Mory Ahmadi of the Law Offices of Mory Ahmadi sat down with Attorney at Law Magazine Los Angeles to discuss her career and the challenges she faces in managing her own practice.
AALM: When did you first know you wanted to become an attorney? What drew you to this career?
Ahmadi: My personal fulfillment comes from helping people, especially those who suffered a difficult childhood. Many develop personality disorders and rely on mood-altering substances to self-medicate. As an undergraduate, I majored in psychology and envisioned a career as a psychologist/psychiatrist. At UCLA, I studied the intersection of psychology and the law, including the criminal-insanity defense. I realized that many of those whom I wanted to help could end up in the criminal justice system and lose their hope for a future without quality legal representation. This motivated me to apply to and attend law school.
AALM: What experiences have taught you the most?
Ahmadi: My personal life experiences have equipped me with a unique ability to understand my clients’ needs and address them effectively and compassionately. First, growing up in a home where a close family member suffered from paranoid schizophrenia, I understood at a very young age that she behaved abnormally due to a mental illness resulting from her own tragic childhood. That understanding helped me develop a high level of empathy, especially for those suffering from mental illness, plus the ability to identify mental illness masked by drug and alcohol use.
Second, I have endured two kidney transplants, one as an undergraduate and a second in my final year of law school. My health challenges have instilled in me tremendous gratitude for life, along with passion and grit. Not easily deterred, I have boundless energy in pushing for good results for my clients.
AALM: What do you find most rewarding about your career? What do you find particularly challenging about your practice? How to you overcome these challenges?
Ahmadi: In my criminal defense practice, I strive to reduce my clients’ recidivism rate. I find it very rewarding when a client battling addiction recognizes that his/her legal dilemmas are closely tied to their substance abuse problems and commits to sobriety. On the other hand, clients who are in denial can be extremely challenging. In my personal injury practice, managing clients’ expectations about their likely recovery is often challenging. So I take time to understand each client’s needs, and then formulate a strategy that addresses those needs while attaining the most favorable possible outcome.
AALM: How would you describe your practice?
Ahmadi: Approximately half of my practice is devoted to criminal defense and the other half is plaintiffs’ side personal injury litigation.
AALM: What challenges have you encountered since going solo and how have you overcome them?
Ahmadi: Being a solo practitioner can be lonely, and the pressure associated with running a business on top of being the most effective advocate possible for my clients can be stressful. So I share office space with another solo practitioner. We collaborate on cases, bounce ideas off one another and pool resources. I also rely on an extensive network of attorney colleagues.
I take my physical and mental health seriously. Both my personal habits and approach to my practice have helped reduce the stress of being a business owner. I maintain a checklist for every aspect of each case, which maximizes efficiency of workflow and allows me additional time to focus on business growth and staying abreast of relevant legal developments.
AALM: What do you enjoy doing outside of work? Hobbies? Sports?
Ahmadi: I enjoy hiking, Pilates, reading and watching science fiction movies. I’m also a past president of the Iranian American Lawyers Association, as well as the Iranian American Bar Association Orange County Chapter.