Yasmine Tabatabai: The Star Player

Yasmine Tabatabai was born to shine. Her family loves to recount stories of the little 7-year-old who would boldly jump on any available stage immediately beguiling her impromptu audience.

“It didn’t matter who was in front of me I just had to get on that stage,” Tabatabai admits with a laugh. “Apparently, I wasn’t at all shy and I loved being able to hold the attention of complete strangers, so I’d just start talking.”

That audacious bravado was tempered with maturity but enhanced her desire to engage and influence others. “Even before I decided to become an attorney, I knew that I wanted to use that voice to advocate for those who don’t have a voice,” she says. “I wanted to apply that passion as well as my empathy and compassion to make a difference. I want to do what I can to effectuate change and help others, whether that’s one person or many.”

Ultimately, a strong moral compass imbued with righteous indignation at how our legal system can be misused or manipulated led the young attorney to a career in civil litigation.

“Recognizing how some people take advantage of the legal system, it became my goal to advocate for those who were the victims of such maneuvers,” she says. “When you’re up against shrewd people who know how to exploit the rules to suit their own interests and have the deep pockets to power through, it can feel hopeless and very stressful. It’s always been my objective to reduce as much of that stress as I can. In fact, as tense and nerve-racking as a long, drawn-out litigation process can be, we’ve actually found ways to make it fun for our clients.”

As unlikely a claim as this might be, one has only to spend a few minutes in the offices of The Taba Law Firm to grasp how clients might be transformed. While entirely professional, there’s an almost palpable upbeat, lighthearted vibe that permeates every aspect of her firm.

But it’s more than just a positive attitude that Tabatabai uses to calm and reassure her clients. “Early on I detected a problem that seems prevalent in our profession,” she says. “It seemed that many law offices took such a long time to respond or do what they’d promised their clients. I heard this complaint over and over. So, when I opened my firm, I promised myself, and made it my goal, to always do anything I could to get things done quickly on behalf of my clients.

“Of course, there will always be things that are out of my control, but I make sure that I do my part to keep things moving as quickly and efficiently as I can and to make sure there is always someone available to them 24/7,” Tabatabai adds. “When your life is hanging in the balance and you’re waiting for a resolution every minute seems like an hour.”

Recognizing how some people take advantage of the legal system, it became my goal to advocate for those who were the victims of such maneuvers.

A Female Perspective

Of course, there will always be things that are out of my control, but I make sure that I do my part to keep things moving as quickly and efficiently as I can and to make sure there is always someone available to them 24/7.

“I think things are changing as far as how women are accepted and treated,” says Tabatabai, “but personally, I haven’t had any negative experiences based on my gender. I think a lot of that has to do with attitude. When I step onto the playing field, I tend to forget male/female or any hierarchies; to me we’re just all human beings.

“There’s always going to be something,” she adds, “whether it’s age, gender, culture or socioeconomic status, whatever. I think what defines strength and true victory, is you not using any of that as an excuse. Just get the job done and get results based on your own competence.”

For Tabatabai acceptance has never been an issue, primarily because she wouldn’t allow anything to get in her way and because she arrives with her own brand of arsenal.

“I speak multiple languages and that helps in my practice as well,” she says. “My parents are from Iran, but I was born and raised in Los Angeles and have been exposed to all different cultures. I do enjoy learning languages, and French is the next one.”

Much like that little girl who brazenly commandeered the attention of complete strangers, Tabatabai has forged ahead in her career with a confidence born of talent, hard work and dedication. Always a leader, striving to reach each successive goal, Tabatabai’s undergraduate and law school years were accentuated with multiple awards and distinguished honors including the Witkin Awards for Academic Excellence in Trial Advocacy, Evidence, and Contracts.

On the heels of this stellar scholastic career, Tabatabai passed the Bar at 25 and immediately opened her own offices under the name of The Taba Law Firm.

“My dad is a successful business owner with a real estate brokerage in Los Angeles,” she says, “so growing up I watched him build his business from the ground up. Having my own firm has always been a dream of mine. Of course, my dad helped me navigate the ins and outs of starting and running a successful business.”

While owning her own law firm had been a lifelong ambition, Tabatabai had other, more altruistic reasons for achieving this goal once she passed the Bar.

“One of the things I wanted to be able to do is offer more pro bono services,” she says. “Having my own firm allows me the luxury of doing that whether it’s free consultations or taking on a particular case because I feel strongly about it. I don’t have to get anyone’s approval. I have the power of being able to make that decision and I love that.”

Another aspect of her practice that Tabatabai has the latitude to explore is the time she spends with her clients.

“I get to meet with my clients and connect with them and spend as much time as I like,” she says. “In a firm it’s not usual for an associate to actually meet with clients, but I get to meet with everyone. While of course I’m still operating a business, I’m not a slave to someone else’s idea of what constitutes success measured in billable hours. My success is making that connection and truly understanding who my clients are. I get to know them, their families and give them the opportunity to get to know me so that they can put their trust in me and feel that together we make a formidable team.

“My reward comes in a different form,” she adds. “When everything is settled and we come out victorious, just seeing the look on my client’s face is the most rewarding experience imaginable.”

A Winning Team

Working with a winning team is not new to Tabatabai. For many years, even before entering the legal arena, the name Tabatabai was synonymous with a semi-professional soccer player. Photos of Tabatabai in action are plentiful on the internet. As a semi-professional soccer player, she has experienced more than her share of victories but acknowledges they come with a lot of hard work, discipline and the ability to overcome even the most daunting challenges.

“Nothing worthwhile comes easy,” she says. “There have been times when we were either practicing or competing in temperatures that climbed into the 120s, and it really felt like you could die out there on the field. But I always remembered what my dad said to me from the time I was competing.

“He’d push me by saying, ‘Just 10 more minutes. You can do it for 10 more minutes. Give it everything you got, then we’ll drag your body off the field.’” she recalls with a laugh. “I still hear his voice when I’m in the middle of a particularly contentious case and push myself to give it my all. In fact, I think playing soccer is where much of my strength and competitive edge comes from.”

These days, in addition to building a thriving practice, Tabatabai is heavily involved in her community and a significant part of that is coaching at soccer clinics across California. “I volunteer my time in many of our underserved communities that are without the resources necessary to support and encourage these young girls,” she says. “Soccer is really becoming a big, big thing for women, so I enjoy helping them get started in what I feel is a wonderful sport.”

With a very close-knit family Tabatabai says she spends much of her downtime with them especially her younger sister, Niki, who she describes as her best friend and who is currently studying to become a doctor. As a family the Tabatabai’s support many animal rights causes. In fact, one her most important family members is her mini goldendoodle named Donnie.

“He’s our joy,” says Tabatabai with a smile that confirms the little pup holds a special place in the attorney’s heart.

Tabatabai admits that she works an inordinate number of hours but also says it doesn’t feel like work. “For me, being at work is also my personal social time,” she says. “This is my office so when a client comes in, we chat, we talk about their lives, so it’s really a good mix. I enjoy what I do and look forward to see what each new day will bring.”

The Taba Law Firm

1722 Westwood Blvd Suite 107
Los Angeles, CA 90024
(310) 446-8282
www.tabalawfirm.com

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