Our Paralegal Is Also Our Barista
Episode 1: Our Paralegal Is Also Our Barista
In this inaugural episode of Bootstrapped Solo, Pratik Shah welcomes Abbas Kazerounian, one of the founders of Kazerouni Law Group. What started on a broken laptop in coffee shop with a $400 budget soon brewed into a venti, 50-employee law firm in Costa Mesa, California. Pratik and Abbas share some good laughs over the lengths one must go to make their law firm succeed.
In This Episode
Abbas Kazerounian, Kazerouni Law Group
Pratik Shah (00:04):
Hi, everybody. Welcome to Bootstrapped Solo. I am Pratik Shah, and today we’re going to be talking about the good, the bad, and the ugly about running your own practice.
Pratik Shah (00:13):
This podcast, is for those that want to know what it’s really like to start, run and grow a practice. Today’s guest is my very good friend, Abbas Kazerounian. He runs a 50 person practice, about 24, 25 lawyers that focus on individual and consumer class actions. Abbas’ practice is licensed in 18 states and have actual offices in nine states. Is that accurate?
Abbas Kazerounian (00:37):
Yeah, that’s about right.
Pratik Shah (00:38):
Awesome. Thanks, Abbas, for coming on. I really appreciate it.
Abbas Kazerounian (00:41):
No, thank you. Thanks for having me, I really appreciate it.
Pratik Shah (00:44):
Thanks, man. I know running a 50 person practice ain’t easy, but it started with just you, right?
Abbas Kazerounian (00:50):
Well, me and Mike, yeah.
Pratik Shah (00:52):
You and Mike. Yeah, your partner.
Abbas Kazerounian (00:53):
Exactly. It started straight out of law school, believe it, or not. I always knew I didn’t want to work for anybody. And so, I said to Mike, when I left law school, “What do you think?”
Abbas Kazerounian (01:06):
And he said, “Yeah, let’s give it a go.” The only problem was, I only had $200 left the day I passed the bar.
Pratik Shah (01:11):
Right. I mean, that’s kind of a crazy thing, you turn to somebody, and you find somebody just as crazy as you to say, “Hey, look, we just passed the bar. We don’t need anybody else. We’re just going to run our own show.” Did you guys talk about what kind of law you would do, or how did that go?
Abbas Kazerounian (01:26):
Well, the only thing I knew was, and I always told Mike, it was that, we have to be specialists at something, and I didn’t know what that was. At the beginning, we were taking everything, domestic battery cases, DUIs, divorces, you name it, we did it. It was very unconventional, we had no real office, we set up out of a coffee shop, because literally we had $200 in our pockets. And I had my Boost Mobile flip phone, which was the number I put at the top of the header, and my broken laptop, and Mike’s laptop from law school, and that was really our resources, when we first started.,
Pratik Shah (02:10):
That’s what I want to get into, because this is back in the day pre-pandemic, when working from home had a stigma, and all these things. Nowadays, it is a little bit different. But I think what you just said is super important, and what I would want everybody to know that’s thinking about starting their own practice, is there is no fancy equipment that you need.
Abbas Kazerounian (02:29):
No, you really don’t, especially with modern technology. Interestingly, I mean, if you are involved in personal injury, the amount of motion work that you get in comparison to the kind of work I do in federal court, is a fraction. It’s not to say that you get zero motion practice, but in comparison, it’s chalk and cheese.
Abbas Kazerounian (02:57):
One thing I discovered is, if you are resourceful and creative, you probably can get a solution without spending a lot of money right upfront. For example, I didn’t have West Law and Lexis at the beginning, but law library has it. CEB, for example, offers one free year, we had it back then in 2007.
Pratik Shah (03:15):
Yeah, they still offer that.
Abbas Kazerounian (03:18):
Yeah, one free year on all their treatises, and research things, for all graduates, so I was using the hell out of that. I was asking for templates from friends and stuff, from law school. But my biggest disadvantage was, of course, I had no contacts. I didn’t know anybody in the legal field, and we were starting literally from scratch, and our only resources, as far as people we knew, were our law professors, and our law school brethren and sisters, from law school, that was it, and where they were going.
Pratik Shah (03:48):
Abbas Kazerounian (03:48):
And so, that was the Genesis of Kazerounian Law Group.
Pratik Shah (03:51):
No, and I love that I want to deep dive right into that, because I think there’s a lot of books out there that talk about starting your own practice. There’s a lot of people on social media, “Here use my system. Pay me $600 and I’ll teach you how to run a practice.” I want to just hyper focus, let’s talk about that first week. You graduate, you study for the bar, you pass the bar, you turn to Mike, and you say, “We’re starting our own practice.” What do you do day one?
Abbas Kazerounian (04:16):
Day one, Mike is like, “Well, we need a business license.” And so, we had a $400 budget to start our law firm, and it was already $50 in, for the business license.
Pratik Shah (04:28):
“Oh crap, 30% of our budget’s gone.”
Abbas Kazerounian (04:30):
Exactly. And then, so we’re like, “Well, we can’t afford an office.” And so, we went and got a Regis, and we were paying the bare minimum. It was $20 a month just to get your mail, and then if we needed a conference room, we have to pay extra. And we’re like, “Well, that’s a good problem to have, we’ll deal with it later.” Right?
Pratik Shah (04:47):
Abbas Kazerounian (04:47):
So, we paid the $20 so that somebody collects our mail, and we have a reasonable good-looking address, but we needed a workspace. And so, where we were working was on Culver and Irvine. Sorry, Culver and Jeffrey, in Irvine, at a Seattle’s Best coffee shop. And so, every morning I would get Mike out of bed, and we would go at 8:00, sit in the coffee shop, and order a cup of coffee, and start nursing the coffee, and start, in quotation marks, “working”. And of course, the question is, what are you working on? What do you have in your briefcases?
Pratik Shah (05:16):
I was just going to ask you that, what are you working on? You don’t have any clients, what are you working on?
Abbas Kazerounian (05:20):
Yeah. This is a period where Facebook had barely started, there was no Instagram, there was no TikTok. And so, me being me, I used what was our equivalent of social media back in the days, I was the Craigslist king. And so, I was advertising, business lawyer, divorce lawyer, criminal lawyer. And then even Craigslist only allowed you to put three ads up every day, and they had this CAPTCHA system. So, there’s me creating 14 fake email accounts, and trying to get around their CAPTCHA system, and put up 30 ads a day, and that’s a considerable portion of the day. I mean, it took a couple hours just to put up all the ads. And Mike thought I was bananas, but our biggest clients in the first three years, actually came from Craigslist. We got this crazy business case, it was a copyright case against Craigslist, interestingly.
