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Our guest today is Ali Awad, founder of the personal injury firm Ali Awad Law.

Ali is a first-generation Palestinian immigrant who moved to an abandoned trailer in the Bible Belt at the age of three.

Like many of our guests, Ali was entrepreneurial from a young age. He used the fierce competition between his siblings to develop a work ethic that has now created one of the fastest-growing law firms in the nation.

Much of that success has been due to his skillful use of social media platforms. Ali has generated a following of more than 1.5 million on Instagram alone, and his account is often used to help others learn how to do the same.

In this interview, we discuss traditional Islamic marriage in the modern world, Ali’s dream of building the first Muslim hospital in the US, and how he made his first million only a year after being rejected by his 100th law firm.

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Transcription

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Luke W Russell:

Hey everyone. We are giving away 10 sets of signed books from our lawful good guests. The books range from memoirs to business advice to thrillers to personal development. Enter to win at lawfulgoodpodcast.com.

Ali Awad:

You should never ever make people feel like you’re nickeling and diming them. If they’re working for you and they’re putting in real effort, don’t ever nickel and dime your employees. Don’t ever go cheat on a lunch or a dinner with your employees, give them all the equipment and the technology that they need so that they can really do their jobs. Make them feel good, man. People don’t want money as much as they want appreciation. And now, I’m learning that I’m in the talent acquisition game, not the client acquisition game. In the talent acquisition game, you bring people in with a good salary, but you keep them with a good culture.

Luke W Russell:

Welcome to Lawful Good, a show about lawyers and the trials they face inside and outside the courtroom. I’m your host, Luke W. Russell. I’m not a journalist. I’m not an attorney. I’m trained as a coach. I love human connection. And that’s what you are about to hear. My guest today is Ali Awad, founder of the personal injury firm, Ali Awad Law.

Luke W Russell:

Ali is a first generation Palestinian immigrant who moved to an abandoned trailer in the Bible Belt at the age of three. Like many of our guests, Ali was entrepreneurial from a young age. He used the fierce competition between his siblings to develop a work ethic that has now created one of the fastest growing law firms in the nation. Much of that success has been due to his skillful use of social media platforms.

Luke W Russell:

Ali has generated a following of more than 1.5 million on Instagram alone, and his account is often used to help others learn how to do the same. In this interview, we discussed traditional Islamic marriage in the modern world. Ali’s dream of building the first Muslim hospital in the US and how he made his first million only a year after being rejected by his 100th law firm.

Luke W Russell:

So Ali, your family came to the US when you were three, four years old?

Ali Awad:

Yeah, I would say three years old, because I was born in 1990. My dad would basically send my mom over here to pop babies and then go back overseas. That was the old school way of becoming a citizen. And my younger brother was born in ’91 and then my sister was born in ’93. And after ’93, we just stayed in the us. So I would say I was like three years old by the time I actually fully stayed in the US.

Luke W Russell:

Yeah. And you also have a couple older siblings, right?

Ali Awad:

Right. Yeah.

Luke W Russell:

And how severe is your middle child syndrome?

Ali Awad:

With everything that I know about middle child syndrome, I would say it’s textbook where the oldest sibling, anything that they do, they’re always going to be praised and appreciated and then you can do the same exact thing and no one cares. So you always have to go above and beyond.

Luke W Russell:

Yeah.

Ali Awad:

So if you look at it, like historically, when we all started in martial arts, my brother was the first one to get a first place trophy. And I was like, “Okay, I want to go and get two first place trophies at the same time, one in fighting and one in forms.” And then, going into elementary and middle school when he’d have a math competition, I’d have to make sure that I score higher. When he’d get the SAT or the LSAT, I got to score higher.

Ali Awad:

Even when he went to law school, I decided to add the MBA because I’m like, “Oh, he got the JD. I’m getting the JD MBA.” But little did I realize that was the best thing that could have happened to me because it created this innate competitive nature. I’m very lucky because I get to learn from all the mistakes that my oldest brother made, because he is also an attorney.

Ali Awad:

Just last week he emceed the entire CEO Lawyer Summit event and we had a great time. And it was like his first professional speaking gig because he wants to do more professional speaking. So I’m like, I want to be the first one to pay you for a professional speaking gig. Yeah. I mean, middle child syndrome is real, but it’s kind of like when you’re trying to achieve a goal, it’s not so much the goal itself, but the person you become in trying to achieve the goal.

