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Alumna Rene Sigman Uses Advocacy Skills for Most Important ‘Case’ of her life

Home Law School News Alumna Rene Sigman Uses Advocacy Skills for Most Important ‘Case’ of her life

When Rene Sigman ’02 learned her 9-year-old son Blake had cancer in 2015, she had no idea the advocacy skills she learned at South Texas and honed as a litigator would become so valuable in her personal life.

Blake’s diagnosis of rare and aggressive stage-4 lymphoma led Sigman into an unwanted crash course in medications, hospital procedures, transplant lists and insurance battles.

“After Blake’s relapse, he ended up back in the hospital,” Sigman said. “I had to fight to get him on a non FDA-approved drug that the insurance wouldn’t cover. I knew I would have to pay for it and fight the insurance carrier along the way.”

Sigman, Of Counsel at Williams Hart Boundas Easterby LLC, knows her tenacity and background in advocacy helped save her son’s life. While greatly relieved that Blake is now cancer-free, she recognized a bigger issue while going through all the medical challenges: many other sick children didn’t have the advantage of an experienced advocate to fight for their best interests with insurance companies, doctors and hospitals.

Since her family’s experience, Sigman has made it a high priority to help others in similar situations. In addition to her work as the head of litigation in Texas at a plaintiff law firm, Sigman serves as a family advisor for Texas Children’s Hospital and is a board member of Be the Match Foundation, which is the national organization in the U.S. in charge of finding, funding and researching stem cell and bone marrow transplants. Be The Match also helped facilitate her son’s bone marrow transplant.

“There’s a whole village that lives in these hospitals that we don’t think about day-to-day,” Sigman said. “There are children who don’t leave hospitals for years. I won the fight for my son, but I knew some children didn’t have a parent who could effectively navigate these types of situations. Now I advocate for others who don’t have the same training.”

In addition to her experience-based learning in advocacy while at STCL Houston, Sigman later served three years as an adjunct professor, teaching Mock Trial Litigation under the leadership of the late South Texas Advocacy Director and Associate Dean T. Gerald Treece. “Who would have thought my journey in advocacy through the law school would come full circle?” Sigman said. “My work is important, but my service in the community is also very meaningful to me. I’m truly happiest when I’m giving back.”

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