Pratik Shah (06:17):
Oh, how funny.
Abbas Kazerounian (06:18):
Our client was being sued by Craigslist.
Pratik Shah (06:19):
But he found the attorney on Craigslist.
Abbas Kazerounian (06:22):
Yeah. I think we got over $100,000 in billables on that.
Pratik Shah (06:25):
Abbas Kazerounian (06:28):
And then there was another one, this guy just had every problem in the world. You name it, the guy had it.
Pratik Shah (06:34):
Yeah, I’ve met a few of those.
Abbas Kazerounian (06:36):
Yeah. He would show up, and I think he was just lonely really, so we had him. And then we had all these DUIs, I’m being accused of beating up my wife, we had the whole plethora legal field.
Pratik Shah (06:50):
So, I was just going to say, you’re getting these calls, and you spend the whole day putting all these ads up, the calls start coming in. First of all, you’re filtering, because I got to imagine a lot of the calls that come in, are just a lot of crazies, and no real case, and nothing doing. I mean, how do you deal with that?
Abbas Kazerounian (07:10):
Well, there’s a couple things. I mean, it doesn’t matter how successful you are, and how big you are and established you are, you have to kiss some frogs along the way.
Pratik Shah (07:21):
That is the nice way of putting it.
Abbas Kazerounian (07:22):
But I mean, you’re in sales, right?
Pratik Shah (07:25):
Abbas Kazerounian (07:26):
You’re one of the best salespeople I know. It’s a numbers game, you have to go through the duds, in order to get to the good stuff.
Pratik Shah (07:32):
Abbas Kazerounian (07:34):
And so, I had a history in sales, from back in England, and I knew that already. And so, I understood the world of business. And, it doesn’t matter what profession you’re in, whether you’re in a medical business, in the trash can business, or in the law business, you’re in sales. So, I totally understood that.
Abbas Kazerounian (07:51):
But the only filtering that we had, was after about a couple of weeks, Molly, the barista that worked there, was our friend. And so, the phone would go, I would chuck it to Molly, and she would be like, “Kazerounian Law Group, how can I help you?” And then like, “Well there Mr. Smith, let me see if Mr. Kazerounian is available.” And then, “Mr. Smith?”
Abbas Kazerounian (08:16):
And I’m like, “Yeah, fucking give it over.” And then, “Oh, hi, how are you doing?”
Abbas Kazerounian (08:20):
And then suddenly the blender would go in the background, and then like, “What is that noise?”
Abbas Kazerounian (08:24):
I’m like, “Oh, I’m sorry, I’m in the shredder room.” And I’m running outside.
Pratik Shah (08:25):
“There’s construction in my office.”
Abbas Kazerounian (08:28):
Yeah. There’ll be different creative ways of going through that. But, there was some crazy things that we ended up, there was this guy we ended up repping, that was working out long beach, and he was an absolute fraudster. He worked in an abandoned warehouse. And the only thing in this, maybe, 30,000 square foot warehouse, was a fax machine, no furniture, apart from his personal office, and there were cameras everywhere. And Mike and I are going in, and Mike is swearing at me walking in, “I’m going to fucking kill you.” Like, “I can’t believe we’re here.” And this guy thought he was Scarface, and we go into his room, and it’s got this plastic fireplace with those, one of those things, with one bottle of Smirnoff behind him, and he thinks he’s Al Pacino.
Abbas Kazerounian (09:17):
And what he was doing is he was selling trucker insurance to truckers, but without the insurance. And then people would get in an accident, and then he’d be calling us like, “Oh, this guy’s after me.”
Abbas Kazerounian (09:30):
I’m like, “Yeah, I’m not surprised.” And this guy would always pay our retainers in big bundles of cash, but he actually ended up being a real client that paid us.
Abbas Kazerounian (09:41):
But then there was another woman that called us, and Mike and I drove all the way to LA, to Koreatown, and it was a church. And the lady was a nun, and she was like, “I want to hire you to basically publish 1,000,000 copies of the Bible. And I want to go on a mission. And I want you to guys to create a 501(c)(3). And I want you to help me do this, so I can spread the word of God.”
Abbas Kazerounian (10:10):
And I’m like, “Okay.” And so, we listened to her whole thing about what she wants, then after an hour, I’m like, “Okay well, we’ll need $5,000 deposit, so that we can get started.”
Abbas Kazerounian (10:21):
And then she’s like, “Well, what I was hoping was that you do this free, and God will pay you back in a thousandfold in the future.” And literally, I just stand up and I just walk straight out, and Mike is left there. It was kind of crazy.
Pratik Shah (10:39):
This brings up a good point, how many leads like that did you chase? In the early days, you chase anything that comes in, because you don’t know what’s going to be good, you don’t have that filter yet, that instinct. How often would you run into something, where you thought it was going to be something, and it turned out to be a big bust?
Abbas Kazerounian (10:55):
Pratik Shah (10:56):
All the time, right?
Abbas Kazerounian (10:58):
I mean, I have no numbers for it, but for every three of those, you’d get one case. But the upside was, we were both broke, and so we had nothing to lose.
Pratik Shah (11:13):
Right. And your time’s not worth anything at that point, none of ours is, because you’re not doing anything. It’s not like you have opportunity costs, that instead of that time being spent chasing down a nothing burger, it could have been spent on a case, because you don’t have any cases.
Abbas Kazerounian (11:29):
Not only that, though, but I think it’s essential to earn those stripes and that substance that is intangible in the education of law business. You have to go through that to understand what it’s like on the front line in getting cases, because if it’s given to you easy, you can’t relate to your intake individual when you’re a bigger entity, when they’re like, “Oh, I’ve got this nut job on the phone, that’s telling me this and that.”
Abbas Kazerounian (11:58):
Because if you’ve never experienced it, it’s very easy to go, “Well, you need to be professional and blah, blah, blah.” And of course, you do need to be professional, but unless you’ve gone through that, and had that education, and had that person to person interaction, whether they’re a great case, or whether they’re a total dud and a crazy, is really, really important to the education of a fully rounded lawyer.
Abbas Kazerounian (12:21):
Because we hear a lot about, “You need to be a trial lawyer. You need to be good at writing.” And that’s all true, you need all these elements and all these skills, but there are these intangible factors, that make you a people person, that make you want you to represent them.
