Hosted by Attorney Louis Goodman
Nov. 3, 2021

Arash Homampour - Southwestern

Arash Homampour - Southwestern

lovethylawyer.com

A transcript of this podcast is easily available at lovethylawyer.com.

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 https://www.homampour.com/

Arash Homampour is a trial lawyer and founder of The Homampour Law Firm, a nine lawyer firm that represents individuals in catastrophic injury/wrongful death, employment and insurance bad faith matters throughout the State. The Homampour Law Firm is considered one of the top trial law firms in the State with record setting verdicts (twelve 8 figure and fifteen 7 figure verdicts) along with many outlier settlements. His firm has taken on the biggest and most formidable of Defendants, including Volkswagen, Lamborghini, Toyota, Nissan, Sunbeam Products, the State of California, Costco Stores, Farmers Insurance Exchange, Allstate Insurance, Daimler Trucks of North America, and Louisville Ladder. His verdicts and his firm’s settlements are routinely considered to be outlier and record setting.

His firm specializes in what they call “Underdog” or “David v. Goliath” litigation where they represent one individual client that is taking on a public entity, large employer, industry or manufacturer in an effort to change and/or stop unlawful or unsafe conduct for the good of others and the community. They are frequently involved in litigation that involves multiple defendants and multiple law firms with unlimited resources.  While also a last-minute trial firm, they also handle cases from intake to trial and through appeals (including the California Supreme Court.)

In 2021, he was the 5th ranked lawyer in Southern California by Super Lawyers in all practice areas. He was previously named one of the top 30 Plaintiff lawyers in the State by the Los Angeles Daily Journal. He was the recipient of the Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles 2018 Ted Horn Memorial Award, presented to the lawyer who has provided outstanding service to the Association and the legal community. He also received trial attorney of the year awards from the Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles, the Orange County Trial Lawyers Association and the Ventura County Trial Lawyers the Association. In 2007, he was named one of the Top 20 Attorneys Under the Age of 40 by the Los Angeles Daily Journal.

 

 Louis Goodman
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Transcript

Louis Goodman  

Hello and welcome to Love Thy Lawyer where we talk to real lawyers about their lives in and out of the practice of law, how they got to be lawyers, and what their experiences have been. I’m Louis Goodman, the host of the show and yes, I'm a lawyer. Nobody's perfect. 

 

He specializes in underdog litigation. He is the David taking on the Goliath of industry, government and insurance. He is considered one of the most effective trial lawyers in the state, a super lawyer with multiple seven and eight figure verdicts and settlements. He's been featured on CNN, The Law Flip podcast, and Settlement Nation, among others. He has successfully argued in front of the California Supreme Court. He has numerous professional awards and honors. Arash Homampour, welcome to Love Thy Lawyer.

 

Arash Homampour  

Thank you for having me. Sounds like a pretty cool dude, you were just introduced, I hope I can live up to that. 

 

Louis Goodman  

Don't worry about it. Don't try and tell my audience that you're not the superstar that you are.

 

Arash Homampour  

We're all superstars. I think the goal is just to get out of your own way and let your superstardom shine? 

 

Louis Goodman  

Well,hopefully you can share with us a few of the secrets of doing that. Before we get into that, where exactly is your practice?

 

Arash Homampour  

You know, it's a virtual practice in the sense that we have a physical office with some staff in Sherman Oaks, California, but it's kind of irrelevant to where we practice, we practice all up and down the California coast, primarily in Southern California.

 

Louis Goodman  

And how would you describe your practice?

 

Arash Homampour  

We are an exclusively trial based practice, meaning we take a very limited number of cases all mid seven figure to eight figure value. Every single case we take with the intention of taking it to trial, unless the defendant offers enough money that it's unreasonable to settle or not settle. We have 10 attorneys, but at one time, we'll only have about 30 active cases, which is a very small caseload for that number of attorneys. 

 

Louis Goodman

Where are you from originally?

