After a year of pro-bono work, Imad finally joined the private sector in 1994 where he developed an expertise in employment law litigation. Over the years, he has represented hundreds of plaintiff employment claims covering all claims of discrimination and harassment. In 1998, Imad left a prestigious business litigation law firm to form the Law Office of Mann & Elias with Scott Mann. He manages the firm’s Employment Law practice.
The least anyone can say about Imad Y. Elias’ background is that it is unusually diverse. Imad was born in the ancient city of Damascus. A year later, his father, a legendary local trial attorney, moved the family to the surging Princedom of Kuwait. There, Imad was educated under the rigorous French schooling system from Kindergarten through the Baccalaureate level. He then attended college and law school in Southern California.
Growing up in Kuwait, Imad derived a real life education well beyond the confines of school. During a time of rapid economic development, Kuwait’s population was a virtual melting pot of nationalities. Imad’s friends and classmates hailed literally from every corner of the world.
Imad counts this background as one of his major assets as a trial lawyer. “It was a priceless experience to be immersed, at a young age, in a place where such diverse cultures converged. I grew up having multi-national friends, exposed first hand to their customs and values. I learned that life can be perceived, valued and experienced in many different, but equally valid, ways, by different people. I also learned that in the end, no matter our background, we all cherish our common humanity. I learned how to understand others, and how to empathize. This is an invaluable lesson for me today, especially when I’m about to argue a client’s case to twelve different people sitting as our jury in court.”
Some say Imad empathizes too much! Upon graduation from law school, he rejected two generous job offers by insurance defense law firms. Instead, he volunteered his time at the San Fernando Valley Neighborhood Legal Services, representing indigent clients on a pro-bono basis. “I had some money saved, so I thought, why not help those who desperately need but can’t afford attorneys?” Mr. Elias argued for his clients in court nearly every day, gaining valuable court experience. “I learned how to be completely comfortable and at ease in front of judge and jury.”
In successfully prosecuting over 25 jury trials, and having represented clients in hundreds of arbitrations and mediation, Mr. Elias has demonstrated a superior ability to understand, anticipate and address all the different perspectives of any given dispute. He has often been complimented by opposing lawyers for his ‘insight’ ‘creativity’ or ‘originality’, usually in connection with jury selection, closing argument or settlement discussions. This surprises Mr. Elias. “I certainly appreciate the compliments. But I am not intentionally trying to be original. The angle with which I argue for my client in a dispute happens to be how I perceive the issue. Most attorneys think in linear fashion, because they weren’t exposed to different points of view or cultures in their past. So they perceive my approach to be fresh or novel. Of course this adds an element of surprise in my client’s favor during litigation.” Usually, this means success for Imad’s client, a good result in any culture.