Sebastian West’s favorite word is vermilion, the vibrant hue of reddish-orange seen just before the sun sets below the horizon. Chatoyancy is next, which describes the way light is reflected off a stone or gem. There is also crepuscular, insouciant, and intransigent. These are just a few of the terms that Sebastian keeps in what can be described as a word garden on his phone. The more Pat Conroy he reads, the more words he adds to the list, and when the opportunity presents itself, he plucks one out and transplants it directly into conversation, or in an email depending on the situation. To Sebastian, words matter.
“Words can be evocative,” Sebastian said. “They are important because they can define you. They can help you understand things more clearly. For example, you’re not just angry or frustrated, you’re vexed. You’re not happy, you’re elated. The gold necklace isn’t shiny, it’s lustrous.”
Sometimes, in conversation, Sebastian will pause to find you the perfect word. You can tell when he enters his word garden because his eyes search upward in reflection. It only takes a moment, but you’ll know he found one when his gaze reconnects, and then serves it to you on a platter like a gift. Hearing the perfect word at the perfect time can be dazzling, or coruscating, depending on who you are talking to. During our conversation, you could almost hear the ta-da when Sebastian apologized for being esoteric on a matter. How does one gain such finesse with words? Well, Sebastian is a trained performer, after all.
Born and raised in Omaha, Nebraska, Sebastian remembers the ballet company that came to his elementary school. Inspired by their performance, Sebastian started dance classes, and pirouetted through high school and beyond, all the way into an audition for the Cincinnati Ballet, where he earned a spot in the second company. From there he danced for two seasons.
“Ballet is challenging because everything has to be perfect for it to work, and it’s such an aesthetic art form. A 30-degree angle and a 45-degree angle makes all the difference. If you’re not perfectly on the ball of your foot, and if your ankle is not over it, and if your knee is not over your ankle, and if your hips are not over your knee, and if your back is not over your hips — you are going to fall. You have to be perfectly stacked in every position.”
The drive for perfection certainly has taught Sebastian a thing or two about discipline and commitment, especially when you take the six hours of rehearsal per day into consideration. But it
all pays off after the show when everything goes perfectly. Sebastian describes that flawless finish as the, “intoxicating moment of dance.”
If you ask Sebastian how one transitions from professional dance to law, his answer is simple.
“I’m a multifaceted person, and with that comes the potential to be successful at many things. I love the arts, but I also like to be in a corporate setting, working on really difficult projects with a team. I can do two things that may seem different on a career spectrum, but I don’t have to give up one for the other.”
And why should he? A litigator is on a stage of sorts when he argues his case, and a dancer is bound by the laws of gravity when he moves. For Sebastian, the intersection is seamless. Both
demand commitment. Each instill discipline. One would have to be hopelessly intransigent to disagree.
Sebastian West is a member of the Firm’s Creditors' Rights Practice Group, where his practice focuses on bankruptcy, loan workouts, and creditors’ rights. Prior to joining Graydon, Sebastian spent time dancing with the Cincinnati Ballet’s Second Company. After dancing, Sebastian moved to New York to work in operations.
In 2022, Sebastian earned his J.D. from the University of Cincinnati College of Law and has a B.A. in Natural Sciences from Fordham University. While in law school, Sebastian was a legal intern with UC’s Entrepreneurship and Community Development Clinic and a representative for the Student Bar Association.
In his free time, Sebastian enjoys dancing, visiting museums, and trying new recipes.