Law Firm Committed to Creating “Employers of Choice”

By Tim Linden M ike Saqui grew up the son of a union organizer in heavily-unionized New Jersey expecting that someday he would come back home and help union members take back control of their union from less- than-ethical leaders. Instead, after graduating from a California law school, he met a labor lawyer named Tom Nassif who directed him to a career working on the management side of the negotiating table. “I’m still helping workers by working with companies and helping them be the best employer they can be. It’s all part of our ‘Employer of Choice’ program.” Saqui’s road to his career path is pretty straightforward. He grew up in Bergen County, just across the Washington Bridge from New York City. His father and brothers were Teamsters and he had a Teamster card as well from local 560. But he had no illusions that the union was being run solely for the good of the workers. “We all knew growing up what was going on with the Teamsters and the corruption that was in the leadership. From early on, I knew I would be in the union movement. I always thought I would come back and help the Teamsters for a Democratic Union take back their union. I was naïve to think they were less corrupt.” After high school, Saqui headed to Wisconsin and Marquette University. As a member of an Italian/Irish community, it was a natural choice. From there he moved further west to San Diego to get his law degree at California Western School of

Law. He kept his union card through law school working as a “casual” to qualify for benefits and pay his way through college. “I knew the system and I gamed it. I worked just enough to accumulate enough days to get benefits.” It was as he was graduating in 1990 that he met Nassif, who had just completed a three-year stint as ambassador to Morocco. “His nephew was a law school classmate of mine. In those days employment law was very big. Tom Nassif steered me to Ron Barsamian, who hired me on Labor Day 1990.”

At the time, Saqui’s current girlfriend and future wife was working for the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office and was not keen on moving from San Diego to the Central Valley. And, in fact, she didn’t follow him right away. But Saqui was convinced. The day he met Barsamian, the Fresno lawyer was on the other side of picket line representing management. “I knew I wanted to work with him.” Barsamian hired Saqui in 1990 and made him a partner three years later. The two remained partners until 2007 when Saqui broke away and formed his own firm—the Saqui Law Group. He continues to have a huge amount of respect for his mentor and partner. “Big boy Ron taught me everything I know. He is a special person in my life and will always be so. He and I still have a very close friendship. It was just time for me to leave the teacher.” The Saqui Law Group grew quickly, eventually having offices in both Roseville and Sacramento, with a staff ranging from about four to 11 people, depending on various circumstances. “We have had a 20 percent increase in revenues every year since we started. Right now I have eight lawyers. We are typically in the eight to 10 range.” He believes his “Employer of Choice” program is great for workers and employers. “Clients sign on knowing that our goal is to make them a better employer.” He added that employees have choice so he sees two big reasons to become an Employer of Choice. “You’re doing the

38   Western Grower & Shipper | www.wga.com   SEPTEMBER | OCTOBER 2019

Made with FlippingBook - Online Brochure Maker