When Jon Levitt refers to his colleagues at Outside GC as a team of highly accomplished, “rock star” attorneys, he is only half-joking. The collective talent of the firm’s 60 lawyers is certainly a point of pride for Levitt and his co-founder and managing partner, Bill Stone. However, when used to describe the career achievements of long-time member, Lew Segal, nothing could seem more fitting.
In August, at the age of 81, Lew published his first novel, With All Due Respect, which he began writing two years earlier “to fill the hours previously spent on billable client work,” said Segal. Although Lew still practices as part-time general counsel for a number of Outside GC’s clients, the demands on his time are a far cry from the days of his corporate law practice, which he started in 1960 after graduating from Yale Law School.
No one was surprised by his latest accomplishment, except maybe Lew himself. “I had no expectations of publishing this work,” remarked Segal, adding “it was as if I had caught lightening in a bottle” when he met a professional editor while traveling with his wife, Shirley. Lew shared a copy of his manuscript with the editor, who immediately deemed it worthy of sharing with a friend in the publishing business. Lew signed with Leapfolio, an imprint of Tupelo Press, shortly thereafter.
Notwithstanding his own humility, Lew’s colleagues would have expected nothing less. “Lew is a wise and insightful contributor to any endeavor,” noted Bill Stone, “and we are incredibly fortunate to have him on our team.” Lew joined Outside GC in 2005, three years after his mandatory retirement from the law firm where he spent a good part of his career. In addition to private practice, Lew also has executive leadership experience, having served as President, CEO and de facto General Counsel at an industrial company (with over 2,000 employees) for over six years.
In With All Due Respect, Lew explores important issues of ethics and conscience that can arise in the course of a legal career, affecting fundamental relationships within it. The novel is set in 1974 at a New York City law firm where the main character, Michael Cullen, is a partner. On the anniversary of D-Day, Michael finds himself in a casual conversation with his fellow partners, when one of them remarks that the United States had made a catastrophic mistake in failing to ally itself with Nazi Germany during World War II. The implications of this comment set the stage for Segal to examine the damaging effects of institutionalized bigotry and the challenges of representing a reprehensible client.
Lew is now eagerly involved in the promotion of his book, including book readings, signings and social media marketing. Like everything he does, Lew approaches this challenge with not only determination and skill, but also a quiet confidence that comes from years of experience and a genuine love of life and its many adventures.
Lew lives in a suburb of Hartford, Connecticut with Shirley, his wife of 57 years. They have two grown children and two grandchildren in college. Over the years, Lew has been a leader in virtually every aspect of Jewish life in the greater Hartford area. He is currently working on his second novel, which has nothing to do with the law or lawyers. His colleagues eagerly await its release.