Pratik Shah (12:42):
You’re right. And that’s what we call, there’s a certain lesson that experience teaches you, that you can’t get taught in school, you can’t get taught by a classroom or a CLE, no matter how many conferences you go to, there’s just something about returning those calls, picking up the phone, answering the client, chasing potential clients down, trying to collect from them, because what happened to me in the early days, and I guarantee it happened to you, is people were like, “I’m going to pay you.” They give you a little bit of a deposit upfront, and then good luck ever collecting the rest.
Abbas Kazerounian (13:12):
Yeah, absolutely. No question, but it was part of the journey that I wouldn’t swap, I really wouldn’t swap it. It wasn’t pleasant, it was demoralizing sometimes.
Pratik Shah (13:29):
And it’s easy to look back on it now, and think of it fondly, because we got through it, and now you’re on the other side of it, and you’re not dealing with that anymore. But in the beginning, were there times where you question, “Why am I doing this? Why don’t I just get a job somewhere?”
Abbas Kazerounian (13:45):
Yeah, of course, I absolutely questioned it. And I think that innate belief to be able to always be positive about something, even if it’s the smallest thing, and claw onto that, to get you to the next positive thing. And hopefully those positives get bigger, and bigger, and bigger. Before the show, you were asking me, how we got into where we got, and that’s a story in itself. And it started from a very, very small positive, into what became a class action practice.
Pratik Shah (14:15):
Yeah, tell us.
Abbas Kazerounian (14:17):
And so, we got a reputation in the coffee shop, in the local Irvine area, that these two clowns had a law firm. And if you want to just go sit, and shoot the shit with them, and talk the law with them, that they’ll give you free advice, and all that kind of stuff. So one day, this guy comes in, and he goes, “Hey, I’ve been sued by Capital One for my credit card, for $3.000. And all the lawyers I go to, they want $250, $350, $400 an hour, and if I could afford that, I’d pay off the credit card.”
Abbas Kazerounian (14:55):
And I was like, “Listen, all the way to trial, doesn’t matter what it takes. Just give me $500, flat fee, we’re done.”
Abbas Kazerounian (15:02):
And he was like, “Really?”
Abbas Kazerounian (15:03):
And I’m like, “Yeah.”
Pratik Shah (15:03):
Well that $500 was more than you started your firm with.
Abbas Kazerounian (15:07):
I was like, “I’ll take that. Do you know how many coffees that would buy me? That’s our rent for the next three months.” So I was over the moon, because it was one of those days where I needed to buy car insurance, to top up my Boost Mobile $40 a month, or something, it was a desperate day. “And the $500,” and I said, “I need it today.” He goes to the cash machine, gets $500, and he comes back, and we’re off to the races. It wasn’t going to change my life, but it got me through the day, and I was in a good mood.
Abbas Kazerounian (15:42):
So I file an answer, I sent some discovery, and then a week and a half later, the guy calls me and he says, “Hey, you represent me, right?”
Abbas Kazerounian (15:51):
And I’m like, “Of course, I’m your lawyer.”
Abbas Kazerounian (15:52):
And he said, “Well, they keep calling me.”
Abbas Kazerounian (15:55):
I’m like, “Who is?”
Abbas Kazerounian (15:56):
And he is like, “Capital One is.”
Abbas Kazerounian (15:58):
And I’m like, “Really?”
Abbas Kazerounian (15:59):
And so I was like, “I know it’s an ethical violation, but there’s something here.” So I go to the law library, and I start researching on Westlaw, and I find this thing called the Rosenthal Act. And I come back and like, “Mike, I think we can sue Capital One.”
Abbas Kazerounian (16:20):
And he’s like, “Really?”
Abbas Kazerounian (16:21):
And I’m like, “Yeah.”
Abbas Kazerounian (16:22):
And so he’s like, “Okay.” So we sue Capital One. Next thing I know, in literally 30 days, the guy’s debt gets waived, he gets a $1,000 in his pocket, and then we got another $5,500 in our pockets.
Pratik Shah (16:36):
Oh my God, jackpot.
Abbas Kazerounian (16:39):
I was like, “This is magic. What is this wizardry?”
Pratik Shah (16:43):
Abbas Kazerounian (16:43):
And we’re in the depth of the 2007 recession right now. And then I go back to the law library, and I pull all the main cases from the Ninth Circuit, and whatever. And I realized, it’s the sister statute, of a federal statute, called the FTCPA. And I was telling Mike, “You know how we’re always fighting for clients? This thing sells itself, we don’t charge our clients any money, because we get attorney’s fees on these statutes.” And essentially, I’m reading the statute and I’m like, “There’s 1,000,000,000 ways to violate the statute.” And I looked nationwide, and there were literally only 200 law firms that did this full time, in the entire United States.
Pratik Shah (17:24):
Abbas Kazerounian (17:25):
Nothing. And I mean, and there’s probably more than 200 PI attorneys in Orange County, alone.
Pratik Shah (17:31):
Abbas Kazerounian (17:33):
And so, I was like, “Okay.” And so, we started going to our friends and family first, they all had credit card debt, and they’re all being harassed by debt collectors and whatever. And next thing I know, every case, I’m in federal court. I start filing in state court, but then they start removing me. But the upside of that is, that almost all your opinions are published, and so within two, three years, I’ve got 20 published opinions, and we actually could actually afford an office, we have an office.
Pratik Shah (18:11):
Abbas Kazerounian (18:12):
Yeah. We actually can have a clerk that we pay, or something. And we’ve got real cases, and we’re in federal court, doing real proper law. And I’m getting calls all of a sudden, from Nebraska, Texas, they’re like, “We saw this case you did, do you want to come and litigate this with us?” And that started lending itself, to becoming subject matter expertise in suing debt collectors. And at the beginning, even the judges in California really weren’t educated on this.
Abbas Kazerounian (18:43):
And I would go into court, especially state court, if I was in state court and they’d be like, “Hold on a minute, your client owes money, and you are suing them?
Abbas Kazerounian (18:50):
And I’m like, “Yeah.” And then educate the judiciary. And then once I became deemed the guy in motion practice, suddenly I noticed the judges are giving deference to me, because they know I know what I’m talking about, because they be down that road with me before. And the ACA National Conference ended up being in 2008 or ’09, I think ’08 in San Diego. And the ACA is the organization is basically where all the debt collectors belong to. And at that time, I was not a known entity by the debt collecting industry.