 

Arash Homampour

Well, originally I was born in Chicago to Persian or Iranian immigrant parents.  Came to LA when I was 10, when we vacationed here and saw how beautiful it was, with all the palm trees and the smell of jasmine and the hills, told my dad, why are we living in Chicago where I have to shovel ice and deal with the dreaded winters of Chicago. And the rest is history.

 

Louis Goodman  

So where did you go to high school in Los Angeles area.

 

Arash Homampour  

I went to high school in West LA at a school called University High School, which is like Beverly Hills light. So every one, every single one of my friends was rich, went skiing, bought fancy clothes, had a car at 16.  None of which I had, all of which was a definite motivator for me to be successful in life because we were the outlier. Iranian family we didn't have a lot of money, which was okay. I don't mind it at all in the sense that it definitely lit a fire and let me appreciate working hard for what you get in life.

 

Louis Goodman  

You need a public school? Correct? It is a public school when you graduated from Uni. Is it okay if I call it Uni?

 

Arash Homampour

That's what we called it.

 

Louis Goodman

 That's what I thought. When you graduated from Uni High School, where did you go to college?

 

Arash Homampour  

I went to USC. Interestingly enough that school was not the great school it is today. I mean, it was a good school. But it wasn't like a top 10 school back then. You would go to USC when you couldn't get into UCLA because all the kids who took AP courses were going to UCLA with you. 

 

Louis Goodman

How was your experience in college? 

 

Arash Homampour

I would take screenwriting acting, music mixing, I took all these interesting courses each semester, that kind of lent the flavor to like enjoy the college experience rather than dread it in terms of all the prerequisites.

 

Louis Goodman  

At some point after college, you went to law school, did you go directly to law school after college or did you take some time off?

 

Arash Homampour  

I tell people that I needed to incubate some more in the academic world before I was ready to hit the real world. Although I was working part time to full time from age 16 – 17.  So the entire time I was in college, entire time I was in law school at work. But I went straight from college to law school because I really just wanted to get going on my career.

 

Louis Goodman  

When did you first decide you wanted to be a lawyer? 

 

Arash Homampour  

Probably when I went to law school. It was back in the day when LA Law was on TV. And so it was either you go get an MBA and go to the world of finance or you go to law school and become a lawyer and I thought being a lawyer looked cooler and more engaging and more fun. So that's the path I took. And literally because it looked better on LA Law.

 

Louis Goodman  

When you got out of law school, what did you first do is legal job?

 

Arash Homampour  

Well, you know, I went to a, it's a great school Southwestern, but it's not like you're going to get a killer job if you don't graduate within the top, whatever, 15 or 20. So I didn't have any job offers. The only one that would hire me was my uncle, a medical doctor who did a lot of transactional work and was involved in a lot of litigation, and thought he could use his nephew to clean up and handle a lot of his messes efficiently. And that's what I did. I kind of learned as I went along all in law school.  I clerked for a lawyer doing legal stuff, but not like officially licensed lawyer. So I knew what I was doing. By the time I graduated law school, I knew how to do pleadings, discovery, and you how to take a deposition. So by the time I graduated and passed the bar, I was an actual value to my uncle and his medical practice and his investments and other various things he did.

 

Louis Goodman  

What prompted you to leave that situation and go out to start your own firm?

 

Arash Homampour  

Well, I started my own firm at the same time that I was working for my uncle. And my intention was always to have my own, I just needed the money like everybody else does to pay the rent and overhead, etc. So I worked for my uncle. And then he allowed me to do some time, he was cool, he allowed me to do some of my own cases. And from the get go, it was always a concept of start small, medium, then go to big, then go to super big, but keep going in terms of the case size, it was always my attention to gravitate towards larger cases. But obviously, when you're first starting out, no one's giving you big cases, because you have to prove yourself. So I had to be patient and prove myself case by case, which is what I did.

 

 

Louis Goodman  

Was there something that attracted you to Tort Law?

