Scott Silberman (’01), a founding partner of the firm Silberman & Lam, is a Certified Specialist in Workers’ Compensation and is recognized by the Department of Industrial Relations – Division of Workers Compensation as an arbitrator. He has experience representing both injured workers, as well as employers and insurance companies, but now exclusively represents injured workers and their dependents.
Coming from a family of workers compensation attorneys, and his father being a retired workers’ compensation judge, Scott has grown up with workers’ compensation. Scott has written numerous law review articles and lectured to bar associations regarding changes in workers compensation law. He also maintains an Avvo superb rating of 10/10.
Why did you choose Western State?
I chose Western State as it was a convenient school for me, and I was able to continue working as a part-time student. Also, knowing that a large portion of Orange County attorneys had graduated from the school, I knew it was well-known in the community.
Western State allowed me to take a medical malpractice class with a few doctors who could describe the procedures that we were reading about in-depth and the claimed mistakes that were made. There were some benefits that you really don’t appreciate unless you are there.
Did you participate in any student organizations or competition teams at Western State?
While at Western State I was on Law Review and in my last year I served as the Executive Editor.
Is there a specific experience with a Western State professor that you can recall that had a profound impact on your life and success?
I have to say that one thing that you learn from school is how to perform with different professors and different expectations. This is very similar to working with different judges. Many judges want things presented in a different way or a different form, and this is a very important skill to have.
How did Western State help you accomplish your career and life goals? How did it open doors?
My law degree has been the driving factor in my life. It allowed me to start a profession that I love. The area I am in, Workers Compensation, is one that I did not think I would enjoy as much as I do. I am lucky to have a practice with my wife, Sheryl Lam. We actually met through another Western State student (although it was years after I left Western State), so I can say that I owe not just my career, but my family to Western State.
What success are you most proud of and why?
I am most proud of establishing our Subsequent Injury Benefit Trust Fund (SIBTF) practice. This is an area of workers compensation that assists injured workers who have pre-existing injuries get additional funds from the State of California. These people often have injuries that when combined with their work injury, will put them in a situation where they will never work again. This allows them to get funds to be independent and become less reliant on their families for benefits.
What do you like most about the practice of law?
I like bringing a smile to the faces of my clients. Whether it is getting a surgery approved that we have been fighting for or getting them benefits from the Subsequent Injury Benefit Trust Fund that will last their lifetime – it is the thank you and the smile that I enjoy the most.
What do you like least about the practice of law?
It is a job that lives with you 24/7. We worry about our client’s wellbeing. It is an important factor in being a good advocate, however it can wear on you at times.
What advice would you offer to current students?
Keep an open mind on what you want to go into. There are so many areas of the law that you have never even heard of.
What advice would you offer to Western State alumni just entering the practice?
Always give 100%, if you don’t like the area that you are in, find something else. There are so many areas of the law that you can be involved in, there is no reason to be “stuck” in something, or a position you don’t like.
Would you like to share anything else?
One area often overlooked by attorneys is referrals. It is important when you represent clients to be able to refer them to other attorneys in different areas. In some cases, it may not be other areas but in your own area as well. In our area, Workers Compensation, we get referrals from other attorneys who do not handle SIBTF cases, as well as referrals in other fields. Another benefit in California is that we are allowed to pay referral fees to other attorneys who identify issues and refer cases. Referrals can be very beneficial to your clients as well as your law practice.