Christina Stueve Hodges Nov. 26, 2012, 8:56am

At 32 years of age, Edwardsville attorney Todd Sivia is well on his way to achieving a goal of heading a leading area law firm and being the "go-to" attorney for area businesses.

Sivia, who operates Sivia Business and Legal Services, has a staff of three attorneys, two paralegals and a marketing manager - all focusing on business, real estate and estate planning. His office is located on the heavily traveled Main Street in in an older, red, two-story brick home with wood floors, a conference room, ample office space and rear parking.

He describes the secret to his success as being honest with his clients, fulfilling needs and working hard.

Sivia said he decided to become a lawyer after observing how Alton attorney Jim Sinclair helped his father separate from a former business partner. He said he was attracted to the field of law by seeing an honest attorney help two people work out a problem and come up with a solution.

His father, Wayne Sivia, owns and operates Royal Office Products in Alton.

“The attorney was able to work out the differences and split up the two partners,” he said, as opposed to using forced legal action.

“The way he handled it showed me it wasn’t all about litigation. It was about working out problems. There’s a strong need for business attorneys."

Sivia describes himself as a plaintiff and a defense attorney.

“I want to be considered their trusted legal counsel,” he said. “I may work with other attorneys who handle that case for me. We sit down and try to find attorneys to best suit their needs."

Occasionally, he said he uses the help of other attorneys to help clients.

“It’s team lawyering versus just sending them off,” he said. “With that, my firm expands...I have attorneys that come in who do bankruptcy work.”

Before he started his own venture, Sivia worked for another local law firm for a year and a half.

“There’s always a sense of security with working for someone else," he said. "I’ve always been a risk taker."

Sivia said he had the opportunity to clerk for the Jefferson County State’s Attorney’s Office in Mount Vernon, where he assisted in a capital murder case “People vs. Cecil Sutherland.”

He also worked as a law clerk for the Madison County State’s Attorney’s Office and as a clerk for Charter Communications.

“I liked trial work," he said. "The trial work was one of the coolest things. Working on a capital murder case was once-in-a-lifetime."

Sivia cites his time as a featured speaker at the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Transgender Bar Association 2011 conference as one of his accomplishments.

Scholarships from the Edwardsville Rotary Club and Shelter Insurance allowed Sivia graduate debt-free with his degree in business from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville. He finished his legal studies at St. Louis University in 2004.

Sivia is married and has three children. He graduated from Alton High School and now lives with his family in Edwardsville.

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