Abbas Kazerounian (19:24):
Right now, if I walked into ACA, I’d probably get lynched, they know who I am. And so, I walked in and nobody said anything, and then there was a closed door meeting. And so we walked into the closed door, I walked into the closed door meeting, and nobody questioned me. And I’m just sitting there, and they’re like, “Well, you know what guys? We’re really worried about this thing called the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, the TCPA, it’s major liability. And you are going to have to settle real quick. If these lawsuits are filed.”
Pratik Shah (19:56):
And you’re just listening to this. Like, “I can’t believe they’re just telling me this.”
Abbas Kazerounian (20:00):
Yeah. And after that closed door session, I didn’t even stay, I just ran back to the office. And the first thing I did was, because I knew that these were going to be class actions, because that’s what they were talking about. And I wouldn’t qualify as class council, because one of the elements of Rule 23 is adequacy, and you need to have done prior class actions. So we went and found this guy that was on the edge of retirement, that had done a lot of class actions, who just didn’t care. And I was just this crazy guy in his office going, “Listen, I’ve got this thing it’s, called the TCPA. You don’t have to do anything, apart from put your name on the pleading.”
Abbas Kazerounian (20:44):
And he was like, “I’m not really sure.”
Abbas Kazerounian (20:47):
And then all my friends, they knew about this, and I quote, one of my friends said, “Abbas is chasing rainbows.” Those were his exact words. And Mike, to his credit, was feeding us, because he was going to PI shops and litigating the crap they didn’t want, and I was dealing with the debt collection stuff, and I was trying to get into the class action world.
Pratik Shah (21:12):
Abbas Kazerounian (21:13):
Chasing rainbows, as they said. And I said, “Mike, if we’re going to do this, we have to double down, because if I file this, and people see that it’s successful, they’re going to all file.” So within a space of six months, I filed maybe 40 class actions against Sallie Mae, Bank of America, but then Bank of America has different lines, there’s the mortgage line, there’s the auto line, there’s the credit card line. And the same with Wells Fargo, the same with Chase, and the same with HSBC, Santander, et cetera, et cetera. So within 18 months of that first lawsuit, Sallie Mae fell first for $25,000,000, and then it was Bank of America one, $13,000,000, Bank of America two, $17,000,000, Wells Fargo one, $17,000,000, and so on, and so forth.
Pratik Shah (22:01):
Abbas Kazerounian (22:03):
So, I mean, I literally made that guy a zillionaire.
Pratik Shah (22:07):
Right. Well, there’s a couple of things I want to just jump in real quick, because there was a couple of things that I think there were some important lessons in which you just talked about. One, is that your efforts compound, like you said, you took that one case, turned into two cases, three cases, as you keep grinding out, and becoming competent of the law and studying. It doesn’t happen overnight, it doesn’t happen over six months, it compounds and it grows. And you have to commit that time, and understand that it’s going to take a long time.
Abbas Kazerounian (22:36):
For sure. Absolutely. I mean, I’m talking in CliffsNotes here, right? I mean, there were hours and hours of motion practice, and there was nobody there to do the motion practice for us. And so , I would be doing it, and I’m going against Ivy League guys at national top 50 law firms, I’m going against Sheppard Mullin, I’m going against Gibson Dunn.
Pratik Shah (23:00):
Yeah, they’re taking no mercy.
Abbas Kazerounian (23:03):
They don’t care, they just want to impress their client, and the thing I always fell back to is, “Hey, if you do a good job writing, you’re dealing with the same rules of civil procedure. You’re dealing with the same case law. And I know the statute is on my side. I am going to win this.” And so, at first it was intimidating when you get Latham & Watkins on the other side, and all these different major national law firms, but after the 10th time, it’s all the same stuff.
Pratik Shah (23:33):
You said it exactly right, the statutes are the same, they don’t play by a different set of rules. The court rules, the local rules of court, are all over the internet, easy to see. It just takes time, the one advantage you have is time.
Abbas Kazerounian (23:45):
And then by that time, you realize that they’re in your wheelhouse, you set the terms, because I choose my client, they don’t. I choose my case, they don’t. I choose the forum, they don’t, And so, I choose the courses of action, they don’t.
Pratik Shah (23:59):
The other thing is they don’t even know you’re going to sue them, until you sue them, so you’ve got the opportunity to investigate your case, make sure it’s a righteous case, make sure the law is on your side, before you go down to the courthouse and file that lawsuit.
Abbas Kazerounian (24:13):
Pratik Shah (24:17):
The other thing I was going to say is, it sounds like based on what you’re saying, the number one thing you focused on is making sure there was competent representation for your client. So that included not only doing your research, but going to somebody who’s done it, and say, “Hey look, this is what’s going on.” Maybe he didn’t do TCPA, but he had done federal class actions, and they can guide you through the process of how the judges are going to react to things. What judge, every federal judge, runs their courtroom a different way. I mean, more so than state court, federal judges have full control of their courtroom, right?
Abbas Kazerounian (24:48):
Yeah. I mean one of the biggest learning curves, was the difference between state and federal court. You can get away with so much in state court, and state court is so elastic in its flexibility if you make a mess of something. In federal court, you can really ruin a good case procedurally, if you screw that up. It’s very unforgiving, it can be very unforgiving, and the judges have a lot of discretion with that.
Pratik Shah (25:17):
They can just dismiss your case, there’s nothing you can do.
Abbas Kazerounian (25:19):
Sure. I mean, they’re not running for reelection, they don’t care.
Pratik Shah (25:23):
They’re there for life, you can’t do anything to them.
Abbas Kazerounian (25:26):
Exactly. And so it’s a very intimidating place, and it’s an art form, just to get comfortable in federal court. And it’s hard to get comfortable in federal court.
Pratik Shah (25:35):
And the deadlines in federal court are real deadlines. There’s no, “Hey, me and defense attorney, or me and plaintiff’s attorney, agreed that we’re going to extend the deadline.” No, the judge sets the deadline, and if you want to extend it, you need permission from the judge. And a lot of times the judge will give it to you, but you still got to file the proper paperwork, and let the judge know in time, that you want this extension. So, did you just rely on your co-counsel for a lot of that stuff, or what did you do with that?
Abbas Kazerounian (26:00):
No, because I’d been doing a lot of federal litigation with the FTCPA individual stuff first, before that, I was already getting very comfortable with federal court, and I began to know the judges. So the one thing I had to do, is really get to grasps with Rule 23, and really the class action practice, because that’s its own animal, it’s really its own animal.
