Senior Associate Attorney
The Samuel N. Hecsh Window on the Working World of Law
Intro: Read about how a successful lawyer living in a small West Virginia town, but working for a large law firm, handles the complexities of reading the fine print on legal documents, transportation, activities with the state legislature and a great hobby.
The Story: I am Davin L. Seamon, a Senior Associate Attorney in the Clarksburg, West Virginia office of Steptoe & Johnson PLLC, a regional law firm with six offices across the State of West Virginia and one in Columbus, Ohio. My legal career began as a business lawyer at Steptoe & Johnson PLLC almost seven years ago, and I concentrate and develop my business practice primarily in real estate transactions, mineral law, commercial transactions, business formation and governance, intellectual property, and e-commerce and technology law. Commercial real estate closings, commercial leasing, complex multi-tract transactions, title insurance, and mineral ownership and development are some of the numerous aspects of real estate law in which I work. My experience runs the gamut from assisting single families in purchasing their first home to helping large developers acquire thousands of acres comprised of hundreds of individual parcels; from helping local businesses sell their assets to assisting large publishing clients in acquiring additional mastheads and other assets.
My day-to-day work activities vary significantly. I work from my office the majority of the time, drafting real estate title opinion reports, contracts, agreements, title insurance commitments, and deeds; however, I also travel to county clerks' offices near and far to perform title examinations. A title examination is a process by which one ascertains the current ownership of real estate interests, both surface and minerals, and determines what issues affect such ownership. I also regularly manage other lawyers and staff working on large title projects and work closely with many types of firm clients, from large corporations to individuals.
I am also an albino, with a visual acuity of 20/200. Thus, I often utilize accommodations to perform tasks at work more adeptly and efficiently. Transportation is a primary concern. Clarksburg is a very small city. Thus, quality public transportation is extremely limited. I live a very short distance from my office, and ride a Segway Human Transporter to work each day. I also use the Segway to travel around town. When I must travel out of town to a county clerk's office to do a real estate title or attend a meeting, I often rely on other lawyers, paralegals, or our firm couriers for transportation. To assist me in reviewing documents and real estate surveys in and out of the office, I use both a globe-shaped magnifier and an Enhanced Vision Amigo Personal Magnifier. The Amigo has opened a whole new world of visual possibilities for me! Although I have only been using it less than a year, I can no longer imagine practicing law without it! I am very fortunate to have an understanding and supportive employer that recognizes my need for accommodations and readily provides them.
My wife and I, together with a coalition comprised of ophthalmologists, other low-vision professionals, and interested constituents, are currently working with members of the West Virginia legislature to enact a bioptic driving statute. While many of the states surrounding West Virginia have been conducting bioptic driving programs for some time, West Virginia has failed on several occasions to pass such a bill. However, I believe that the Mountain State now possesses an unprecedented level of expertise on the topic, as one of the world's leading experts on bioptic driving, Dr. William Park, now practices at the West Virginia University Eye Institute. Given this synergy, I am hopeful that the bill will pass soon and I will be able to drive in the near future, thus becoming a more effective and involved spouse, parent, and lawyer.
In addition to practicing law, I am also a professional musician and songwriter. In fact I often joke, as does one of my fellow lawyers, that I practice law to support my music habit. Currently, I play keyboards in jazz quartets and trios, as well as in a vocal duo with my wife. In the past, I have performed live and as a studio musician in various genres, including jazz, rock, alternative, and country, as well as produced numerous album projects for local and regional artists. My compositions have been featured on many albums and in promotional videos and other marketing materials for the United Way of Harrison County, West Virginia. I'm also the Vice President of Blues Alley Records and Publishing, a small regional record label and music publisher based in Morgantown, West Virginia. In my opinion, my visual impairment has greatly contributed to my proficiency as a musician, by forcing me to be more attuned in the auditory realm and more sensitive to perceiving subtle sonic nuances. With an active law practice and family life, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find time to make music. Nonetheless, I value performing, writing, and recording music far too much to give it up!
My advice for anyone considering a career in the law, first and foremost, is to be certain that it is what you want to do. Law school is one of the most difficult endeavors one will ever undertake, and devoting the requisite amount of time to suitably develop your law practice can be daunting. Periods of long hours and late nights occur frequently. Thus, try to work in the legal field prior to law school to get a glimpse inside this world. Other necessary attributes for successful law practice include superlative writing and oral communications skills, an unwavering work ethic, and keen attention to detail. While the practice of law often seems like an insurmountable challenge, it can also be extremely rewarding, posturing its practitioners for community and political leadership positions. It is not just a job; it is a way of life.
The Contact: Davin Seamon
The American Foundation for the Blind is pleased to present "The Samuel N. Hecsh Window on the Working World of Law," funded by the Samuel N. Hecsh Fund at the American Foundation for the Blind. A new article in memory of Mr. Hecsh appears annually.
After losing his vision, Mr. Hecsh attended law school—with some help from a scholarship from AFB—and had a satisfying career. Feeling he could not continue his previous employment, he met with many lawyers who were blind and attributed his success as a blind attorney in part to his encouragement from these mentors. We thank his wife, Muriel O'Reilly, and daughters, Janet and Caitlin Hecsh, for choosing to honor his memory in this special way. The Samuel N. Hecsh Window on the Working World of Law is designed to encourage other people experiencing vision loss to choose to enter the field of law.