put it aside and go do it. I think it’s important.

Luke W Russell:

Yeah. Your friend, Troy, when we asked him about the most normal thing about you, Troy said, “The most normal thing about him, he is, despite all his success and despite all his accolades of awards, he is the same. He is the same guy that I met 25 years ago.”

Luke W Russell:

Your friend, Keith, in a completely separate conversation had similar words.

Chris Seeger:

They don’t even know each other.

Luke W Russell:

I love that. He said, “I’m very proud of what he’s accomplished and what he’s done and doing. But the thing I tell people is he’s the same guy. I mean, he did well for himself financially in his field, but if you met him you wouldn’t know. He’s not flashy, he’s not the guy to make it and become a jerk. He’s still the same guy.”

Chris Seeger:

That’s the greatest compliment that I could ever get. I think a big influence on me in that is I do remember very clearly being a carpenter working in somebody’s house, maybe a wealthy person, and just getting that look of disgust. Like you’re this messy, dirty guy in my house. Somebody that’s already insecure, that makes you feel insecure. I just would never treat anybody that way.

Chris Seeger:

In fact, the more you look like that, the more respect I’m going to give you. The more you look like a shiny, polished lawyer or doctor, maybe a little less respect. You remember what I said about coaching? Some people have to be brought down and some people have to be brought up.

Luke W Russell:

Yeah. When you look to the future what do you think is waiting for you, or what do you hope is waiting for you?

Chris Seeger:

It’s wide open. I’m looking for important, hopefully earth-shattering cases. I think Henrietta Lacks is one of them. Although, it’ll fly under the radar. People maybe will think of me more for NFL or Voltswagon, but I think this Lacks case has the potential to be really significant. I’m looking forward to that.

Chris Seeger:

I’m always looking for new opportunities. I still wake up every day, run to work, look for opportunities. I love being a plaintiffs lawyer.

Luke W Russell:

When you say run to work, you mean drive?

Chris Seeger:

I drive.

Luke W Russell:

Okay.

Chris Seeger:

I mean, I get out of bed, have my coffee, hit the gym, go to work.

Luke W Russell:

Got it.

Chris Seeger:

I love that. Yeah. I didn’t think of how that would … I still feel it’s wide open. One thing when you work your ass off and you accomplish some things from hard work you do say to yourself, why not me? Why shouldn’t I get that opportunity to lead that case? I know I can do a good job doing it and I care about people. I think the future is bright and wide open. And none of my kids want to be a lawyer. I don’t know why.

Luke W Russell:

Okay, Chris. It’s your 80th birthday celebration and people from all throughout your life are present. A gentle clinking on glass can be heard and a hush washes over the room. People raise their glasses to toast to you. What are three things you would hope they would say about you?

Chris Seeger:

You said some of them. I heard a couple here and it makes me really happy. I would like people to … It seems pretentious to even say this, but I’m so happy to hear my friends say I am who you see. I would hope that they would say that I’m the same person I was when I was 16 running the streets. I respect everybody and I give that respect willingly and happily unless it’s not deserved in some cases.

Chris Seeger:

At 80, maybe they got a hug from me or a kind word when they really needed it. That would be a really big compliment. I would like that. That’s what I go for.

Luke W Russell:

To learn more about Chris visit Seegerweiss.com. Thanks so much for listening to us this week. This podcast is produced by Kirsten Stock, edited by Kendall Perkinson, and mastered by Guido Bertolini.

Luke W Russell:

A special thanks to the companies that make this project possible. Russell Media and the SEO Police. You can learn more about these groups by visiting our website lawfulgoodpodcast.com. I’m your host, Luke W. Russell, and you’ve been listening to Lawful Good.