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    In this episode of Settlement Nation  we chat with Arash Homampour, a trial attorney and the owner of the Homampour Firm in California, representing individuals in catastrophic injury/wrongful death, employment and insurance bad faith matters.

    Arash shares his success of obtaining between $2.5 million to $60 million in trial results in the last 5 years for his clients, as well as how he was an innovator in leveraging technology in the courtroom. We also discuss the secrets behind his big verdicts and what he does differently than other trial attorneys that lead to these results.

    Listen to the podcast below now!

    Read the Transcript

    Courtney Barber:

    Welcome, Settlement Nation subscribers. I am Courtney Barber and today I am joined once again by my co-host, Chris Bua, as well as our most, I would say, decorated guest yet, Arash Homampour. Now Arash is a trial attorney and the owner of the Homampour Firm in California, that represents individuals in catastrophic injury, wrongful death, employment, and insurance bad faith matters, obtaining over half a billion dollars in settlements, verdicts and judgements for his clients. Since 2016, he has been named one of the top 30 plaintiffs attorneys in California and in 2010 was named CAALA's trial attorney of the year. Between now and then, just very casually, he has obtained multi-million dollar verdicts pretty much every single year since then. So welcome, Arash.

    Arash Homampour:

    Thank you for having me. Hello.

    Courtney Barber:

    It's great to have you here. As I said, you have so many accolades. I had to try and pick out a few things to add to your intro, and that would have gone on for the whole podcast, because you have got so many accolades behind your name. Just to begin, and this really is a testament to your outcomes, what do you do differently than other trial lawyers and why do you think that leads to your success?

    Arash Homampour:

    Well, I think the key to being the best trial lawyer is to be the best human being possible. We're all individuals and we all have a unique talent and skillset and perspective and connection that if you really are your best version, people will see that and embrace it, connect with you, and typically you'll win. I think what distinguishes me is what distinguishes everybody. That's the beauty of being a trial lawyer is that everyone's different, everyone has a different approach, their own style, but they can shine because they are authentic, organic, connected, believable, lovable, kind, generous. So that's what makes people shine in life and that's what makes trial attorneys shine in the courtroom.

    Chris Bua:

    Arash, I was looking at your site and looking at some of the things that you've done over your career, and it looks like you have a real keen interest on technology and how it integrates into the legal community and practice. I have a few questions, we'll start with how well do you think trial attorneys are leveraging technology to improve the way they present their arguments and whenever a jury's in the courtroom?

    Arash Homampour:

    The top trial attorneys are all using trial technology as a tool to better communicate with jurors and get their point better understood, and to have jurors remember things. It's something I've been doing for the last 25 years because it works. Visual communication works. It grabs the jurors' attention, helps them remember, helps them understand basic concepts that are better understood visually than they would be to simply if you're speaking. We live in a world where people's attention span is getting shorter and shorter, so you need to engage the jurors and visual communication works.

    Arash Homampour:

    If you look at all the top trial attorneys throughout the country, they're using some form of trial technology. For me, personally, trial technology not only is a way to get my point across easier and better for the jurors to understand and remember, but for me, it frees me up to be organically present with the jury. It allows me to never rely on notes or outlines, which I never use for any part of my trial, whether it's opening or closing, voir dire, I rarely, if anything maybe use a one page outline with three things on it. But I don't use notes and that allows me to be present, pick up on things in terms of what's going on in the courtroom, and just be a better communicator with the jury.

    Chris Bua:

    You mentioned a lot of the top attorneys are already using technology effectively. What about some of the attorneys that maybe want to get to that next level, how could they use it in a better way than they are now?

    Arash Homampour:

    Well, pre-plan your trial. Start thinking, "How can I get this point across visually?" It all comes down to things like using graphics to show injuries or to show timelines or concepts, to create animations to illustrate otherwise complex causation issues or damage issues. And again, graphics are a springboard for you to start talking and explaining and teaching, in many instances, these concepts to jurors so they understand what it is you're trying to say. Sometimes people overdo it, they'll spend a lot of money on a very fancy animation and not realize that it could actually be used against them.