Luke W Russell:

Yeah.

Ali Awad:

So, the person that I became in trying to live up to my brother’s standards and the bar that he set created this relentless, just hungry beast that is always looking for the next best opportunity. And he already set the bar real high. So, I’m very lucky in that regard.

Luke W Russell:

Yeah. Now, what were the family dynamics like? There were five of you kids, your mom and your father and you all immigrated here around ’93. What was the dynamics like? What was your relationship with your other siblings or your parents?

Ali Awad:

So my youngest brother, Sam, we’re just 11 months apart. We’re, what did they call that, Irish twins?

Luke W Russell:

Yep. Yep.

Ali Awad:

We were the closest growing up, so we’re like best friends. We’d always hang around with each other. When we went to college, we lived together. And we still relate to each other the most. We’re just the closest, not just in age, but also just the way that we think. And I would say we’re both the most serial entrepreneurs in our family. So we just love the game. We motivate each other in unique ways because he’s got his various companies that he has and he’s very successful at them.

Ali Awad:

What we used to dream about in being able to drive the fancy cars and go to all these lavish vacations and stuff like that. What used to be a dream is the norm now.

Luke W Russell:

Yeah. Yeah.

Ali Awad:

So, we’ve always been great. And then my two older brothers, Omar and Ibrahim. Omar, he’s definitely the guy that has the biggest heart in the family. He always takes care of everyone else before himself. So, he is the most selfless person and also the hardest worker. He’s also the only one that decided to stay back and take care of my parents in Dalton because he still lives in Dalton and looks after them. Omar is like the godfather of the family. He’s always looking out for people. He’s also the guy that if you ever get into trouble, he’s the one that you want in your corner. Omar is a straight gangster, dude. I would not want to get on Omar’s bad side for real.

Ali Awad:

And Ibrahim is essentially the leader of the pack. He’s the oldest Awad. The oldest Awad the Awad generation. So my dad is the oldest of 10 siblings and his first son, Ibrahim, is the oldest boy of all of the Awad family members that were born after. So he’s kind of like the leader of the pack. And so, the same way that my dad was the leader of the pack. And sometimes that means, as the leader, as a true family leader, you have to make sacrifices so that everyone else can grow and benefit because it’s for the greater good it’s for the next generation.

Ali Awad:

So, Ibrahim makes those sacrifices for us and paves the way for us and helps with establishing the relationships and the credibility and the reputation in the community. And we all get to kind of like ride that wave. So I have great relationships, thank God, with all of my brothers. And my two sisters Malica and Rim, they’re a little younger. Malica I would say is more of a tomboy. She grew up with four boys and she always wanted to compete with us and be just like us. And that created a very relentless, hardworking person. And now she’s at the top of her game in the medical field. She’s a PA at an orthopedic clinic and she’s like the most sought after physician assistant in Georgia, because just the way that she thinks and the way that she works. It’s just not like a normal person.

Ali Awad:

And then, Rim, when you have that baby child, that baby in the family. She gets the buy. She didn’t have to really struggle as much as the rest of us, but she looks up to us and I know she does. If she focuses and really sets her mind to whatever she wants to accomplish, she’s going to have so much runway ahead of everyone else because we’ve already paved the foundation. And that’s because of the sacrifices that my dad made going back to that point.

Luke W Russell:

I know your dad was a mechanical engineer. He did an array of other work. Talk to me about the kind of work you saw him engaging in.

Ali Awad:

Not only a mechanical engineer, but graduated from Georgia Tech in 1981 with a master’s degree in three years. He was also working two or three jobs while getting his master’s at Georgia Tech. And when he graduated in ’81, top of his class, he’s just really, really good at engineering. He’s just got a crazy, crazy mind. He just knows things, man. He can draw contraptions out in his mind. And he was always, always the guy creating things.

Ali Awad:

Like we would want a very simple solution to like, hey, I need to get this bucket of paint up on the roof because I need to paint something on the roof. He would create this like a pulley and this lever and figure out a way to get it up there and just like very little effort. And that was always his thing. My dad always created things.