 

Arash Homampour  

Yeah, it's just literally, it's my personality, high risk averse, I don't like small rewards. I like big rewards. Like literally I tell people, if I go to Vegas, the only thing I want to do is roulette. Like, you know, $100 on one number, because that makes it worth it. A one to one or one to 5.1 odd is not enticing for me. So it's kind of how I live my life is I want big gains, big risks, big rewards. And Tort Law is definitely somewhere, if you have that kind of mentality, and you're fearless, and you love what you're doing, and you want to make a difference, it's the perfect occupation perfect profession.

 

Louis Goodman  

How is actually practicing law either met or different from your expectations?

 

Arash Homampour  

Oh, it's way more fun, way more engaging. You know, when you start out, it's kind of dreary and cumbersome to learn all the basics you have to, and not knowing what you're doing, you know, if you're a type a person, and you need to understand things inside and out before you feel comfortable, it's hard, it's going to take you time. But then once you get the swing of things, and you learn things, and you are open, and you kind of are efficient in the way you learn, you can pick up different and more complicated topics. So it gets easier as it goes along. I would say for sure. But you're never stop learning. You're never there. You know, you're always a student.

 

Louis Goodman  

I know you've had some real success in terms of verdicts, that sort of thing. But before we get to that, what about just the day to day nuts and bolts business of practicing law, how's that gone for you and has that either met or different from any expectations about that you might have had?

 

Arash Homampour  

Well, I definitely had surpassed any expectations I have in terms of being a businessman, because I'm not a good businessman. And so I'm like every good professional, I know what my limitations are, I learned what my limitations are, and I learned how to delegate and the key to a successful business in any arena is to surround yourself with competent, loyal, loving good people. So I delegated all of the business side to my cousin, and he runs the firm. And it's a great combo where he gets to use his unique talents to help the firm exists and grow. And I get to use my unique talents to be the trial lawyer that I am. But you know, it business is hard. And half of being a trial lawyer or a lawyer is you are a therapist, you’re photocopier person, you’re a repair person, you're  consultant, you’re HR, you’re business man, you're all that stuff. So you got to wear many, many hats to be a successful trial lawyer. And the goal is as you grow your business to bring in and keep talented individuals to take over those roles so that you can focus on what you do your best what you do best. I tell people, you know, you could dry clean your shirts, yourself. You could clean, iron, starch and do whatever. But at one point that $3 a shirt doesn't make sense for the $3 of your time and you have to delegate so that's how life is you want to delegate as many things as you possibly can. So that frees you up to do what you're best at.

 

Louis Goodman  

Speaking of what you're best at, you've had successful litigation. And I'm wondering if you could tell us about one of those, one that came to mind for me is just before I came into my studio here to record this, the air conditioning has been going crazy in my building. So I brought my space heater in to warm it up a little bit. And it made me think of you. Can you give me any reason why that might have been?

 

Arash Homampour  

Well, yeah, I had the space heater case against the gigantic defendant Sunbeam multibillion dollar parent entity.  The case was tried in Orange County Federal Court, which is one of the most conservative jurisdictions with limited voir, dear and trials are done completely different than in state court with not a lot of leeway and wiggle room. Like, literally, you're doing everything from the podium. Whereas in a state court, you're allowed to walk around in the courtroom. And in that case, the defendant offered like $5,000 to settle a huge wrongful death, serious product liability case that we ultimately got 60 million approximate 16 million, which was upheld by the Court of Appeal after multiple challenges. I think, even to the Supreme Court. So that space heater case is just one of many types of cases where if you look at it originally, you're like, how can you win this case, the defense seems super strong. Basically, it involved the family wanting to save money on the heating expense. And so they used space heaters. And they use a particular space heater, which was a radiant heater where even though it was marketed with an internal safety device that would shut it off in case it overheated or started a fire. That logic or design of radiant heaters is that if anyone understands them, especially this manufacturer who didn't, you can't put a safety device in kerneli, that would measure radiating heat three feet away, because it doesn't measure it and the radiated heat three feet away is greater than what would trigger the safety feature of this heater. So in essence, they're selling a space heater with the safety feature that they should know doesn't work. But the consumer doesn't know. And so essentially, this individual buys this heater, a family puts it near clothing, the clothing catches on fire, the internal device designed to turn it off to prevent a fire doesn't work. The customer consumer user doesn't know a wife dies, three kids are left without a mom, husband is left without his best friend without his wife. All because this defendant sold the space heater with the safety device that should never have been sold with that device. Now to get to the way I explained it to you took two- three years $700,000 and it costs 50 depositions, you know millions of pages of terabytes of data. But that's what I do. I take complicated things make it simple for everyone to understand and explain why this defendant has to be responsible for what they sold, which was a defective product.   Jury agreed and awarded appropriate damages.