    Arash Homampour:

    Pretty much in every single trial, a case will come down to one graphic, one picture, one slide that really illustrates the whole case. So you don't want to over-complicate things and do too much graphics or technology, and you want to understand the power of them, but you also have to remember we're trial lawyers, and at the end of the day, it's really about you connecting with the jury, speaking to them from your heart and getting them to understand why it is they need to vote in your favor.

    Chris Bua:

    Before we leave technology, do you have maybe a favorite example of a past case where you used technology and it really made a difference?

    Arash Homampour:

    Every single case we use technology to show every aspect of our case. For example, we had a trial involving a claim that the trucks designed that are out there, over a million trucks, Class 8 semi-trucks have these diesel fuel tanks that are exposed and on the exterior of the truck. We were trying to show how dangerous they were and we created a pretty complex animation to show that. But at the end of the day, the best animation was the defense animation, where they reconstructed what they wanted the jury to believe was how the accident happened and were trying to say for the jury that the exposed diesel tank didn't contribute or cause this person's unnecessary death.

    Arash Homampour:

    They had spent, I think, way over half a million dollars on experts and on this particular animation. The beauty of this trial was we turned that animation around against them, freezing it frame by frame and showing how it was not only wrong, but it was actually untruthful. Anyone with a brain or anyone with any credibility would look at that and go, "We can't show this to the jury." Yet the defense did and it allowed me to make an argument consistent with our theme was that the defense, in this case the big product manufacturer, was not being straight with the jury. I think it was instrumental in us winning our case. So for anyone listening, I'm always excited to look at what the defense uses in terms of trial technology and seizing opportunities to undermine their credibility and reveal the truth for the jury.

    Chris Bua:

    That's great. That's a topic that we haven't covered in past episodes. I'm glad that we got to speak with you on it. I've got one other question, which is when you're looking at just attorneys in general, what are some of the attributes that you think they have to have to be a great attorney? And then what are maybe some of those less obvious attributes?

    Arash Homampour:

    For me, the most important attribute for any attorney is be a good human being. Be well-rounded, be self-aware, be humble, have humility. But at the same time, also believe in yourself. I have two pieces of advice to young or other attorneys when I give lectures, I do a lot of lecturing on being a trial attorney, is, one, be nice at all times. The power of being kind and nice is a superpower. It actually takes effort not to react, be a jerk, be pedestrian and angry or upset or triggered. It takes more power and effort to take the high road and always be kind. That's a number one skillset for all humans and it's especially effective for trial attorneys. And then number two is get out of your own way.

    Arash Homampour:

    I remember telling a bunch of attorneys, it's like, "Look, you passed the bar. There's a certain level of intelligence that you already have to get this far. Trust yourself." Many times in life, independent of the issue of just being the best trial lawyer, is that we get in our own way, in our negative mind, our laziness or thinking that we're not good enough or whatever bologna that monkey chatter goes off in your head, whatever it tries to convince you of, the number one thing is get out of your own way, your own greatness. So that's the best two things I look for in trial attorneys, are they someone who is self-aware and understands these things and uses these techniques? Again, it's weird to say being kind is a technique, but there are a lot of people who aren't intuitively or naturally kind, they just weren't raised in that environment. I'm here to tell you that you can learn that technique and implement it and fake it until you make it.

    Courtney Barber:
    That is really great advice. Speaking of advice for other trial attorneys and trials in general, one thing that our listeners love hearing about is successful trial lawyers' prep routine. So the things that you do before you have a trial that set you up for success every time. Do you want to share some of those steps or routines that you have?