Pratik Shah (26:24):
Got it. I want to rewind a little bit, go back to before you got into the FTCPA stuff, when you were taking anything. The Craigslist calls, the DUIs, the domestic violence, how did you make sure to provide competent representation for your clients, with being a brand new lawyer? Not working for a firm? Not having information? And getting all kinds of different clients with different kinds of issues?
Abbas Kazerounian (26:45):
That’s a really good question. And the answer is, my philosophy was always, “Take the case, ask questions later,” because if it was outside our competency level, and we felt uncomfortable, we can always associate somebody in. And I’d rather have 50% of something and bird in the hand, rather than two in the bush. So, you should never get greedy and say, “Well, I’m going to do this myself,” when you just can’t do it, because it just doesn’t work that way, because you’re going to lose your license quicker than it took you to gain it, and so I totally aware and cognizant of that.
Abbas Kazerounian (27:24):
But for example, my first DUI, I had three friends, I worked at the public defender’s office. I would call them up, and I’d be like, “Hey, tell me about this.”
Abbas Kazerounian (27:34):
And they’re like, “Let me walk you through it, this is cake. You don’t need anybody to help you, this is how you do it.” And it’s a learning curve, but the one time I was out of my depth, is because I didn’t know I was out of my depth, until it was too late. And that was also a criminal case, and I mean, it’s a crazy story. So this private investigator had come to me to buy him 30 days, because he’d bounced $120,000 worth of checks with the bank, and he’d been accused of fraud. And he said, “If you buy me the 30 days, I’ll pay the money back, and make it go away.”
Abbas Kazerounian (28:11):
So I called the bank, negotiated it, the guy gave me $3,000 for my time, I made it go away, he paid it, and I didn’t think about it again. But then, maybe six weeks later, middle of the night, 10:00 PM at night, I get a phone call, on the Boost Mobile Batphone. And I would pick that phone up anytime of the day, because you do. And it was this foreign lady who said that she was the girlfriend of that particular old client, and he’d been arrested, and his arraignment was at 2:00 PM the next afternoon. And you got to ask Mike about this story, but I’ll tell it to you, anyway. And I was like, “Well, I need money.”
Abbas Kazerounian (28:59):
And she’s like, “Oh, he’ll give it to you when you get there.”
Abbas Kazerounian (29:02):
And I’m like, “Okay, what’s it about?”
Abbas Kazerounian (29:02):
She goes, “I don’t know.” She goes, “He just said it’s just an arraignment. It’s just an arraignment.”
Abbas Kazerounian (29:07):
And in my head, I’m like, “I’ve done arraignments before. Like how hard could this be? Even though I’ve never done a federal arraignment, but whatever.” So I’m like, “Mike, you’re coming with me on this. I don’t know what the hell’s going on.”
Abbas Kazerounian (29:22):
So he is like, “Okay.” So Mike’s driving me, and we go to LA. And at 2:00, and I’m looking on the board, looking for this guy’s name and I can’t find it.
Abbas Kazerounian (29:34):
And so I go to the clerk’s office. I’m like, “Hey, I’m looking for this gentleman. And I was asked to come to represent him for an arraignment.”
Abbas Kazerounian (29:42):
And she’s like, “I can’t find it.” Then, as I was saying this, there was a DEA agent that was like finalizing a complaint, and he handed it to the clerk.
Abbas Kazerounian (29:50):
He goes, “Oh, I believe this is your client.” And he handed me the count, and it had 16 counts against my client.
Pratik Shah (29:56):
Oh, my God.
Abbas Kazerounian (29:58):
The guy had been caught transporting 40 kilos of cocaine across state lines into Florida.
Pratik Shah (30:05):
What happened to the bad checks? Not bad checks.
Abbas Kazerounian (30:07):
Yeah. So I guess he needed money to buy Coke.
Pratik Shah (30:10):
He graduated quickly from bad checks
Abbas Kazerounian (30:14):
He was selling to a DEA agent in a sting operation, allegedly. And so, allegedly, he got busted in a sting operation selling 40 kilos of Coke across state lines in a rented car.
Pratik Shah (30:27):
Abbas Kazerounian (30:28):
And I look at Mike, and my world is crumbling in front of me. I’m like, “Oh, what have I got myself into?” And I don’t know how this thing works, so I’m like, “Okay.”
Abbas Kazerounian (30:42):
So the clerks go, “Yeah, you got to go to this courtroom.” And the magistrate was doing the arraignments. And so you know, arraignments in federal court, they go to the middle of the night, as long as it takes, till everyone is being arraigned, that’s schedule for that day. And it’s already, by the time I get to court, it’s like 2:30, 2:40. And it’s such an intimidating atmosphere, you go in and everyone knows each other, and they’re all high fiving each other, all this kind of stuff.
Abbas Kazerounian (31:07):
And I’m thinking, “What the hell?” And unbeknownst me, my client had three co-defendants that all had public defenders, like federal defenders. He’s the only one that’s gone private, that will become pertinent later. So then, I’m like, “Mike, what do we do?”
Abbas Kazerounian (31:26):
He goes, “I don’t know.” And so, then we see the client coming to the cage, and then the client looks like crap. I mean, he clearly hasn’t showered, and he’s crying, and all this kind of stuff. And then, I don’t know what to do, so I wave at him. And then the bailiff is looking at me funny.
Abbas Kazerounian (31:47):
And then I’m like, “Can I speak to my client?”
Abbas Kazerounian (31:51):
And he goes, “Of course.” He goes, “Yeah, you go into the cage.”
Abbas Kazerounian (31:53):
I’m like, “Yeah, I go into the cage.”
Pratik Shah (31:54):
“I know that, I knew that. Of course, I do. Duh.”
Abbas Kazerounian (31:58):
I go into the cage, and you’re in front of all the other criminals, alleged criminals. And I’m like, “Hey, what happened?”
Abbas Kazerounian (32:08):
He goes, “Yeah, this is like totally messed up, man. You got to get me out of here.”
Abbas Kazerounian (32:11):
I’m like, “What do you mean, get you out of here?” I was like, “You’re facing 40 years in prison. What are you talking about?”
Abbas Kazerounian (32:18):
He’s like, “You need to get me out of here tonight, I’m dying. This is all a big mistake.”
Abbas Kazerounian (32:22):
And I’m like, “Listen, I’ll do my best, but no promises.” And I’m like, “But by the way, we need a retainer.”
