Law School Friends Talk About Their Journey Together.
(Original Published by The Western State College of Law Alumni’s Legacy Magazine in November 2018)
Christopher Montes de Oca (Class of 2006 | Dean’s Counselor) and Artin Yadegarian (Class of 2006) met over 15 years ago at Western State University College of Law in the summer of 2003. Chris had just flown back from living in Spain for over a year the Friday before classes began and Artin was pumped up to see what all the hype about law school was and eager to start a new chapter. The two of them came from very different cultures, yet bonded together immediately. Both did not have any family in the legal profession or any experience with the law. Both had no idea what to expect. They joke today that they were burnt out after the first week of classes.
Chris and Artin relied on each other to pass their classes especially Torts which they both exclusively practice now. Artin says that he taught Chris everything about the class 30 minutes before the final and that Chris got a higher score than him.
When Chris is asked about Torts he says that he remembers being in Torts class and the professor called on him and she said, “Mr. Montes de Oca, can you explain to the class what ‘custom’ is?” He responded, “What do you mean by custom?” And the professor’s eyes opened really wide and she said, “Like the title of the chapter that you were supposed to read.”
While Artin persevered to get good grades, excelled in his classes and found a law firm to work at, he was one of the shier students in school. He is always remembered by Chris and other classmates as being quiet and humble all the while working hard to understand the ins and outs of law school and the legal profession. Chris is similarly humble and hardworking, though not known for being shy. They saw early on that they had complementary strengths and each shared a strong work ethic and a genuine desire to help people.
They both studied their way through law school and now work together representing victims in personal injury cases. After experiencing their own hurdles in graduating law school, taking the bar and practicing law, they now excel in Torts with several multi-million dollar cases and a recent car accident verdict for over ten million, which has received a lot of recognition in the legal community and has been considered one of the top 5 interesting verdicts in 2017 for automobile negligence cases in all of the United States.
Earlier this year, Chris was awarded the Rising Star Award from Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles (CAALA), the nation’s largest plaintiff attorney organization. Chris tried a case last month that made national headlines as a case of first impression providing a significant benefit to the public and policy change against the Los Angeles County Coroner’s office affecting over 10,000,000 residents.
Even though there are thousands of attorneys in California, they both say that the legal community feels very small. Chris and Artin run into their WSU classmates all the time, whether it be at court, as opposing counsel, gatherings or CLE conventions. They say that WSU has the largest alumni population of any law school in Orange County so this is especially true for those who practice in the Los Angeles and Orange County areas.
They are often times asked by their WSU classmates and other colleagues to consult on severe injury cases or are associated-in for trial purposes. While they both run their own private practices as solo practitioners, they choose to represent many clients together. They work well as a team and have had great success in their joint litigation endeavors. They look forward to giving back to WSU where their relationship started, mentor the current class, and assist their WSU classmates and colleagues in any way they can with their personal injury cases.