Ali Awad:

So in ’81, after my dad graduated, he was very sought after. And he got a job in Chicago and he started really building his reputation, started making money, sending it back home because he had 10 younger siblings that were still back in the Emirates. Well, his dad passed away. My grandfather passed away in ’84 and some of his younger siblings were 7, 8, 9 years old.

Ali Awad:

So now, there’s no father figure in the family anymore. So it’s just my grandma trying to take care of these 10 or 11 kids. So after he graduated, got his master’s and everything, got his life set, he went back to the Emirates and spent the next nine years building up every one of his siblings and sending them to the US, getting them into college, getting them their degrees, getting them their homes established, getting them married.

Ali Awad:

Because in our culture, the dad is the one that gives the hand away or gives their praise for the marriage to occur for their children. And if the dad isn’t around then it’s usually the oldest son. And so, even in my situation where my wife’s dad was murdered when she was only about a year old, her oldest brother was the one that gave her hand to me in marriage.

Ali Awad:

So my dad made sure that he did the same thing for all of his siblings. And over the course of those nine years, he really missed out on the opportunity to build a very strong financial legacy so that the entire Awad generation and the Awad family could have a life here. When he came back to the US and we started having babies here, all of the work that we were doing as kids, it went up the ladder to my dad.

Ali Awad:

So when we were working in mechanic shops age 7, 8, 9, when I was working at welding gigs with my dad on the weekends, when I was doing online sales and e-commerce, I didn’t have any bank accounts in my name. All that money went to my dad. And he would take all that money and send it to his family overseas. So, we stayed broke for my entire childhood like up until I was 18 or 19, we never had money.

Ali Awad:

And for the amount of money that we made, we should have been fine. But my dad never ever wanted to take care of himself before other people. He always wanted to make sure everyone else was taken care of. And so that’s why I always say, I’ve always had a seven figure work ethic. I’ve just had a three figure salary to go along with it for most of my life. So when you do the work and then you get the appreciation and then you also get to do whatever you want with it, now this is a lot of fun.

Luke W Russell:

Yeah. Now, you grew up with Arabic in the home. Was English a part of the house pretty early?

Ali Awad:

No. If we spoke English at home, we’d get smacked.

Luke W Russell:

I was going to ask, did you enjoy learning English? I’m kind of curious, even though you were really young when you moved here, there’s still going to be an assimilation process that both you experienced and kind of experienced through your parents. Talk to me about what those dynamics were like.

Ali Awad:

Well, my dad always believed that we’re not going to have a problem learning English because we live in the US. All the signs are English, all the radio, the TV and everything you see is in English. So you’re not going to have a problem learning English. You will have a problem holding onto your original language and culture. And that’s why he was very adamant about only speaking Arabic and only communicating in Arabic at home and between each other.

Ali Awad:

It was always, always, always [foreign language 00:13:13]. Even when we’d speak to him in English, he wouldn’t respond. He would just respond by saying, speak Arabic. And so if there’s something that we wanted and we didn’t know how to ask for in Arabic, you just don’t get it. So that’s just how my dad was. But yeah, when I was in elementary school, there were several situations that were a little awkward.

Ali Awad:

Like I remember someone asked if I was wearing blue jeans and I didn’t know what blue jeans were. I was just wearing pants that were blue color, but they were like not actual jeans. And just because I was really embarrassed, I said, “Yeah, these are blue jeans.” And then this girl like touched the pants and like, “These aren’t jeans.” I didn’t know how to respond to it because I’m like, “I don’t even know what you’re talking about. I’m just trying to fit in here.”

Luke W Russell:

Yeah.

Ali Awad:

So there were some awkward situations like that. But now, my English is stronger than my Arabic and my Spanish. And I even got a degree in English. And my entire business and my life flows around being able to speak English eloquently and read and write eloquently. I think that’s what happens when you use that part of the brain, which involves multiple languages, you get better at all of them.

Ali Awad:

For me, anyone that speaks multiple languages is at a huge advantage because you’re utilizing a part of your brain that unilingual people do not and cannot. And so, even when I started learning Chinese and Portuguese and Italian, I would pick up languages very, very easily because I already had that infrastructure built in.