 

Louis Goodman  

How come the case was in Federal rather than State Court?

 

Arash Homampour  

Some cases go to Federal Court if there's not diversity, meaning  if there's not a California defendant, then the defendant can remove it to federal court. The funny thing is these defendants remove cases to federal court because they think they have an advantage because federal courts are unforgiving, super fast, super technical. But what these defendants don't understand is that's my realm. I mean,  I live for technical rules.   I live for you know, less is more.   I Live For Speed. I live for formal rules. I thrive in that environment. So  you know, when they were moving thinking how we got an advantage, they have no idea they don't they have a disadvantage. Most people are afraid to federal court because you sometimes either get limited one year or no voir, dear, because it's a unanimous jury verdict requirement. Because it's more formal, I don't care what jurisdiction is it's in. If it's a righteous case, I'm going to win it if it's winnable.

 

Louis Goodman  

Is there anything that you know now that you really wish you knew before you started practicing law?

 

Arash Homampour  

Yeah, be nice. You know, when you start out as a young attorney, kind of got a chip on your shoulder, especially when you're doing personal injury, and people think you're like, literally, you'd be handling these high end cases. And these defense attorneys who call themselves trial attorneys have either never tried a case or don't know what they're doing. They look down on you, and they treat you with disrespect, which is ultimately a good thing because they don't see you coming. But it does produce in an unevolved version of yourself hostility, anger. And I wish I knew earlier that those ways of reacting are counterproductive and not necessarily.

 

Louis Goodman  

I'd like you to talk a little bit more about that because I know you've given this some thought about the importance of treating other attorneys well, treating judges well, treating the people around you well, and how that really is a tactic that works.

 

Arash Homampour  

Well look, my rule is,  always be nice. I'm always nice to get more with sugar than you do with poison. Never do personal attacks, but I definitely believe if someone's lying or pulling a fast one, you need to call it out.

 

Louis Goodman  

What do you think's the best advice you've ever received? 

 

Arash Homampour  

Stop talking and listen.  You know, we tend to, attorneys love to hear themselves talk. And I'm one of those that I interrupt people and finish their sentences for whatever reason. So one of the best things I saw whatever told me is like, shut up and just listen.

 

Louis Goodman  

Do you think the system's fair?

 

Arash Homampour  

Of course it's fair.  Yeah. I mean, it's beyond fair.  There's so many opportunities for either side to get justice. Now. I mean, if we're going to talk fairness, right, in reality, it's not as fair for plaintiffs because these defendants and their insurance companies and their law firms, they can drag things out. They can withstand sanctions, they can play games, they do play games, because for them, you know, a $5,000 sanction order for deliberately not producing records they should have produced there's nothing worse for the plaintiff. You know, that could be case ending. So there is an inherent unfairness, in the sense of the disparity between the power of the plaintiff versus the power of the defendant. But that's where trial attorneys come in.  Plaintiff trial attorneys trying to level the playing field and really hold anyone accountable. Doesn't matter how big you are, having law firms you have, we're going to take you down if justice requires you to.

 

Louis Goodman  

If a young person was just coming out of college and thinking about a career would you recommend law as a career?