    Arash Homampour:

    Well, obviously to be a successful trial attorney and win at trial, you need to know your case inside and out. You have to immerse yourself in all of the details. But just as important for you to immerse yourself, it's also important to take a step back and look at the case, not from the perspective of a lawyer, but look at it from the perspective of a human being; what are the real issues humans who are going to be deciding your case are going to be thinking about when deciding your case? And sometimes they're issues that they're not supposed to think about, but you'd still need to address.

    Arash Homampour:

    So it's critical to immerse yourself so that when you walk in the courtroom you know that case, you know those topics, you know those issues better than anyone in the room. But it's also important for you to have a wider, broader perspective on what are the real issues going on. When I explain legal concepts to the jury, I just don't read the law, I give them the common sense background of why this is the law, why does it make sense this is the law? Why is it important that you enforce this law? What's the consequence of not enforcing this rule or this law? So I think it's just really important to immerse yourself and then take a step back and understand and explain things simply in a way that the jurors understand how it relates to their life.

    Courtney Barber:

    That's really fascinating. Actually in an interview that we did with Keith Bruno from CZ&R a few weeks ago, he spoke about in his prep routine that he uses both audio and then visual and reading to really understand the case. Do you have a specific way that you like to absorb information or something that you do? Do you record the notes and listen to them back to yourself? How do you get into the right mindset?

    Arash Homampour:

    So it's actually interesting. A lot of attorneys will write out their opening and exams and listen to themselves. I rehearse absolutely nothing. I don't prepare in that way at all. And it's deliberate. I want to be as organic and as present as possible. If I have rehearsed anything I'm saying I'm stuck to sticking to what I think I should say, rather than trusting my abilities on the fly organically to speak. Invariably, when you speak organically, you will connect with people better. Just an example is if someone reads a speech versus if someone just speaks from their heart. When you speak from your heart, you're way more connected and you have a better chance of convincing and communicating than you do if your just eyes are down and you're reading a set of notes. Likewise, if you've memorized something and you're worried about making sure you hit all the points, you're just not going to be as connected. So for me, in terms of do rehearse? Absolutely not. Why? I trust myself. And even if I say words wrong or my grammar isn't perfect, it doesn't matter. If I'm speaking from my heart, I'm definitely connecting.

    Courtney Barber:

    And speaking of verdicts, and still on the topic of trials, you've obtained many successful trial results ranging from $2.5 million to $60 million, including last year I saw on the top verdicts that you had a $30 million verdict in a wrongful death case. Do you have a specific case or trial that stands out to you, Arash, that is something that you... Even years past, it could be that it's still something that is really top of your mind in terms of a really interesting case?

    Arash Homampour:

    Well, it's like asking which one of your hit songs or your children is your favorite. I have 50 children, some legitimate, some illegitimate, that I love deeply and profoundly. But one of the best cases, the trial was in 2015, I took on this huge corporation, like billions of dollars in assets at Sunbeam. It was a defective heater case. Now all of my trials are against big corporations or big public entities. So there's nothing unique about that. All of them involve underdogs scenarios where, if you look at the case, you're like, "There's no way we're going to win." You understand logically the arrogance of the defendant in refusing to settle. In this particular case, it's a wrongful death case and the defense attorneys were particularly arrogant, which I love because when they're arrogant, they're going to miss a lot of things. When they underestimate me, that's when it's best at trial for me.

    Arash Homampour:

    They offered $5,000 to settle this case, and I remember sending them an email in response to that offer saying, "You might as well have just asked me to pay you money to settle this case." It was just such a surreal, ridiculous thing for them to do because at that point I already had won lots of trials and verdicts and had a pretty decent name. So it was just surprising that they would offer that kind of money. Then we went to trial in one of the most conservative jurisdictions, Orange County Federal Court, that most people would never even try case, let alone think they could win, because you've got sometimes either limited voir dire or no voir dire. It's a super conservative jurisdiction. The judges are conservative and the trial process is like rocket fuel. A normal trial like this would take a month or six weeks, in a federal courtroom takes four or five days, which is what happened.

