Starting a law firm is no small undertaking, made even more intimidating when one does not have a lot of resources or support available. This is not something that should stand in the way of anybody who genuinely wants to start a law firm. Anyone who has doubts can simply look to cutting-edge Los Angeles attorney Arash Homampour for inspiration. Homampour is a unique individual, he is instantly engaging, kind, extremely smart, and exceptionally good at what he does. He knows it is possible to build a law firm from absolutely nothing because he had less than that when he started his firm.
With no job, no money, no mentor, and a six-figure law school debt, Homampour started his law firm almost 30 years ago. Now that firm is known as one of the top personal injury firms in the nation. With over $500 million obtained for clients, Homampour knows what it takes to make it in this aggressive industry. He shares some key points of advice for those attorneys who want to start their own law firm with no prior experience, no mentor, and little to no money.
Document and Manifest Your Dreams – believe it or not, putting together a list of goals is essential to capturing and creating your ideal results. Whether they are daily or yearly things to get done, it is critical that you focus your day on what you want to accomplish that day or even manifest within five years. So, take a piece of paper or pull out your phone or tablet and start to write out what it is that you need to get done and get it done. Write out where you want to be professionally in 6 months, 5 years, and even 10 years down the line. Want your case-load to increase to 100 or decrease to 20, make that intention clear and then write out everything you need to do to get there.
Study and Reverse Engineer – look at firms you admire, then take the managing lawyer out to breakfast or lunch and ask what they did to get to where they are. You will be surprised at how accommodating and willing to share most successful people are. They recognize that giving back and helping is why they are doing what they are doing and can also be the karmic fuel for their own success.
Keep Your Eye on the Ball – first, make sure you know what the “ball” is that you are seeking. Then, keep your eyes on it and don’t lose sight. The game is not about what is going on in the stands, but what is happening on the court. Be always on the court and not simply in the stands.
Cut Out Toxic People and Thinking – One easy way to dilute your power is to have toxic family, friends, or employees around fertilizing negativity in your head and space. Surround yourself with humans that support you and your visions; people that will hold you accountable to whatever bigs you are up to and vice-versa.
Say “Yes” to Things that Serve Your Goals and “No” to Everything Else – write down on a piece of paper the top 5 things you are committed to and only do those activities and opportunities that further those 5. It can be hard to say “no” to requests that flatter your ego or that satisfy the need to be liked. But, saying “no” can be infinitely more powerful than saying “yes”; especially, when there are just so many hours in your day.
Get Out of Your Own Way – Always view anything that happens as something you have the power over and lose the victim mentality. There is no one in your way. The only one in the way of your own greatness, is you. Only you have the power to make things happen. Lose any story line (or your past) that justifies mediocrity or failure. Ask how long is this story going to run me and who I be.
Reinvest – Do not take your earnings to fund a lifestyle. Reinvest them to hire competent staff and to fund better outcomes and better cases.
Take Care of Yourself – You are of no value to anyone if you are not the best version of yourself – physically and mentally healthy.
Hire People Who Care and Love What They Do – You do not need to hire someone from an Ivy League school or even someone with extensive credentials. Rather, hire people who care, love what they do and are eager to learn. The children of immigrants are many times good hires because they know and respect the struggle. There are many potential employees who are just waiting for someone to give them the opportunity and space to shine.
Never Quit – Drive and determination will take someone extremely far and are essential to starting a successful law firm with little to nothing. Have the drive to keep going, no matter what, to not give up, and be determined to succeed. Homampour recounts how at one point he took on every single case that came through his door and followed each one all the way through because that is what he had to do to pay the bills and get experience.
Running a Business and Practicing Law Take Different Skills – Wanting to be a lawyer who is kind and generous as well as an impressive trial attorney does not mean one knows how to run a business. Just getting cases and winning them is not enough; a business needs to be managed, it needs to have a record of income, costs, etc. So, either spend time learning how to manage a business, or hire someone who has the talent or expertise to do it for you.
Know Your Limitations and Weaknesses – Know what you are good at and know your limitations in business, and learn how you promote yourself for what you are good at. Do not be dishonest, or pretend you know an area of the law you do not. Stick to what you are good at, and then be the absolute best at it.
Master Your Practice – There is no substitute for hard work, and it takes hard work to become a master in whatever you do. You must become an expert in whatever area of law you practice. So, put in the hours necessary to know the topic better than everyone in the room with “better” not necessarily knowing more but being able to teach the topic in a way that everyone understands and connects with. Once you have mastered the topic, then you will be free to organically address any issues that come up. Homampour puts it simply as “It takes a lot of hard work and studying to get to that place of zen.”
In his personal time, Homampour is a well-known techno DJ, music producer, record label owner, and philanthropist through his non-profit There is a Light Foundation, which gives financial assistance and grants to individuals so they can get to the next level in their life. Learn more about Arash Homampour on his website, you can also connect with him on social media to access the many articles and videos he has shared with advice about the practice of law.