Luke W Russell:

Yeah. What kind of trouble were you stirring up as a kid?

Ali Awad:

I was a good kid for the most part. I was a hustler. I would get in trouble for selling candy that we’d buy at Sam’s Club instead of using the candy that the school wanted you to sell because you’d go and you’d sell all these $1 chocolate bars. And then at the very end, you’d sell $500 worth of chocolate bars and you get a yo-yo. I’m like, “Screw that shit. I’m going to go and get my own candy wholesale and sell them to the kids individually.”

Ali Awad:

So, I didn’t really get into much trouble until like middle school and high school when I became the class clown. And I just loved the attention. I loved making people laugh.

Luke W Russell:

Yep.

Ali Awad:

Yeah. So I’d get like suspension, but even when I got suspended or I’d get ISS in school suspension, I would go and negotiate with the ISS teacher and be like, “Hey, look, I’m in the gifted program,” is what they called it when you were younger, right?

Ali Awad:

They don’t call that anymore, call it that anymore. I’m in the gifted program or I’m in the AP courses, I’m in the IB. It’s like, look, I know that I’m supposed to be sitting here and facing this wall and doing my homework the entire time, but I can’t miss this lab or I can’t miss this class. So, can I just go for the 45 minutes? I promise I’ll go straight to class and come straight back.

Ali Awad:

I remember at one point, I negotiated my way into like leaving ISS for like five class periods. Even for lunch, I’m supposed to be suspended and I negotiated my way out of it. And then I also figured out all these hacks, like I’d always off the teachers. So whenever a teacher would be like, “Hey, go to the principal’s office.” I would always make sure to make them mad in the last 15, 20 minutes of the class. And I’d just literally take my book bag and walk around the building and kind of check in and see what people are doing, hang out.

Ali Awad:

And I would just wait until the bell rang and go to the next class. Eventually they caught me and they were like, “I’ve told you to go to the principal’s office seven times in the past. Why are you still here?” So, I was that kind of troublemaker. I would always push the buttons and see where I could find ways to negotiate into better situations. I guess that’s kind of how I was a hustler.

Luke W Russell:

Yeah. And do you have any memories before you moved to the US? Any memories of being back in the Emirates?

Ali Awad:

I just remember a home made out of concrete walls without a ceiling, without a roof. Because that’s just how the homes were out there because it didn’t rain that much and if it did rain, it’s not a big deal. It’s just much simpler life.

Luke W Russell:

Yeah.

Ali Awad:

And then when we came to the US, we lived in this trailer home for a little bit and it was in Rome. It was an abandoned trailer actually. I think my dad just found it and we just stayed in that abandoned trailer so my dad could go and work for a week, come back, bring some money and buy groceries so my mom could take care of us.

Luke W Russell:

Yeah. And growing up, did you appreciate your family’s devotion to Islam?

Ali Awad:

My dad did something that was really smart where on Fridays he would always take us out of class so that we would go to Friday prayer. So we’d wake up every morning at 5:00, 6:00 a.m. to go to the mosque to pray. And then at night we’d go, between 6:00 to 9:00 p.m., depending on what time it was, we’d go for the nighttime prayers. He would check us out from school. And he started doing this for us in elementary school, middle school, high school where every Friday, 1:00 p.m. he’d come in with a note and say, “Hey, it’s a religious holiday. I need to check out my kid so that we can go to the mosque.”

Ali Awad:

And so, you’d go to the mosque, you’d pray. And then after 2:00 p.m. you’re done for the day. You’re not going to go back to school, right?

Luke W Russell:

Yeah.

Ali Awad:

And so, this was actually a religious holiday and it was a legitimate reason to leave the classroom. And no one else that was in our class or in the Bible Belt was leaving at Friday. So it became really cool. It became like we had this thing that was ours. It was my way of being able to show that my religion is cool too. Even though I don’t get to celebrate Christmas and Thanksgiving and I don’t get involved in Halloween, even though you have all these Easter celebrations and St Patrick’s and everything at school, we don’t involve ourselves in any of that. But when it comes to my holiday and my celebration, I had something special.

Luke W Russell:

Yeah.