    Arash Homampour:

    The outcome in that case was we won $60 million against this defendant that had offered $5,000. The beauty of it was they kept appealing, appealing, appealing, and it was affirmed on appeal and we got paid every penny. So for me, it wasn't really the dollar amount that stands out the most, but it was just the arrogance of the defense and the difficulty and complexity of the case. It really highlighted what I think my skill set is, taking some case that is conceptually unwinnable or super difficult to understand, winning it through making it simple and connecting directly with the jury and getting to understand why such a terrible thing had happened and how it had been preventable in terms of this defective heater design.

    Courtney Barber:

    That definitely leads on to the next question, which they do relate to each other, is that you are getting bigger verdicts than other trial attorneys with similar cases. Why do you think that is?

    Arash Homampour:

    Well, the reason I get larger verdicts, exponentially larger verdicts, than a lot of other attorneys is because I don't let the past or my past define who I am in the moment. So if I get a big verdict, I don't act like I'm all that and let my ego run amok, and then walk into a courtroom, because then I'm not going to connect with anybody. If I also lose once in a while, we lose very rarely, but I've lost cases, I don't make that mean anything about myself and then walk into a courtroom and go, "Oh, I lost and I'm worried about this." I'm always trying to be who I am in the moment. There are no statistics that apply to what I value a case on. It's not like a look at, "What did this other attorney get on this case?" and then try and beat that. I create new reality. There is no box. For me, it's about getting outlier results and getting results that no one even imagined because that's the power of being a trial lawyer is that you can make a change that no one's ever done before.

    Arash Homampour:

    I've won trials like the defective trucking case, where we won proving that the design of the truck having the diesel fuel tanks on the exterior was a design defect, I don't think anyone's ever won that case. And I won the case. Why? Because I don't really care what anybody else has done before me. I don't care what I've done. I don't care what you've done. I'm a different animal. I'm self-aware. I'm in it to win it. If you want to take your chances against me, defense, go for it. Do I know I'm going to win? No, but am I going to be eating, breathing, drinking, sleeping, to win this case and to get a result that freaks you out, that you never thought could happen? Yeah, that's what my existence on this Earth is to do. If anyone's going to do it, it's going to be me. There's also a lot of extra confidence genetically burned into my DNA.

    Chris Bua:

    There was a book that came out years ago that you may have read, it was really popular, it was called Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. In the book, he talks about how it takes a lot of people 10,000 hours to get everything to click and for you to hit your peak in whatever you're doing, whether it's sports, music, et cetera. I'm sure it applies to the legal world as well. So I wanted to ask you, do you remember when everything clicked for you for the first time as an attorney and when was that and what did that feel like?

    Arash Homampour:

    Well, I've always said this before, I was the kind of person that I'm like, "Give me the ball. I'm Kobe or even better, just give me the ball and get out of my way." My whole thing was getting the ball, getting someone to put me in a game, give me the ball and let me do what I do. So, the second I walked into a courtroom, the first time I did a trial within weeks of becoming a lawyer, I knew I was home. I knew I was comfortable. It was kind of effortless. I was in the zone. I remember I won this business litigation case against a big law partner, my first trial, and literally the judge looked at me and winked at me and said, "You're good at this." And I knew. So I just knew I'd be great as a trial attorney. I still always believe in myself. So when did it click? The second I walked into a courtroom.

    Chris Bua:

    That's a great answer. Well, this leads us to the question we ask every attorney, and I'm really interested to hear your response after that answer, which is, what's something that maybe you know now that you wish you knew a lot earlier in your career?

    Arash Homampour:

    Well, I wish I was nicer when I started out. Even to this day, I'm human, I get triggered. It's very strange, I don't react often, I'm not someone that traffic incidents get me angry or big life events get me angry. They don't. I'm really not an angry person. I get triggered by weird things. But I do get upset by defendants that make bogus, ridiculous arguments. When I was younger, I would get a little bit more angry in the courtroom. It's just not professional and jurors don't like when you get personal. So the one thing I wish I knew, and I still have to work on, is consistently not reacting and trying to be nice and respond in a dignified manner. Even when the defendant's doing something that's indignant and offensive.

