Maglio Christopher & Toale PA, partner
Ilyas Sayeg describes the type of law he practices as the kind you see in the movies.
The plot goes something like this: People get hurt by a giant corporation and a determined lawyer goes up against the company, fighting for the rights of the little guy.
The average person might be scared to put up a fight against a multibillion-dollar corporation. Sayeg is not.
After college, Sayeg worked in advertising briefly before realizing he wanted to be a lawyer. Once he graduated from law school, he went to work for Maglio Christopher & Toale PA, at the firm’s Sarasota office. He was promoted to partner in late 2019.
His practice focuses on representing people who have been injured by defective hip implants, and he’s also getting involved in consumer protection cases related to drugs. “It was my dream job,” Sayeg says. “I can’t believe I found it in my hometown. We’re a national leader in this space, and I get to be part of these big fights. I couldn’t have possibly dreamed of a better career for me and a better landing spot.”
Having empathy and communicating well with his clients is crucial in his work, and Sayeg says growing up in a multicultural household helped with that. “We all moved here from Turkey when I was little,” he says. “Now as I’m dealing with people coming from different backgrounds or experiences, it helps me communicate.”
Sayeg, overall, says he’s driven by a desire for justice. That could come in the form of money for clients who have suffered or making a company realize it needs to be more careful in the development of devices and drugs. It could also come in the form of making the FDA rethink the way it regulates.
Sayeg has found that during these battles, corporations do everything they can to protect themselves, just like they do on the silver screen. “I didn’t expect in real life going up against big companies to be like it is in the movies, and when I see that, it angers me, and I want to keep fighting and keep beating them and make sure the games don’t work,” he says. “The issues should be decided based on who is right and who is wrong — not who is able to manipulate the system in their favor.”
City of Residence
Maglio Christopher & Toale, PA
Years on the Gulf Coast
Florida State University — Bachelor of Science; University of Miami — Juris Doctor
What community group or organization are you most involved with?
Sarasota County Bar Association's Council for Diversity and Inclusion
What's the weirdest job you've ever had?
Recorded a voice over for a PC self-help series.
What's your top tip for being productive?
I'm old school: I like to have an old-fashioned to-do list that I write with a real pen. On real paper. There's something about physically writing out your goals and then, even better, actually drawing a line through them when you finish, that gives a sense of not only organization but also reward.
If you could have a side hustle, what would it be?
What's your favorite off-hours activity?
Kayaking. I love being on the water and exploring the mangroves.
What's your favorite board game, game show or video game?
Cranium for sure. It's basically a combination of all the fun board games rolled into one. Bring on the humdingers.
What’s your go-to delivery service? (DoorDash, Uber Eats, GrubHub, Bite Squad, etc.)
Is it bad that I've never used one?
What do you use most — Zoom, Skype, Microsoft Teams or Google Meetings?
Zoom. All day. My firm has been using it for years after struggling with the other services. I'm a huge fan.
What’s the best binge-worthy show you have enjoyed during the pandemic?
I'm going back through "Breaking Bad" now. It is absolutely the best show ever made.
What’s the longest virtual meeting you’ve been on since mid-March?
Well, recently I just did an entire trial on Zoom. That took from roughly 8:30 a.m. until about 4:30 p.m.
How many times had you used video for a work meeting prior to the pandemic?
Quite often. My office had already switched to Zoom for our phone systems. With offices in Sarasota, D.C. and Seattle, we use it often for meetings between the offices.
What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned during the pandemic?
To always make sure you own a comfortable lawn chair. From beaches to campsites to Friday happy hour on your driveway chatting with neighbors on their driveways, a comfortable lawn chair was critical.
What do you miss most about the world pre-pandemic?
I miss being able to just interact with family and friends without thinking about how careful I need to be.
What have you been spending more time doing during the pandemic?
Enjoying nature was my way of dealing with the isolation. I have a decent mountain bike and finally used it for what it was intended by finding some good off-road trails to explore. I bought a kayak and explored all through the intercoastal waterways. Hiked some trails in various parks. It was nice to remember what a beautiful state we live in and that there's so much to do even if we had to be isolated.
Do you prefer working from home or working from an office?
I enjoy the flexibility of being able to work from home if necessary but absolutely prefer the office. I miss the social aspects of office culture.
How have you kept up camaraderie with colleagues during the pandemic?
Hate to keep saying it, but Zoom is the answer here as well. From virtual happy hours to conferences, all of my otherwise in person interactions have switched to remote video meetings.
What’s the first thing you’ll do after the pandemic?