Ali Awad:

Looking back at it that was a really big deal because my dad made it special for us. And I didn’t appreciate the devotion to Islam and to Arabic until I started meeting other Americans or Arab Americans that lived in the US their whole lives, like I did that did not speak Arabic. And it’s just very rare to meet someone that lived their entire life in the US that speaks Arabic.

Luke W Russell:

Yeah.

Ali Awad:

And so now it’s like, how do we impart that same kind of devotion and focus to the next generation? Because I want the same for my son and for my future kids.

Luke W Russell:

Yeah. Do you remember experiencing any treatment differences after 9/11?

Ali Awad:

Yeah. I remember in fifth grade sitting in Mr. Galway’s class and all of the TVs were showing the Twin Towers and showing everything that’s happening. And one kid just yelled out, “Hey Ali, why are your uncles killing us?”

Luke W Russell:

Wow.

Ali Awad:

But I realized this was just a racial slur to show that, hey, those people look different and your people look different in a sort of similar way. So, I’m going to attribute this heinous act with your people. Things just were never the same after that because my mom wears a hijab and so do my sisters. And so, there were so many situations where people would just yell racial slurs and go back to your country and just stuff like that you actually get immune to it. You get so used to it that it doesn’t bother you anymore.

Ali Awad:

Like I was so racially profiled and hated for who I was as an Arab or a Muslim in the Bible Belt in Dalton, Georgia, that I became so used to it. That there’s nothing you could say that would hurt me. I grew such thick skin. Talk about a huge advantage as an entrepreneur, there’s nothing that you can say that’s going to hurt my feelings, bro. And I didn’t realize how ingrained the racism was. Especially in my high school and with my teachers in high school, I thought people just didn’t like me because I was different or because I was just nerdy or cocky or whatever.

Ali Awad:

And I’m sure that played a role, but there was a reason why people would say, “Hey, don’t swear to your God because your God is different from my God.” Or there’s a reason why they make fun of your religion or make fun of you fasting or not give you a Letterman jacket because you had to step out from the football game a couple of times during Ramadan while you’re fasting.

Ali Awad:

There’s a reason why when I’m in ninth grade, I’d go and play this thing called king of the Hill. And I would beat every other football player. And I really wanted to be that kid that was cool because football was the cool thing to do in Dalton, Georgia. There’s a reason why even when I won that King of the Hill trophy King of the Hill competition, I still didn’t get the recognition for it and they never gave it to me.

Ali Awad:

There’s a reason why when I worked out in high school and got so strong for my size that I beat every single person in the history of Dalton High School in competing and weightlifting. But they would never give me that recognition on that Catamount wall of athletes. You think that these are just all coincidences when you’re young. Oh, it’s just whatever, they didn’t get around to it. Not a big deal, blah, blah, blah. But then you realize people hate you because you’re a Muslim. People hate you because you’re Arab. People hate you because you’re different.

Ali Awad:

And it’s okay for you to be different but it’s not okay for you to be different and better than us. That’s when I have a problem with you.

Luke W Russell:

Yeah. As you’re going through this phase in high school and experienced a variety of racism, you’ve been working really hard hustling to help support not just your family, but your extended family. As you look toward college, what was your mindset? Were you hopeful? Were you optimistic? What were you thinking?

Ali Awad:

I went to Dalton High School and then I started my first two years of college at Dalton State because I wanted to work in the car audio shop while going to college. College was just 13th grade for me. I was really good at school. I’m not the kid that needed to study. I would just show up to class and I’d get straight As, 4.0 student all throughout. I would go to class just for those hour, two hour, three hours in a day. And the rest of the time, I was working.

Ali Awad:

Even when I got my associate’s degree in Dalton, I transferred to Kennesaw. Not because I cared about the degree and getting a better quality education, but because I was opening up another car audio shop in the other city and I wanted to run that store while going to college.

Luke W Russell:

Got it.

Ali Awad:

For me, college was just something to do. And it was such little effort and such little amount of my time. And it wasn’t a college experience like most people say where you go and you live in a dorm and all this stuff. No, man. I lived with my parents for the first two years. And then when I moved to Kennesaw, my dad got us a five bedroom house and we rented out four of the bedrooms to other students, so we could cover the rent and the mortgage of the home.

Ali Awad:

And it wasn’t until law school when I started taking school seriously.

