Marc J. Siegel is the Founder and Managing Partner of Siegel & Dolan, and has practiced labor and employment law in Chicago for his entire career. He has a unique labor and employment background, representing both individuals and businesses in a variety of matters. Mr. Siegel spent approximately seven years practicing at a mid-size Chicago management-side boutique labor and employment firm. Since 2002, he has focused on employee-side representation for professionals and litigation on behalf of low-income workers. He has drafted employment agreements and reviewed restrictive covenant agreements on behalf of chief executive officers, physicians, university faculty, and other professionals. Mr. Siegel understands all aspects of the employment relationship, as he is not only an advocate, but also a certified mediator, and an appointed American Arbitration Association (AAA) arbitrator in labor and employment matters.
Mr. Siegel is fortunate to love the work he does: helping people after they have lost their jobs or are facing other challenges in the workplace. Mr. Siegel stays in touch with many of his clients after the representation has ended, and is gratified to see them typically in a far better place than they were when he originally met them. He takes great pride in helping his clients through the difficult process of job transition. Mr. Siegel has represented people in public and private sectors, in all industries, from minimum wage workers to executives.
Mr. Siegel has been honored to receive many recognitions and accolades in his field, including:
- Named by Super Lawyers as one of the top 100 lawyers (out of 60,000-90,000 lawyers) in the State of Illinois in all areas of practice; 2012-2017
- Named by Super Lawyers as an Illinois Super Lawyer (top 5% of all lawyers); 2009-2014
- Named by Leading Lawyer Magazine as a Leading Lawyer (top 5% of all lawyers); 2013
- Named one of the Law Bulletin’s “40 under 40” (out of more than 1,000 applicants); 2012
While Mr. Siegel is proud of his peer and industry recognition and achievements, he recognizes that clients come to him to obtain results – and Mr. Siegel has a strong track record on this front. Recent representative results include:
- Obtained a class settlement of $ 2.55M in a donning and doffing case for workers at El-Milagro, an Illinois manufacturer. Mr. Siegel not only helped workers to each receive thousands of dollars in payments; he obtained injunctive relief which enabled the workers to change clothes at home instead of in the workplace, so that they had more time to spend with their families and friends away from the worksite.
- More than quadrupled the amount of severance offered to a former museum employee terminated while on FMLA leave for alleged performance reasons.
- Convinced a panel of three AAA arbitrators that a former executive at a Fortune 100 company was entitled to be paid his fees and costs in seeking change in control benefits – regardless of whether he prevailed in the case.
- Narrowed the scope of a non-compete agreement for a former member in an investment advisory company, so that he could continue to earn a living in the field.
- Persuaded a multi-billion dollar company not to pursue litigation against an ex-employee working abroad after he received several threatening letters from the company for breach of contract.
Summary of Experience
For the first seven years of his career, Mr. Siegel practiced law with Laner Muchin, a mid-size Chicago management-side boutique labor and employment firm. There, he advised employers on all types of employment matters, conducted audits of employment practices, ran organizing campaigns, handled collective bargaining, and defended numerous employment cases before the EEOC and unfair labor practices before the NLRB. Representative clients include Marmon Corporation, HARPO (Oprah Winfrey’s company), Allied Waste, and numerous other small and medium-sized businesses.
In 2002, Mr. Siegel co-founded Caffarelli & Siegel, Ltd., and since then has focused the vast majority of his work on representing employees in employment matters. He particularly enjoys the negotiation and counseling aspects of employment law. Mr. Siegel negotiates separation packages, reviews employment agreements, and advises clients on all work-related matters. He has drafted employment agreements on behalf of chief executive officers, physicians, university faculty, and other professionals. Mr. Siegel has successfully negotiated six-figure severance packages for numerous former executives, and is especially proud of the results he has achieved for his lower-waged clients.
Mr. Siegel speaks Spanish, and has the distinction to be among very few Spanish speaking labor and employment lawyers in Chicago. He is especially pleased to have successfully represented thousands of Hispanic workers in wage and hour disputes and other employment-related matters.
Mr. Siegel has successfully negotiated employment contracts, separation agreements, and better terms and conditions of employment for his clients. He has developed a niche practice from his negotiation experience, and has spoken before hundreds of other employment lawyers about his negotiation strategies and techniques. Mr. Siegel uses a customized approach, based upon each client’s unique goals, to maximize the chances for success.