    Courtney Barber:

    That's really great advice. Here's one last question for you, Arash. I was actually speaking with an attorney yesterday and mentioned that we're doing an interview with you today, and I said, "This is your chance, if you have a question that you want me to ask him, what would it be?" And so this is from your many fans out there. He wanted to know, obviously you've got so many cases on the go, you have to keep your energy high to be able to perform at the level you do, personally, do you have a daily routine that you stick to? Or how do you keep your energy at that high level to be able to go out and fight for justice for your clients every day?

    Arash Homampour:

    Well, first, I don't really understand when anyone is doing anything that they don't love. So if you love what you do, it's not work. It's fun, it's play. I'm at that point and have been at that point that I could go 24 hours without sleep and if I'm in trial, it's where I belong. It's where I thrive. It's where I make a difference. So for me, the energy is endless and boundless in terms of being a trial lawyer. But I do think it's very important for other humans, attorneys especially, to focus on their mental wellbeing, to read, be self-aware, take care of your vessel or your body. I do a lot of hot yoga. I exercise a lot. I also think it's critical that you pursue other passions and hobbies so that you're well-rounded, and you're not just stuck with the practice of law.

    Arash Homampour:

    It's hard as a young attorney starting out with all the expenses and overhead and hard work you have to put into to balance life and work. But when you get to the point that you're making enough money that you can live, you need to shift and start focusing on being a better parent or husband or spouse or friend or human. Because, I think for me, I wasn't just put on this earth to be an amazing trial attorney. That's Arash on autopilot. I think it was genetically designed in me, as long as I've found this occupation, I'd be doing great without really trying too hard because it's wired in me. The real big issue is how am I going to take these skills and talents and make the biggest impact on the universe as possible and not just be a consumer buying things and selling things.

    Arash Homampour:

    So for me, the key is to really find out what is your talent and then how can you make the biggest impact? So I'm doing a lot of stuff outside of law that makes the practice of law so much more fun. I deejay, I produce records, I started a record label, I'm starting a nonprofit. I guess we could go on for another 20 minutes, but that answer should help people understand where I'm coming from and where I find this boundless energy is I just love life. I love the opportunities I get to do what I do and making a difference. It's just a beautiful existence that I live.

    Courtney Barber:

    Actually, speaking of your deejaying, that's the first time that I actually saw you as you were deejaying at a Law Di Gras event last year. So there we go, it all comes back around full circle and it was fantastic. So, okay, we're at the end now. This is the time you get to give yourself a plug. The defense has left the building because they're all scared. How do people get in touch with you if they want to refer a case with you, if they want to work with you, give us all your info.

    Arash Homampour:

    So first of all, I offer my advice, help, assistance, guidance with no strings attached. We have enough cases, I'm not really looking and the point of me communicating with you is not to get your case. In fact, if I can help you with your case for free so that you keep all the money, I do it. You could talk to me about legal issues, life, law related issues. If you need a copy of something, we've pretty much done everything in terms of discovery, depositions, or pleadings, you're more than welcome to ask me. I give you my cell phone number, but don't abuse it. 323.252.7921. Best is to text me, put your name in the text. If you have a question or want to talk to me, I'm always available to help and inspire other people and share the knowledge. Then if you do have a case that you need me to look at and see if we can work together on, of course, I'm always available to do that. My email is Arash@homapour.com but best is just text me and that's that.

    Chris Bua:

    Well, thank you so much, Arash. This has been a wonderful episode. Really appreciate your time. It's very generous, the offer that you made our listeners. So thank you for that. Thank you so much to our listeners for listening. Make sure you like, subscribe, review the episodes so that our content rises to the top for people looking for legal content. So thanks again and look forward to the next episode

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