Abbas Kazerounian (32:31):
And then he’s like, “Oh, I’ll take care of this after.” And I’m already angry, because I haven’t been paid.
Abbas Kazerounian (32:37):
So, we go out, and the DEA agent comes, and is like, “This is your client’s belongings.”
Abbas Kazerounian (32:50):
And so I’m like, “Mike, we need to do two things. We need to write a retainer agreement.” And so Mike’s in charge of writing the retainer agreement on the back of a pad, with a pertinent term. “And we need to itemize his stuff that we’re going to give to his girlfriend after the fact.” And as we through the itemization, there’s a huge role of cash. And I’m like, “This is my retainer.”
Abbas Kazerounian (33:04):
He shakes his head, and I’m like, “Let me come talk to you.” So I’m like, “Hey man, you got to pay me.”
Abbas Kazerounian (33:20):
He goes, “Okay, fine.”
Abbas Kazerounian (33:20):
So I go back in the cage, I’m like, “That’s got to be it, I mean, coming here, no notice.”
Abbas Kazerounian (33:25):
So he goes, “Fair enough.”
Abbas Kazerounian (33:26):
So we’re counting the money, so we’re having him sign it in the cage, and then I’m like, “Okay, now what do I do?” So then I go see the AUSA, and Mike thinks that’s a good idea. So I do.
Pratik Shah (33:41):
Don’t blame Mike.
Abbas Kazerounian (33:43):
No. Mike’s in the gallery, chuckling, and so this huge guy, who’s the public defender, comes up and he is like, “Yeah, I represent the co-defendant.” And we go into this private room.
Abbas Kazerounian (33:53):
And then the AUSA is like, “What would you like?”
Abbas Kazerounian (33:56):
I’m like, “I’d like OR.” Own recognizance. And then this guy, the federal defender is fucking cracking up. I’m like, “What is wrong with you?”
Abbas Kazerounian (34:09):
He goes, “There is no OR in federal court.”
Abbas Kazerounian (34:12):
And I’m like, “Well, I want it.”
Abbas Kazerounian (34:13):
And the guy’s like, “The guy’s facing 40 years. What are you talking about?”
Abbas Kazerounian (34:18):
I said, “Listen, he’s private investigator, clean record, and he’s not a security risk. He’ll give in his passport, we’ll do a conditional bond. If he doesn’t show up in Florida for his next hearing, you can basically put out a warrant for a $1,000,000.”
Abbas Kazerounian (34:33):
And the guy’s like, “I don’t know. I’ve got to talk to my supervisor.” This kid, I was so lucky was straight out of Yale, And it was his first year.
Pratik Shah (34:42):
Because if you had somebody with any experience, they would’ve just told you to get out of here.
Abbas Kazerounian (34:47):
You know what I’m saying, exactly.
Pratik Shah (34:48):
Abbas Kazerounian (34:49):
So now it’s a waiting game, and I am like a little puppy dog, and I’m following this AUSA around the courtroom, and the guy keeps turning around. I’m like, “What about now?”
Abbas Kazerounian (34:59):
And then he’s like, “Dude, just leave me alone.” I’m just relentless, I just will not give up. And so this goes on, and it’s 7:00 PM at night.
Abbas Kazerounian (35:11):
And I’m like, “Listen, we’ve been waiting for four hours. Yay or nay?” And the guy’s supervisor has clearly gone home, so he decides to make a call.
Abbas Kazerounian (35:19):
He goes, “Yeah. I pulled his credit history and his rap sheet. Fine, I’ll agree to it.”
Pratik Shah (35:27):
Oh, my goodness.
Abbas Kazerounian (35:28):
And then the federal defender hears about it, he runs into court, and he’s like, “What the fuck?” And he’s like, “I want the same deal.”
Abbas Kazerounian (35:36):
And then he is like, “Fine, okay.”
Abbas Kazerounian (35:38):
So he’s looking at me and he’s like, “You are the man.” So this goes on for a little bit, and then I’m sitting there, and I’m watching the other arraignments. And then I see this other guy who’s being prosecuted for I don’t know what, and then the federal defenders like, “Your honor, I’d like to bring a 384 motion so that the state pays for my client to go to Pennsylvania.”
Abbas Kazerounian (36:01):
And I’m like, “I’ll write that down.”
Pratik Shah (36:02):
“384, I got it now.”
Abbas Kazerounian (36:07):
I’m making up the number, whatever it was. So the judge is like, “Granted.”
Abbas Kazerounian (36:11):
And I’m all excited, I’m like, “This is great.” And so we are called, and it’s 7:30 at night already, and the judge, his name was Judge Kenton, who is now a mediator, and I met him 10 years later as a mediator. I’m like, “Judge, you remind me of this judge.” But at the time, he didn’t know me for toffee, of course. And then I was like, “So the AUSA has said, da, da, and they’ll agree to this conditional bond.”
Abbas Kazerounian (36:39):
He goes, “What?” He goes, “Sidebar, right now.” And the entire day, no sidebars had gone down. So I’m going there, and then the judge starts chewing out the AUSA, he’s like, “You better know what you’re doing, this is outrageous.”
Pratik Shah (36:54):
Oh, my God.
Abbas Kazerounian (36:56):
And so we go back, and then he goes, “You got anything else?”
Abbas Kazerounian (37:00):
And then my client puts his hand up, “Can I surrender my passport at 9:00, not 8:00? Because I haven’t slept.”
Abbas Kazerounian (37:12):
And he goes, “Anything else?”
Abbas Kazerounian (37:13):
And I’m like, “Yes, one more thing your honor.”
Abbas Kazerounian (37:14):
He goes, “What?”
Abbas Kazerounian (37:15):
“I’d like to bring a 384 motion to have state pay for the extradition to Florida.”
Abbas Kazerounian (37:24):
He’s like, “Let me get this straight. Your client is the only one with a private lawyer, your client is the only one with a stack of cash in his private property with a private lawyer, with this crazy outrageous deal that I don’t approve to. And that you want the state to pay for him to go to Florida.”
Abbas Kazerounian (37:38):
I’m like, “It was worth an ask, your honor.”
Pratik Shah (37:40):
Abbas Kazerounian (37:43):
And then when I said that, actually, that made him crack up.
Pratik Shah (37:46):
Abbas Kazerounian (37:47):
I thought, long story, well, not short, because it was a long story. Long story is I walked him, I walked him that night.
