Vicki Hogue-Davies 2014-09-03 01:26:49
From Architecture to Construction Law “I want to keep up with the cutting edge when it comes to technology.” Bradley Abbas discovered his passion for law while working as an intern at Connecticut’s largest architectural firm. Abbas, who had earned his bachelor’s degree in architecture from Iowa State University, went to the firm following graduation and spent three years interning there. “While I was there I became their computer graphics whiz kid,” he says. “I worked on some very large projects and would get to meet the building owners and actually work with them.” One project, unfortunately, had a fatality and OSHA got involved, he recounts. Another big project he worked on involved a client who was able to get approval for a five-story building in a suburb that had strict zoning requirements and had never allowed anything over two stories. Being involved in the meetings for both of these projects and seeing what went on behind the scenes sparked his interest in practicing law. Abbas went back to school and graduated with his Juris Doctor from Drake University in 1992. He then went looking for work. Practicing Law After his architectural internship in rainy Connecticut, Abbas decided to seek his first job as an attorney in a warm, sunny climate. The only places he interviewed were Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Phoenix, where he went to work for another solo practitioner in a broad general practice. He stayed there two-and-a-half years before going out on his own. Abbas has put his architectural background to work in the business and construction law and bankruptcy areas of his diverse practice. His practice in bankruptcy began as an offshoot of his construction practice when construction company owners fell on hard times during the economic downturn. Abbas also practices in family law, personal injury and other areas. He grew up on a farm in Iowa and points out that in the Midwest, “small town attorneys don’t tend to specialize. They assist clients who walk through the door with whatever issues are involved.” He follows this philosophy in his own firm and is very comfortable practicing in a variety of areas. He would like to increase the bankruptcy component of his practice to 50 percent. “Bankruptcy work is by far the most rewarding thing I do,” he says. “My typical bankruptcy clients have had their construction companies for 10, 15 or 20 years and the whole thing is falling apart on them. They come in here in tears. While it is emotionally difficult for clients going through bankruptcy, there is light at the end of the tunnel. When I talk to them a year or two later, they are generally incredibly satisfied with how the process went. They have gone from having creditors calling them 50 times a day, to rebuilding their businesses and their lives.” Work Philosophy Most important to how he works with his clients, in all of his practice areas, is honesty. “I believe in the Midwestern work ethic,” he says. “My client philosophy is to try and provide a valuable service at a reasonable price. I tend to be very honest with clients and tell them what I think of their case and which way it might go.” His clients are as diverse as his practice areas. He helps many Russian clients through his family law practice. He notes that his last name, which is Dutch, is a very common Arabic name and translates to something close to father in both languages. The name has gained him a fair number of Islamic clients as well. He notes that he is very open to finding translators for his non-English-speaking clients. Abbas, an early riser, begins his days walking his Maltese dog Bublik, which is Russian for pretzel, before heading to the office. Most of his work is conducted over email and electronic filings rather than face-to-face meetings. Recently, he set up an office in his home for additional efficiency. “My goal is to continue to use the highestend computers and scanning equipment so everything is available no matter where I am,” he says. “I want to keep up with the cutting edge when it comes to technology.” His biggest challenge, as it is for many solo practitioners, is running the administrative side of the firm. For example, while he does have help doing the billing, he finds having to keep track of his time for every call and email to be tedious. He therefore offers many services on a flat rate. “I enjoy doing the work, but I don’t like dealing with the mundane tasks that add nothing to the case,” he says. “I want to focus on what is important to the client.” Away From the Office In addition to his thriving practice, Abbas has served on the boards of several nonprofit organizations, helping them achieve and maintain tax exempt status. For relaxation, he enjoys playing golf and is also taking up Frisbee golf, which he notes he finds much more difficult than regular golf. He also snow skis. “I am a huge Cardinal’s fan,” he adds. “I bought tickets the first year I moved here and for a long time I went to every game.” His family includes his daughter, Anastasiya Petrova, an international model, who moved to New York at 16. “The toughest thing I ever did was getting in the cab to go back to the airport after dropping my 16-year-old off to model,” he says. Now 23, she has worked in Milan, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Athens and elsewhere throughout the world in a successful modeling career.
Published by Target Market Media . View All Articles.