 

Arash Homampour  

Absolutely. Every single successful businessman, businesswoman most of them, not every single most of them, you look at have a trial, Kevin, a JD, or law background.  It's a wonderful way to look at life, analyze things, issue spot, argue, know when not to argue, etc. So I think at a minimum, it's a good base for any career. But I think if you are passionate about making a difference, and helping people and making big changes, being a lawyer is the best occupation there is.

 

Louis Goodman  

So let's say a young attorney, were to come to you and say, give me your advice, a rash, what would you say to that individual?

 

Arash Homampour  

I get this question all the time. Be the best human you can be.   Stop focusing on being the best trial lawyer or lawyer you can be. Be the best human inside outside the courtroom, there should be no distinction between who you become self aware. Be kind, be genuine, be physically fit, be mentally fit, don’t be selfish, give back to others, come from your heart. Be the best human you can be and then you will shine anywhere you go.

 

Louis Goodman  

Well, what sort of things do you do in your personal life in order to achieve those goals?

 

Arash Homampour  

Exercise, yoga, I read a lot of self, you know, self help books. So my advice is just be the best person.   Read up as much as you can learn what it is to be human. Learn how humans work it, understand that you're never there. It's always a work in progress. There is no Nirvana, always understand that no matter what your circumstance, there's always joy and gratitude to be found no matter what. That's my advice.

 

Louis Goodman  

I think you said there's 10 attorneys that work in your firm now. 

 

Arash Homanpour

Yeah, we're hiring some more as we speak.

 

Louis Goodman

 So what do you look for in attorneys that you hire?

 

Arash Homampour  

Have to be able to work independently have a brain care about what they do love what they do, have a good work, work life balance. I don't want my attorneys overworking themselves. If they're working on the weekend, I really just say, Hey, take the weekend off, if you can, usually they're only working on weekends if they absolutely have to. But just you know, good work product. Kind, polite manners, smart, go getters, passionate, doesn't matter what college they went to, doesn't matter what law school they went to, doesn't matter what grades they have, I could care less. It's really just their output and results that count and the way they do it.

 

Louis Goodman  

You're someone who has said that you can achieve pretty much anything that you want to do by putting your mind to it.

 

Arash Homampour  

It's a truth. That's the truth in America, of course, you can do anything.

 

Louis Goodman  

Can you be a little specific about some things that you could say, Okay, here's something that seems impossible, but I achieved it by putting my mind to it.

 

Arash Homampour  

Well, I want to be a DJ, I did it. I want to make music. I did it. I want to start a record label. I did it. I want to be the best trial attorney in the world. I did it. I want to be the best dad in the world. I did it. I want to be the best husband in the room. I did it. Whatever it is you want to be, whatever it is you want to do, whatever title, whatever character you want to construct. The only one standing in your ways you literally so dream it, do it, be it. Aim high. That's my motto. Tell people, you know, Elon Musk's idea of aiming for the stars is putting people on the moon and this guy's gonna do it. We're gonna have space travel, right? There's no doubt. And there's no difference. He's a human. He's made of flesh and bone, just like everybody else. The only distinction is he's, you know, he believes in it. You enrolls other people in doing it, and he's done it, but you can do whatever you want to.

 

Louis Goodman  

Have you had any interesting travel experience?

 

Arash Homampour  

Oh, I mean, one of the amazing things about being a trial lawyer and having a successful plaintiff practice is that you can make  a really good living and travel all over the world. I grew up very, very poor. Our idea of travel when I was young was driving up to Lake Tahoe and watching my dad negotiate a $20 motel room, down to $15. Literally, that was my travel experience. There's nothing wrong with that. But that's not the same as taking your kids to Italy and Spain and France. And, you know, El Salvador and Guatemala and Mexico. You know, one of the perks of having a successful law practice is that you get to do things you would never otherwise get to do. And you know, my life is about experiences, not about things. And the more experiences I can have, the more I can grow as a human. The world is a beautiful place, and there's nothing better than sharing it with your kids. From age 5 to 20, whatever it's one of the best things you could do is travel with your children.

