“Play ball!” and “All rise!”
Those are two phrases newly-minted attorney Aaron T. Sigal hears a lot. And he likes the sound of both.
Sigal, 25, recently joined boutique labor and employment litigation firm Pham Harrison as an associate, after graduating from Texas A&M University School of Law in 2022.
“We are thrilled to have Aaron as part of our team,” said Caroline Harrison, managing partner of Pham Harrison “His enthusiasm for developing solutions that fit a client’s needs will be a huge asset to the firm and to our clients.”
And when Sigal can, he catches a baseball game or two. Both law and baseball suit Sigal’s competitive nature.
“I have a very big heart for being competitive,” he said. “I loved it growing up. Baseball was always that thing.”
When he realized his baseball career was coming to an end, he decided on law school because it offered him a chance to take advantage of his competitive instincts.
“I think there’s two socially acceptable professions in which you could be competitive,” he said. “One is as a professional athlete. Two is law. I think I’ve seen how not only can I be competitive, but be competitive in the right ways and do it for our clients.”
‘I want to play college baseball’
A standout athlete in high school in Florida, Sigal expected to see scholarship offers from colleges, but a broken hand his senior year had him searching for a ninth-inning comeback.
Much like he did on the baseball field, he hustled, writing letters to schools across the deep South and in Texas.
“I sent to every D1, D2 school,” he said. “I got no response.”
Undaunted, he took to the phone. Sometimes he would get a human and send a video. One of those calls was to St. Edward’s University in Austin, where an assistant coach, Dave Wood, picked up the phone.
Sigal began making his case, but Wood stopped him.
Wood asked how a kid from Florida heard of St. Edward’s, a private, Catholic school of about 4,000 students.
“I told him, ‘I want to play college baseball. I love baseball with my whole heart. It’s always been my dream,’” said Sigal. “Which was true.”
Two months passed and Wood called back. St. Edward’s needed a catcher. Sigal fit the bill.
While there, Sigal and the St. Edward’s Goats won three conference championships.
Success there was a culture, Sigal said.
“I loved that about it,” he said.
Developing a strong work ethic
Sports helped introduce him to his first job, albeit in a slightly different fashion.
At 14, Sigal was out with some family friends bowling. One family friend owned a warehouse and was a bit of a gambler. By the end of the night, Sigal said he had about $30,000 he could bank, but instead he asked the family friend for a job in the warehouse.
“So for every summer, every winter break, I was in the warehouse, I was packing,” he said. “We had so much fun those summers.”
And, he notes, it was that small game of bowling that led to his first opportunity for real warehouse work.
“I think with that opportunity came even more opportunities for me to learn,” he said.
That work ethic was key when he was 17 and his father died. He was thrust into the role of helping raise his younger siblings and contributing to the household income.
“In 24 hours, I went from being a kid at 17 to be an adult, helping take care of my mom and my siblings,” he said.
As his college career at St. Edward’s drew to a close, Sigal knew baseball had taken him as far as it could. So he set his sights on the law.
Sigal always knew law was a likely career for him as his grandfather was an attorney in Florida.
“I think from a young age, I knew I wanted to go into law just because of that competitive nature of it,” he said.
Aaron T. Sigal
Came to Fort Worth: In 2019
Family: Mother, Felice, a teacher; sister, Lindsey, 27, works at the University of Vermont in their Hillel; younger brother, Jared, 23, finishing at fire academy and younger sister, Danielle, 18, senior in high school.
Education: B.A. in political science from St. Edward’s University, 2019
J.D. from Texas A&M University, 2022
First job: Working in a warehouse.
Volunteer: Antioch Fort Worth Community Church, Tarrant County Bar Association, Tarrant County Young Lawyers Association
What advice do you give people looking to be a leader?
“It’s all about the little things. All the little things that we do daily are what will lead to the results that we see. A lot of times it’s really easy and especially in baseball, to see results, to see championships, to see wins, to see those numbers. But you don’t see the time that a lot of these professionals spend in the cage. You see them perform for nine innings, but you don’t see them go under the tunnel and go to the gym for an hour at 11 p.m. after the game. And I think a lot of times you don’t see the work of an attorney until they go to trial, until they get that result, whether it’s in front of a camera or not, there is work to be done and doing those little things will add up to the result that you need for your client.”
Taking classes at St. Edward’s, where he minored in criminal justice, confirmed that law was the path he wanted to take.
“I knew I didn’t want to do criminal law, but just the intensity and the diligence that is required of being an attorney, it really just intrigued me,” he said.
‘It’s a grind, but I love every minute’
At Texas A&M School of Law, Sigal served on the executive board of the Texas A&M Journal of Property Law as the business editor, volunteered in the Tax Dispute Resolution Clinic advocating for relief from the IRS on behalf of his clients, and served as a research assistant for Dr. Jane Bolin.
He interned with Pham Harrision, as well as clerked for Judge Lee Ann Breading, 462nd Judicial District Court in Denton and Judge Paula M. Rosales, Dallas County Court at Law No. 4.
Though he is busy starting his career, Sigal works with young people trying to find their way in life at Antioch Fort Worth Community Church.
“I work with a lot of college-age students there, which I really enjoy,” he said.
Sigal does his due diligence in whatever he does, whether it’s baseball or law, he said.
“I think like in baseball, it’s an up-and-down sport. It’s a grind, but it is worth every minute,” he said.
At Pham Harrison, he focuses his practice on business litigation, labor and employment law, and real estate.
“A lot of our clients are small local businesses here at Fort Worth all the way up to Fortune 500 companies,” he said. “But we defend the top just like we defend the smaller clients. That’s something that I took from baseball every single day.”
As baseball season opens with new rules in place, Sigal will be watching.
“I’m not really a fan of some of the new rules to speed up the game,” he said. “I enjoy the pace of baseball. Some of the best games have been long games.”
But either way, he’ll be watching.
“I love the game,” he said.
Bob Francis is business editor for the Fort Worth Report. Contact him at email@example.com. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.