On Choosing Law and the Right Law Firm: Meet Michael S. Urcuyo
It’s not every day that you uncover a workplace that “feels like home since day one,” but that was how attorney Michael S. Urcuyo felt when he was hired at Goldberg Segalla in 2019.
Michael knew that he wanted to be a lawyer from a very young age. One of his favorite pastimes as an early teen was arguing. Not arguing just because he liked the competition, but he enjoyed the discovery process of putting the pieces of an argument together to state his case.
Michael was drawn to GS because instead of needing the largest book of business, the team was looking for something unique—“a genuinely nice human being,” he said.
Michael vividly recalled his first year as an associate in Middlesex County and coming to the realization that he was the only Hispanic male attorney in the room. “Every single other attorney was a white, older gentlemen and I’m talking about a room of about 40 attorneys.”
He went on to say, “Goldberg Segalla practices what they preach. In terms of diversity and inclusion, they do a really great job of making everyone feel at home. I like the cultural representation that they have.”
He explained that diversity brings different perspectives to the table, and without a focus on diversity in the legal industry, every attorney’s thought process and every firm would be the same. Who wants to live in world where everyone has the same point of view? That would be especially dull for someone who likes a good debate, like Michael.
In his spare time, Michael teaches students how to play chess. Though there is plenty to learn about the actual game, you can also learn a valuable lesson for everyday life. Michael’s advice, “If you make a move without thinking, you’ve already lost. I think that’s so applicable in life because you are moving 1,000 miles an hour, but you’re not stopping to think, why am I making this move?” Simply taking the time to pause and gather your thoughts will help to ensure that you stay on track and keep your end goal in mind.
Back in the office, having a solid team and network is important to Michael. He was thrilled to highlight the support staff, practice group leaders, and colleagues that he works with daily. “It is a privilege to work with the individuals I get to work with. I am very lucky.”
He shared that mentors have been instrumental throughout his career. Strong women like Esther Omoloyin, the honorable Kimberly Maloney, and former GS attorney Elizabeth Adekunle, just to name a few.
Since graduating Rutgers School of Law, J.D. in 2016, Michael has mentored a few associates on his own. His best pro tip is straight to the point: “you don’t know what you don’t know.” Stay curious, always ask questions, and make new connections so you can continue to learn.
The last bit of advice he shared? Show up every day and be the best version of yourself because, “that’s the highest greatness you can achieve.”