Attorney at Law Magazine Los Angeles publisher Sarah Torres sat down with Dr. Dariush Adli to discuss his career and the decision to shift from engineering to the law.
AALM: When did you first know you wanted to become an attorney? What drew you to this career?
ADLI: From an early age, family and friends noted for my speaking and persuasive abilities. However, I excelled in math and sciences in high school and college and ended up getting a doctorate in nuclear engineering. After a few years of working as a scientist and engineer, I decided to study law and went back to my alma mater the University of Michigan and obtained my Juris Doctor.
AALM: Did you have a career or ambitions outside of the law prior to becoming a lawyer?
ADLI: In high school and college, I was interested in science and engineering subjects. My undergraduate degree is in physics and math and I have a master’s degree and a doctorate in nuclear engineering. After graduating, I worked for a few years for an engineering consulting company as a lead scientist.
AALM: Do you have any mentors or professors that encouraged you along the way? What is the best lesson they taught you?
ADLI: Not really, my education and work experiences, coming to law from another field was my best mentor
AALM: What was the greatest lesson you learned in law school? How do you apply that to your career today?
ADLI: That regardless of what they teach you in law school, it is up to the attorney to use his/her persuasive abilities and good judgment to connect to his/her target audience, whether that target audience is the client, the judge, the jury or my employees.
AALM: What experiences have taught you the most?
ADLI: Owning and running a 35-person business has been a tremendous learning experience. I have had to learn how to manage and run my attorneys and staff. My focus is on keeping each and every one of my attorneys and staff motivated to be their best.
AALM: What do you find particularly challenging about your practice? How to you overcome these challenges?
ADLI: Keeping up with all the responsibilities and challenges that come with my position. I would say finding the right person for each position is the biggest single challenge. Next, is adopting policies and practices that work for the overall good of the firm, rather than individual preferences.
AALM: Why did you decide to start your own practice? What are some of the challenges you’ve encountered running your own practice?
ADLI: After over a decade of “big firm” experience, I decided to take the plunge and open my own firm in 2010. During my “big firm” experience, I had received the very best legal training and valuable experience. However, I also detected glaring weaknesses in the big firm practices, including exorbitant fees, red tape and inattentiveness to clients. I decided to combine the best of the big firm practices with less red tape, less costs and attention to clients.