Mark Siler knew he wanted out of the courtroom after losing a case in law school.
“We had to work on this mock case and I thought we did a great job, but we lost,” the Weiss, Berzowski, Brady LLP said. “I don’t like losing and knew right then I couldn’t do trial law.
“I wanted to be in an area of law where you help others and in business law, you are doing just that.”
Siler, an associate at the Milwaukee firm, earned his bachelor’s degree in business at the University of Iowa and his law degree at University of North Carolina Chapel Hill School of Law.
Now he specializes in business law, helping entrepreneurs get their businesses off the ground, drafting contracts and more.
“It’s really cradle to grave business law,” Siler said of his practice, which often involves startups. “It’s enjoyable to learn about these news businesses and what they’re doing. It’s fun to watch them grow from a couple of guys in someone’s garage to a full-fledged business with real office space.”
Siler, who’s been practicing since 2004, said he’s noticed more startups in the past several years as the economy continues to struggle.
“I think people who are either out of work or aren’t moving up as fast as they thought they would are looking for new opportunities,” he said, “and starting their own business is definitely one way to go.”
Part of his work helping businesses is dealing with tax law, an area of constant change. “We’re definitely seeing lots of changes coming through with the Affordable Care Act,” Siler said. “No one seems to know where that’s going to go.
“For the first time, we’re all learning on the fly and there’s not a lot of guidance. It’s going to be interesting.”
Wisconsin Law Journal: Who is someone you admire?
Mark Siler: My wife, Inga. She is a speech-language pathologist in a school. I have seen the reactions of parents who have struggled to communicate with their children and the joy they feel when that communication finally happens. My wife is responsible for a lot of that. As a lawyer, you can be caught up thinking that what you are doing is incredibly important, and while it is important, seeing what my wife does helping kids who are struggling to communicate find their voices keeps me grounded.
WLJ: What would you have pursued as a career if it you hadn’t become a lawyer?
Siler: I probably would have been a teacher if I was not a lawyer. I would love to have taught high school history or American politics. Those are both areas of interest. It also would have allowed me to be involved with coaching sports, which I would enjoy.
WLJ: What do you see as your biggest accomplishment?
Siler: Other than my children, which I think goes without saying, it is probably receiving a full academic scholarship to law school.
WLJ: What app can’t you live without?
Siler: Hawkeye Report. This is an Iowa Hawkeye sports app. I generally check it several times per day. I really enjoy sports and my undergrad institution is my team.
WLJ: What music gets heavy rotation on your iPod?
Siler: This one is hard because I have very eclectic musical tastes. It really depends on the day. Everything from bluegrass to ska gets heavy rotation on my iPod on any given day.
WLJ: What’s your favorite activity to do in Wisconsin?
Siler: In the summer, tailgate and attend Brewers games with my wife and kids. In the winter, downhill skiing.
WLJ: If you could live anywhere, where would it be?
Siler: In the United States, it would be San Diego, Calif. I have vacationed there before and it has always been a lot of fun. Anywhere else in the world, probably Glasgow, Scotland.
WLJ: Do you have a phrase or word that you tend to overuse?
Siler: I am sure there are many. Off the top of my head, I overuse ‘tremendous’ and ‘honestly’ a lot.