Mr. Siegel has assisted executives and professionals by negotiating the terms and conditions of their employment prior to their beginning a new job. For example, he represented a surgeon, with a very unique specialty, whose employer wanted him to agree to a broad non-compete agreement as a condition of employment. This non-compete agreement would have prohibited the client from working anywhere in the state of Illinois were he to separate from employment. Mr. Siegel successfully negotiated a drastic reduction of the scope of the agreement, which gave the client the security of knowing he would be able to work again if he were to resign or was terminated. If the situation calls for it, some of Mr. Siegel’s work on employment agreements involves his “working behind the scenes” to assist the client in negotiating his or her own agreement.
Mr. Siegel also works with clients who have been presented with separation or severance agreements. He has negotiated six-figure separation packages for executive clients, and has greatly increased the amount of his clients’ separation pay over the amount originally offered.
Further, he often negotiates non-economic changes in separation agreements, including amending the client’s record to reflect that the client resigned instead of being terminated – thus ensuring that the employer does not contest unemployment; or securing outplacement services for his client. These types of non-economic changes enable Mr. Siegel’s clients to transition more smoothly from their previous positions and find re-employment with greater ease. In formulating a negotiation strategy, Mr. Siegel assesses both potential legal claims and other negotiation “levers” that assist clients in meeting their goals. He cares not only about his clients’ legal claims, but their financial, physical, and emotional well-being as well.
As Chicago’s premier legal negotiator, Mr. Siegel launched a new website, Consult the Negotiator, in which he lends his extensive experience at the negotiating table to help lawyers master the art of negotiations. Mr. Siegel can create a tailored strategic plan to harness negotiating strengths and manage weaknesses in the face of conflict. He can be hired as a negotiation consultant, law school lecturer, mediator, arbitrator, or speaker for executive leadership training programs.
Representative Litigation Matters
Mr. Siegel litigates clients’ claims in federal and state court with regularity. Read more about his successes and representative work.
- B.A., Duke University, cum laude
- J.D., University of Illinois College of Law, cum laude
- Certified Mediator
- AAA Arbitrator
Awards and Accolades
- Illinois Super Lawyers Top 100 List (2012 – Present)
- Illinois Super Lawyer, 2009 – Present
- Illinois Leading Lawyer, 2013
- Named one of Law Bulletin’s “40 Under 40” in 2012
- AV peer review rated by LexisNexis’ Martindale-Hubbell
Bar & Court Admissions
- United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
- Illinois Supreme Court
- United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan
Membership & Associations
- National Employment Lawyers Association
- National Employment Lawyers Association – Illinois
- Association of Attorney-Mediators
- Illinois State Bar Association
Publications and Speaking Engagements (Representative List)
- NELA/National Panel: Immigration Status and Employment Law — 2012
- “My Favorite Mistake: Plaintiff’s Perspective on Employer Behavior That Leads to Litigation” — May 2011, before 180 attendees at the 2011 Ogletree Deakins Workplace Strategies Seminar in Chicago
- “The Flip Side Of Negotiation: Effectively Interacting With Your Client” and “Winning the Summary Judgment Game Before it is Played” — February 2011, at the 2011 Seventh Circuit NELA Conference in Chicago
- “The Flip Side Of Negotiation: Effectively Interacting With Your Client” — June 2009, at the 2009 National Employment Lawyers Association National Convention in Rancho Mirage, California
- “Insight About the Management Bar: A Former Management Attorney’s ‘Inside’ Knowledge and How It Can Help You Represent Employees” — June 2008, before 400 attendees at the 2008 National Employment Lawyers Association National Convention in Atlanta, Georgia; February 2008, at the Seventh Circuit NELA Conference in Chicago
- “Leveling the Employment Playing Field: Who’s On First” — July 2008, before an audience of attorneys sponsored by the Chicago Volunteer Legal Services
- “Your Employee is on FMLA Leave: Figuring Out How to Handle Benefits and Other Policy Issues” — September 2007, at the 2007 FMLA Update seminar presented by the Council on Education in Management
- “Winning the Summary Judgment Game Before It Is Played: A Unique Framework for Negotiation” — June 2007, before 500 attendees as one of a panel of speakers discussing “State of the Art Negotiation and Mediation” at the 2007 National Employment Lawyers Association National Convention in San Juan, Puerto Rico
- “Hiring Latinos for Retention Success: Best Practices and Legal Guidelines” — May 2007, at a seminar for human resources professionals sponsored by Graciela Kenig & Associates
Published author in a variety of major newspapers, journals, and public records: IICLE, Philadelphia Inquirer, Christian Science Monitor, Congressional Record.