 

Louis Goodman  

Any place in particular that you thought was really great.

 

Arash Homampour  

You know, we've gone everywhere from like fancy Lake Como to Paris, to one of our most favorite trips was we went on a houseboat in Lake Powell, or Lake Mead, one of those two, and it was one of the most beautiful places. If you've ever been, it looks like the lake on a moon. I mean, it's literally one of the most breathtaking places. And it was one of the funnest, most simple trips, bunch of families rented a houseboat together and went waterskiing and jetskiing and sort of wake surfing on the lake with our kids. And it was really just normal, simple, beautiful. You know, the grand jury of California and, and the world we live in sharing it with your friends and family and nothing better.

 

Louis Goodman  

We touched on this, but what about some recreational pursuits? What sort of things do you like to do outside of practicing law?

 

Arash Homampour  

Well, I've been going to clubs since I was 13. I just love music, and I love house music and techno music. So one of my big endeavors these days is DJing. And I just DJ in Vegas at this big club by fortuity, happenstance, serendipity, but I love DJing.   I love seeing DJs.   I love going to clubs. I love hanging out with my friends. I love living life.

 

Louis Goodman  

If you couldn't be a lawyer, do you think that you'd want to be a rock star?

 

Arash Homampour  

100%. I mean, I tried to be a little rock star, I just didn't have the talent. So I always joke that I've tried, I've turned rock star as a lawyer. But I'm not giving up on that one of my goals is to play Coachella as a DJ, and it's going to happen within the next few years for sure.

 

Louis Goodman  

Let's say you came into some real money. Now I know you've made some good money in your practice. But what if you came into real money? A few billion dollars? What if anything, would you do differently in your life?

 

Arash Homampour  

Nothing differently, I would just donate more than I donate. Now, if I came into a billion dollars, I would make the most effective donations to get those kids in the universe who are not having access to their full potential have access. There are so many children in this universe, in this world, let's stick with Earth First, there are so many kids on this earth, who because of their environment, or their economics, or their parents or whatever, will never live up to their potential but have the potential to be the next Elon Musk, or Obama or Oprah or whatever. So if I, you know, the more money I get, I'm more about transforming the lives of those kids out there who can make a difference, who don't have the chance, who don't know they have a chance. That's what I would do.

 

Louis Goodman  

Let's say somebody gave you 60 seconds on the Superbowl, and you could say whatever you wanted to the world on the Super Bowl, big audience, what would you say to the world?

 

Arash Homampour  

I would literally say, Be nice. Let's stop this polarized existence where we all hate each other. Let's find common ground. Let's go out and inspire kids who don't even know that they're going to be future leaders to be future leaders. Let's focus on the you know, making the earth a better place. Let's focus on making it better for everybody. Let's focus on sharing the wealth. 

 

Louis Goodman  

You know, most of the people that I talked to for this podcast are people who I know fairly well. I don't know you at all. But you know, it's everything that I've read and seen and heard about you  is pretty impressive. So I, you know, I really am honored to talk to you.

 

Arash Homampour  

I'm honored to talk to you. Thank you for giving me your audience. I appreciate it.

 

Louis Goodman  

Thank you so much for joining me today on the Love Thy Lawyer podcast. It's been a real pleasure to talk to you.

 

Arash Homampour  

Thank you so much for having me, really.   I enjoyed this immensely. Very efficient and thorough. Thanks.

 

Louis Goodman  

That's it for today's episode of Love Thy Lawyer. If you enjoyed listening, please share it with a friend and subscribe to the podcast. If you have comments or suggestions, send me an email. I promise I'll respond. Take a look at our website at lovethylawyer.com where you can find all of our episodes. transcripts, photographs and information. Thanks as always, to my guests to share their wisdom. And to Joel Katz for music, Brian Matheson for technical support and Tracey Harvey. I'm Louis Goodman.

 

Arash Homampour  

I don't have to show how smart I am but you know, just shut up and listen to effective one for trial attorneys because it's very difficult for a lot.