Andy Cohen

Teresa Giudice

It’s time for me to wake up. I do need to read things before I sign them. I do need to understand things before I sign them. … I gotta make sure I fully understand something, or fully read it, or find a lawyer — like a contract lawyer — that could help me. Because, you know, I don’t read contracts every day.

– Real Housewives of New Jersey star Teresa Giudice, explaining some of the ways she plans to change her life in the wake of receiving a 15-month sentence for mail, wire, and bankruptcy fraud. She’ll report to prison on January 5, 2015.

(Giudice claims she was “shocked” to have received a prison sentence, even after signing a plea agreement that called for up to 27 months of jail for her crimes. Why was she so shocked? The answer might make your brain hurt.)

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I recently met Ray Zolekhian at a wedding. He went to Harvard Law School, worked as an associate at Skadden in Los Angeles, and started his own law firm with a friend, Robin Hanasab.

As soon as I heard Zolekhian’s background, I immediately guessed that he started a personal injury firm. Isn’t that the most natural progression?

Apparently so. Founded in July 2009, Hanasab & Zolekhian, LLP began as a firm specializing in restructuring commercial real estate loans. The firm then transitioned to personal injury litigation, because the founding partners found the work interesting and lucrative. But Zolekhian had no background in personal injury; according to Zolekhian, the pair was “thrown into the fire.” They were not devoid of help, however, and benefited enormously from the resources and mentoring given by other attorneys in the close-knit plaintiffs’ bar.

What does Zolekhian like most about his practice?

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