Pratik Shah (37:55):
No way. But you’re just like, “Well, I guess I’m a federal criminal defender now.”
Abbas Kazerounian (38:01):
Well, the head of the federal defender, he was the deputy head, not that head. He offered me a job on the way out. You ask Mike, he offered me a job at the federal defenders when we left. And Mike was like, “Take it, take it.”
Pratik Shah (38:13):
Now, did you show him the wad of cash and be like, “Can you pay me in wads of cash? Because that might do it.”
Abbas Kazerounian (38:18):
No, I just needed to get out of there, I just needed to get out.
Pratik Shah (38:21):
Oh my God. That one of those days when you’re starting out, you just go home and you need to have a drink, because you’re like, “What did I get myself into?”
Abbas Kazerounian (38:30):
Honestly, I don’t even know how that happened, that would never happen now. It was just totally beginners luck, and all the stars were aligned. If that happened right now, me being a 15 year lawyer, that would not happen.
Pratik Shah (38:45):
Right. Another thing you brought up that I think is an important point, is you called a lot of people for help. Throughout these stories that you’ve told us, not only did you go to the law library and do your own research. You called your friends that were public defenders. You found this federal court class action guy. It sounds like through this process, you’re constantly trying to find people that can help you, and I did the same thing going through it. I would just Google lawyers, and find somebody to talk to me and tell me how to do this area of law, because I didn’t know what I was doing, but did you do that for everything when it came to the domestic violence, and all the other things you were doing?
Abbas Kazerounian (39:20):
Of course, luckily, both Mike and I had a very good network from law school. And so, we knew all our friends, because that’s the only network we had. We knew what kind of firms they were working at, where they were working, and we utilized our network to its absolute maximum, considering where we were in our career at that particular time. Obviously, my network now is very different to what it was 15 years ago.
Pratik Shah (39:45):
Well, here’s a question. How do you get these people to help you? What do you do for them? What do you offer them? How do you, get them to help you?
Abbas Kazerounian (39:53):
I mean, I’m just asking them for 10 minutes of their time, whatever. These are friends, and so as long as you’re willing to reciprocate, if my buddy called and goes, “Hey, my mom is being sued by debt collector.” I’m not going to charge him for that, because he’s my buddy. And so, I’m going to represent them, because if you act kindly towards your brethren and your sisters, you would hope, you wouldn’t do it with the expectation that they’re going to reciprocate, but I can tell you that kindness usually comes around in multiples to you. And I think, one of the early lessons I’ve learned in life, is that if you’re good to people, they tend to be good back to you.
Abbas Kazerounian (40:33):
And so, we were lucky that we had good friends, and to the degree we can help them, we’ve always helped them, and vice versa. And I think any lawyer, doesn’t matter who you’re dealing with, whether you’re talking the top brass of the legal fraternity, all the way to the very bottom, I doubt very few would show up and say, “I got to where I am today with no help from anybody.” Everybody that I know, even very successful lawyers, far more successful than myself, have always had mentors, people they relied on, and people that’ve leaned on in hard times, to help them. And I can tell you, I was very fortunate that we had good friends that could help us.
Abbas Kazerounian (41:16):
It was a little unconventional, it wasn’t what I would recommend to everybody, because your personality needs to suit that journey. But these people helped us, and they weren’t all necessarily, what I would describe top brass of the legal fraternity, but they had enough knowledge and know how, to be dangerous in their fields, to be able to help us get through our particular challenges and hurdles for that particular day, until we built up a subject matter expertise, where we started concentrating and started then referring other cases out.
Pratik Shah (41:45):
Right. And a couple of things there is, one, you can’t be afraid to ask. A lot of people, their egos get in the way, they don’t want to ask for help, because it makes people think that they’re not good enough. I ask for help, daily, all the time. And people are willing to help, and I’m willing to offer help. Sounds like you come from that same thought process.
Abbas Kazerounian (42:04):
Absolutely. I mean, what’s the worst that can happen? They say, “No, I’m too busy.”
Abbas Kazerounian (42:07):
“Okay, I’ll call the next person.”
Pratik Shah (42:09):
Exactly, call the experts. But you can’t have an ego about it if you’re trying to just take flight, you’re trying to get this thing off the ground. You can’t have an ego about it, and I think that’s the one thing, is if you want to start your practice, you got to just put the ego to the side and just work on what you need to work on, to get to the result you need to get to. So, bringing it back down to bras tacks, let me ask you a couple questions. We heard about that first year, the first couple years, how many years, or how much time would you say it took, from the day you started your practice, you and Mike started your practice, till that point, when you really turned a corner and felt like, “Okay, we got something here, this thing’s rolling?”
Abbas Kazerounian (42:45):
I think it was two and a half years before we knew we were onto something, and then it was probably four or five years before there was a monetary change in our lives. There’s different defining moments, it could be something as small as, “Oh, hello, Mr. Kazerounian. Good to see you in my courtroom, again.”
Abbas Kazerounian (43:09):
As small as that is, you are a staple in that legal world, legal fraternity, that little microcosm of the legal world throughout the United States like, “That’s my courthouse. I belong there.” To how many zeros are in the end of your bank account.
Abbas Kazerounian (43:29):
But for me, money is very important, I’m not going to be disingenuous about that, of course, but it’s a byproduct of what I get off on, it just happens that. I probably would not be doing it, if the money could be as good, but I do what I do, because I love doing it. And so, all the federal areas of law that I do, which is 99% of my practice, it’s all gray in what the law is. Negligence law, for the most part, has been the same for the last 200 years. Whereas, the statutes I’m working with, the oldest of them are from the 1960s and the newest are from the 1990s. So there’s this huge disparity of what the law is from circuit to circuit, even from different areas split within the circuits. And I really get off on trying to edge the law in the favor of the consumer and for my clients, with every written motion, with every dispute that there is.
Abbas Kazerounian (44:31):
And I see that as an opportunity to expand the law. Every case is not just about the case for me, it’s bigger than that, because every decision has a consequence that’s going to affect my other cases, and other consumers’ cases. Whereas, if you lose a talk case, in an average fender bender, rear ender, the law’s not going to change, because of it. And I personally really get off on that, and be having that kind of responsibility, which I take very, very seriously. And being able to massage and get creative with the law, in trying to help my clients, I get that creative element that in other areas you may not necessarily get.
