Brothers in Law

The Siebens carry on a family tradition

Published in 2009 Minnesota Rising Stars Magazine — December 2009

Jeffrey and Thomas Sieben are sitting across from each another at a large conference table. “This is the first time we’ve spoken in years,” Tom says. They look at each other, burst out laughing and Jeff shakes his head. “We live across the street from each other,” he says.

The brothers are close, and not just because of the proximity of their homes. Jeff, two years older than his brother, recently became a father for the first time; he named his son Benjamin Thomas. 

Jeff, a personal injury lawyer with Sieben, Grose, Von Holtum & Carey, and Tom, a criminal defense lawyer at Sieben Law Office, are third-generation attorneys, preceded by their grandfather Harry and their father Harry Jr. And there are even more lawyers in the Sieben family, too, including three uncles who practice personal injury law. “We had a very unique upbringing,” says Tom. “We were around law all the time. It really gave us an advantage.” When the brothers would have a day off from school, their father would often bring them to the office. There was plenty of shop talk at the dinner table. 

However, they were never pushed to be lawyers. “We came to it on our own,” says Jeff. But not before exploring other career options first. Though Tom went to law school, he did so with plans of becoming a politician. When it came time to run for office, however, he was already working as a criminal defense lawyer and didn’t want to stop. “Being a lawyer is my primary passion,” he says.

Jeff had a similarly twisty path to the law. After graduating from St. John’s University, he taught English to seventh- through 11th-graders in Bucaramanga, Colombia. “I respected [my father’s career], but I wanted to try other options,” he says. “I studied government, but I enjoyed teaching.”

For both brothers, the motivation to work in government, teach and ultimately become lawyers stems from a desire to help people. “But it’s important to make some time to get out from behind the desk” and out into nature, says Tom. “We [recently] canoed down the Big Fork River. I was in the back paddling and my brother was in the front hunting for deer on shore.” 

As for the newest Sieben, Jeff isn’t worried about Benjamin becoming a lawyer. “I’m going to provide the chance at other options,” he says, “like I got when I was growing up.”

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