Meet Hicham Chiali of Coats Rose, P.C. a true global citizen who was born outside the United States and has lived in New Orleans, Houston, and Dallas.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am an Algerian American. I was born in Algeria but raised in the States. I spent the majority of my childhood in New Orleans and Houston. I went to high school in Sugar Land and attended the University of Houston where I majored in Finance. After that, I went to law school in Dallas at SMU and moved to Houston after graduation.
Growing up in very diverse communities is something I will always be grateful for because it allowed me to learn from so many unique backgrounds. As an immigrant myself, it was comforting to know that there were other families and whole communities that love to share their culture and customs.
I work for Coats Rose in Houston, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to work at a firm that encourages expanding your knowledge by any means necessary. My colleagues are all brilliant attorneys, each one brings a unique perspective and insight on how to tackle problems and are consistently striving to give our clients and the districts we represent the best experience and legal advice.
When did you first become interested in law?
I think it started when I slowly started to realize in high school just how complex and vast encompassing the law is. It touches on every aspect of our lives whether we know it or not, and whether we like to admit it or not. Just having the knowledge of how each system works and how laws are shaped to affect that system was enough to draw me in.
What inspired you to join NABL this year?
A few colleagues of mine are members of NABL, and they spoke of the abundance of resources and knowledge it had to offer. As a young attorney, it would only hurt me professionally if I didn’t seek any opportunity to increase my knowledge. NABL holds interesting and informative events every year that discuss topics that are relevant to my field of work.
A couple of years ago you graduated from law school. What advice would you give to a current law student who wants to pursue a career in public finance?
Start learning about it now. I mean, start learning about it from a big-picture point of view. Once you understand the purpose, and this goes for any type of law, you pick up on the nuances much faster. You start to put together the pieces of the puzzle with the more knowledge you acquire.
And also, be open to everything. Whether that’s constructive feedback, opinions, and advice from anyone at your firm and outside, no matter the position of that person, or open to taking on more responsibility. Just be receptive and it can lead you to success.
Which book and/or podcasts have you enjoyed and would recommend to others?
I like to read a myriad of different genres when it comes to books. From mythology and cosmic horror to murder mystery and historical biographies, it’s truly never endless. I do recommend everyone commit to reading 30 pages a week. Even if it’s 30 pages of a magazine you’re interested in, just commit and you will be rewarded tenfold.
As far as podcasts, i) the Daily and ii) Stuff You Should Know are among my favorites. Oh, and the Fantasy Footballers Podcast when it’s fantasy football time.