Pratik Shah (45:08):
Yeah. The stakes are bigger, because of course, the stakes are big for every single one of everybody’s clients, because for the client, that’s it, that’s their only case. But from a community perspective, from a law perspective, the stakes are bigger here, because there could be a published opinion, that changes the law in the favor of the consumer, or against the consumer.
Abbas Kazerounian (45:27):
Yeah. At one stage, where the TCPA law was really, really bad, the seminal case for consumers was my case from the Ninth Circuit which I argued, which was a case called Marks versus crunch of San Diego. And it was actually cited by the US Supreme Court, in the subsequent case, in Duguid versus Facebook. And because of this federal practice, I’ve actually filed papers in three different cases with the United States Supreme Court. And on one case, I was literally a hairs’ width away from arguing in front of the Supreme Court, but it got settled before it got there. And so having the legal aspect of it, really is a massive thing to me, and it’s what motivates me. I mean, there are other things that motivate me, but when these times come, I’m getting sworn in at Supreme Court and not just as a tourist attraction thing, but, “Hey, I may actually be here.”
Pratik Shah (46:27):
“I might be arguing a case here.”
Abbas Kazerounian (46:29):
Right. And I’ve argued, probably, I don’t know how many times in a circuit court level, and I know I’m one step away from the US Supreme Court. And that to me, that’s the big arena, you’re there.
Pratik Shah (46:45):
That’s the pinnacle of the profession, of course it is.
Abbas Kazerounian (46:49):
Absolutely. And so, that’s what really gets me going. And like I said, the money is important, but it’s a byproduct of what I’m really passionate about.
Pratik Shah (46:57):
So let me ask you this, you obviously started your practice, took you a couple years to get some traction, about four or five years to really start financially making sense. Somebody wants to start their practice, they come to you and they say, “Mr. Kazerounian, I want to start my practice. What’s the one piece of advice you can give me?”
Abbas Kazerounian (47:16):
I think its several things. I think the first thing is, why do you want to start your own practice? And what I mean is, what is motivating you? Because if it’s to just go be the better lawyer you can, then it may not make sense to you to go start your own law firm. But if it’s like, “I genuinely want to work for myself.” Then my next question is, what do you want to be a specialist in? Because being a jack of all trades, and master of none, very rarely is going to make you a successful lawyer, because every lawyer I know, that’s successful, is really good, at least, at one thing. And everybody knows, “I go to that person for that one thing.” Whether it’s elder abuse, whether it’s just to try a case, whether it’s real estate law, they have that niche specialty. What is that? What is it that you’re most passionate about?
Abbas Kazerounian (48:11):
Number two, don’t forget that it’s a business first, a law firm second. I think that’s really, really important.
Pratik Shah (48:19):
You have to make business decisions.
Abbas Kazerounian (48:21):
For sure, unless you keep the lights on, you can’t help anybody. And so, you have to understand it’s a business first.
Abbas Kazerounian (48:28):
And I think number three, and these are in no particular order. Number three, is that the most creative lawyers, become the best lawyers. In however way you measure success, whether it’s in results, or whether it’s in monetary terms, or whatever proxy that you use. If you try to follow the conventional route, there’s some fundamental foundational issues that you need to follow foundationally, you can’t start Shepardizing in a creative way, because the Bluebook is the Bluebook.
Pratik Shah (49:00):
Right. But what you mean is, just because somebody argues a certain way, doesn’t mean you have to follow that argument. You can be creative in your own argument, as long as it’s within the bounds of the law, and don’t be afraid to push the envelope. I think that’s a mistake a lot of people make, is they feel like, “Oh, well, I don’t know anybody else doing this.” Don’t worry about if anybody else is doing this.
Abbas Kazerounian (49:19):
100%. So, it’s the way you interpret statutes. Let me give you a crude analogy, this is a small example. So, one of the statutes I use is a recording statute, which is actually a penal code is California Penal Code 630, et seq. Which has a civil element to it, which says that in California, we’re a two party state, meaning that I can’t record a telephone call with somebody else, unless they give me consent at the beginning of the phone call.
Pratik Shah (49:44):
Oh, speaking of which, this is being recorded.
Abbas Kazerounian (49:50):
You’re guilty of a misdemeanor, sir.
Abbas Kazerounian (49:55):
And so, for the most part, when you call banks or whatever, they changed their policies in 2012, 13, because a lot of my lawsuits. So when you call, there’s a prerecorded IVR now, let’s say Bank of America, for example, there’s a prerecorded IVR that says, “All calls may be monitored or recorded for quality assurance.” Now they think that adhered to the statute, and using common sense, potentially. But I’ve made the argument that this call may be monitored or recorded doesn’t tell me anything, because if they’re saying may, they’re also telling me it may not.
Pratik Shah (50:29):
Abbas Kazerounian (50:32):
It’s that ability. And again, it’s a crude analogy, and it’s not really honing in the point as well as I want it to.
Pratik Shah (50:40):
I know exactly what you’re talking about.
Abbas Kazerounian (50:41):
But it’s the ability for the lawyer to take a step back, look at the statute, or look at the language in question, and go, “Is it saying what they’re purporting it to say, how am I going to interpret this?” And at the end of the day, your job is to go to persuade a judge, that it means what you believe it says, rather than what the other side believes it says. And is that ability to be creative in your arguments, because I’m like, “Actually, they’re telling me they may not be recording me.”
Pratik Shah (51:08):
Abbas Kazerounian (51:09):
Which is as true.
Pratik Shah (51:12):
And that’s not what the statute says.
Abbas Kazerounian (51:13):
I’ve had a judge buy off on that, and I’ve had a judge tell me go pound sand on that.
Pratik Shah (51:17):
Abbas Kazerounian (51:19):
And again, it’s about being smart, knowing your forum, knowing your judges, knowing the law, and being an authority on the subject matter that you’re going to go be creative about. And that creativity, and it could be in trial practice, it could be in statutory interpretation, it could be in motion practice and oral argument, it could be in everything. And it could be in the way you run your business, but creativity is a key element that distinguishes exceptional lawyers, from good lawyers.
Pratik Shah (51:45):
Yeah. I agree. I mean, that was awesome. We’re going to have to wrap up, because we’re wrapping up on time, but I need more of these stories from the early years, that was fantastic, I was captivated, I was losing track of time.
Pratik Shah (51:57):
So I appreciate you being on, I just want to say to everybody that’s listening. Thank you. Go out there. And just because guys like Abbas make it look effortless now, doesn’t mean that it was effortless in the beginning. So go forth, be creative and work hard. Thank you, Abbas.