Attorney at Law Magazine Los Angeles Publisher Sarah Torres sat down with Jason Cirlin to discuss his career.
AALM: When did you first know you wanted to become an attorney? What drew you to this career?
Cirlin: I knew I wanted to become an attorney at an early age. I remember teachers telling my parents that I should be a lawyer because I loved to debate them in class. It’s a part of my nature.
AALM: What experiences have taught you the most?
Cirlin: In general, I would say that traveling abroad has taught me the most. Being exposed to different perspectives and cultures teaches you to open your mind and get out of the box, so to speak. As to law, I would say just time and experience has taught me the most. At the end of every week, I like to look back on the week and think about something new that I learned. It can be a small item. But when you add those up, week after week, you end up with a treasure trove of knowledge and experience.
AALM: What first drew you to Koletsky, Mancini, Feldman & Morrow? Cirlin: I knew Koletsky, Mancini, Feldman & Morrow from the litigation world and was familiar with their reputation for excellent work. I also knew a partner at the firm who told me more about the firm, introduced me to the firm’s partners, and eventually brought me on board.
AALM: Tell us about your fellow attorneys at the firm. How do you work together?
Cirlin: I am blessed with fantastic colleagues. We work together by collaborating on tasks, and bouncing ideas and strategies off each other to achieve our clients’ goals. It’s where a lot of the real lawyering happens and is one of my favorite parts of the job.
AALM: Are there any flaws in the legal profession that you see? If so, how would you fix them?
Cirlin: I think the legal system is tough for people whose claims are worth less than $30,000 but more than $10,000. An individual claimant can bring a claim in small claims court for a dispute worth $10,000 or less. It lasts one day, minimal cost, and you get a decision from a judge. But above $10,000 and less than $30,000 is that awkward range where it usually will not be worth paying an attorney by the hour to litigate the claim. And many attorneys who work on a contingency fee basis will not take the case due to its low potential up side.
I would fix this by further streamlining the court system for cases involving $30,000 or less. The current limited jurisdiction system for claims worth under $25,000, in my opinion, is not streamlined enough and leaves the potential for having to spend tens of thousands of dollars to bring or defend a case.
AALM: What is the best compliment you’ve ever received?
Cirlin: The best compliment I’ve ever received from a client was, “You saved my company and my family’s future. I’m so grateful that I was referred to you and your office.” This is why I do what I do. I appreciate that I am able to use my intellect and apply my faculties to helping another person resolve a problem. I hope to build on what I’ve accomplished so far in my life. To continue meeting good people, to help them achieve their goals, and to protect what they’ve created.
AALM: What events are you most looking forward to in the coming year?
Cirlin: Colin Powell and Madeleine Albright will be keynote speakers at the Defense Research Institute’s annual conference in Washington, D.C. I find them both to be absolutely fascinating and intelligent, and I can’t wait to hear what they have to say about today’s big topics.
AALM: What do you enjoy outside of work? Hobbies?
Cirlin: I love spending time with my beautiful wife, Maya. I also enjoy playing tennis and traveling to countries that are completely different from the United States. The differences expose us to new ideas and concepts – and that’s where learning happens.