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Law Office Management

Jun. 2, 2014

Q&A: What have you found to be the most rewarding aspect of your practice area?

Five lawyers discuss the most rewarding aspects of their work.

Alex Amar Kannan
The most rewarding aspect of immigration law is I am able to travel through different worlds. My clients have long histories, and I am invited into their country of origin. I am able to immerse myself in their stories. Their stories are worlds of danger, trauma, yet perseverance and hope, which inspires me to be the best advocate as I am able. I am able to explore the different colliding worlds, including the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), immigration court (The Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice), and most importantly, my client's world.

I really care about my clients, and so much is at stake, and decisions, once made, cannot be undone. With deportation, it's about acceptance. As the attorney, I don't have control over the outcome, but I am with my client at that crossing -- everyone wants a good outcome, and all we can do is give it our best shot, which involves discipline and very hard work.

Alex Amar Kannan is a bilingual sole practitioner specializing in immigration law. He is based in San Diego and also has an office in Chicago, IL.

Mahyar Ghassemian
I do business and construction law, and while I have represented many large companies in elaborate, complex litigation, sometimes small cases come along that provide the opportunity to see my work directly affect a person's life.

For example, I took on a very small case involving a veteran who had been shot in the line of duty, was a double amputee, and was using some of his government settlement money to retrofit his home to accommodate his physical challenges. A contractor he hired was taking advantage of him, had collected a lot of the money up front, but hadn't done much work on his home. I was able to recover a good amount of his expenses, which he had assumed were lost, and help him get a different contractor.

Afterwards, he hugged me and said "I couldn't have done this without you." Those instances where you see the direct effect of your work making someone else's life better, or alleviating their pain, is incredibly rewarding.

Mahyar Ghassemian is the founder and CEO of Ghassemian Law Group a boutique law firm in Mission Vallejo that focuses on construction, business and personal injury law.

Laura A. Zwicker
Estate planning is especially rewarding because you are able to truly affect great things for families not only as tax savings, which are substantial, but you help them identify their values and use various structures -- trusts for education, philanthropic pursuits, for example -- and transmit that to other generations, so they can be as successful as possible.

As part of the planning process, you often become a trusted family advisor and form close relationships over long periods of time, which is different than if you had, say, a litigation practice. I have clients I started working with in 1991 whom I'm still advising. Parents are now grandparents, children are parents.

Laura A. Zwicker chairs Greenberg Glusker's Private Client Services Group in Los Angeles where she focuses primarily on counseling high net worth individuals and their families in connection with estate, tax, and business planning.

Jenny H. Wang
I primarily litigate first party breach of contract and bad faith lawsuits brought by insured life and health and disability policies, so I am often dealing with institutional clients. Every case is different, and each represents new facts, new angles, and new legal challenges. I am constantly on my toes, which I love. I have been doing this for 16 years, and I still learn something new every day.

I'm fortunate to work with sophisticated people, and while my relationship with them is one of attorney-client, we truly partner in the handling of the case. When you have been in the trenches at trial or have an especially challenging case and you have a good outcome, it's extremely rewarding. When you have been to war with someone you become close, and I very much enjoy the camaraderie of what I do. I feel I am part of the entities I represent.

Jenny H. Wang is a partner in the Newport Beach office of Barger & Wolen. Her expertise is in commercial litigation, and she represents national corporations doing business in California.

Cheryl D. Orr
I have been practicing for 26 years -- 15 in wage-and-hour class action. I still enjoy my practice because it's people-oriented, complex, challenging, and it requires one to be strategic at a very high level, but also be practical. This is also a fast-changing area of the law, so new cases come down every day that have an impact, and you have to stay on top of it.

Also, what makes labor law such an interesting practice area is that it crosses all industries. The issues may be the same, but how they apply varies by industry.

Finally, you can really help clients because you can give them practical solutions that work. Employment law counseling is personal and intriguing. It involves a boss, a disgruntled worker -- someone we all know.

Cheryl D. Orr is a partner and co-chair of the national Labor & Employment Practice Group of Drinker Biddle & Reath in San Francisco. She defends employers against FLSA collective actions and state and federal wage and hour class action.

Riley Guerin

Daily Journal Staff Writer

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