Luke W Russell:

Yeah. And you went on to get your JD from Georgia State along with your MBA in 2015. When did you fall in love with the law? When did you realize this was maybe not even just something competitive or not something a way to build a future, but when did you fall in love with the law?

Ali Awad:

I don’t think I ever fell in love with the law. I think I fell in love with being a lawyer.

Luke W Russell:

Tell me about that.

Ali Awad:

It’s power. You have power and authority as a lawyer. You have the ability to say what’s right and wrong and you have the ability to fight and defend people and make a genuine difference. The law isn’t always right. Lawyers have to create the law. And so, growing up in a household where you’re at a disadvantage, because you’re an immigrant, your parents didn’t become citizens until decades after living in the US. You were always around people that needed legal help. You were working in a mechanic shop and a car audio shop where a lot of the customers were convicted felons.

Ali Awad:

There was always people that needed lawyers. It was such a stark difference between being that kid that was working in the shop and hustling and selling rims and car audio, and doing online sales to now you’re a lawyer. There’s this prestige that comes along with it.

Ali Awad:

In our culture, there’s three career options, doctor, lawyer, engineer, pick two. I went to law school and I still feel like there are so many imperfections. We have a great justice system here, but there’s so many imperfections with the law here. But I loved being a lawyer. I love being the person that people could confide in and trust and respect because I gave them something that they didn’t have access to.

Ali Awad:

And then, I really became obsessed with giving that away so freely and so abundantly that it’s essentially how I built my brand and built my entire company. It’s actually selfish when you give away without expectation in return because it makes you feel so good.

Luke W Russell:

Yeah. Yeah.

Ali Awad:

It’s so weird, man. Like sometimes, you know when you donate a lot of money or you help someone in need and it makes you feel better than whatever positive impact it had on them. It’s almost selfish to help other people. It’s the coolest life hack. Because I heard that those who say money doesn’t buy happiness have not given away enough. And when the impact of what I was doing started having the income catch up that’s when life became really, really fun.

Luke W Russell:

Yeah.

Ali Awad:

And when I’m advising people in the beginning and they’re starting their careers, don’t focus so much on making a difference in the world, focus on taking care of yourself first because you can’t pour from an empty cup, like get your finances in order, get your family in order, get your affairs in order. And then start worrying about other people and taking care of other people. I really do think that’s the right way to do it because you can’t speak positivity and you can’t breathe happiness and inspiration into other people if your cup is empty.

Luke W Russell:

Yeah.

Ali Awad:

You got to fill up your cup so much that it overflows into everyone else’s cup. And I think that’s why I fell in love with being a lawyer because it was a shortcut to abundance in more than one way.

Luke W Russell:

Yeah. And now, when did you meet your wife? Salam. Was that in college? During law school?

Ali Awad:

So, a lot of Arabs know each other in these communities. So, my sister actually knew her. She basically showed me a picture of her on Instagram, like in 2017. And I was like, yep. I like it. And then, a few months later we were engaged.

Luke W Russell:

Yeah.

Ali Awad:

That’s pretty much how it works. And in our culture you kind of have to just find a girl that you kind of like and that you vibe with and you usually get one opportunity to talk to them. Sometimes it has to be in person. I’m not allowed to initiate the conversation typically, because it’s a strict sort of cultural boundary. My sister actually messaged her on Instagram and said, “Hey, my brother is interested in talking to you. I’m not sure if you’re interested in marriage, but is this a conversation you’re open to have?”

Ali Awad:

And she just responded and said, “Here’s my mom’s number. Call her,” because that’s how it works. The parents have to be on board first before anything happens. And so, we got her mom’s number. We called, we arranged and then August 18th, 2017 was the first time we ever messaged on the phone and spoke. And I had already talked to like 30 or 40 girls by then. I was exhausted with this process.

Ali Awad:

I said, “Look, I’m not going to play this game. I’m not going to hide the ball or whatever. I’m going to tell you exactly the type of person that I am, what I’m looking for. And look, if you like me and you want to continue the conversation. Cool. And if I like you know, you’re going to know. But I just don’t want to waste each other’s time. You cool with that?” She’s like, “Cool.”

Ali Awad:

All right. Well I also want to FaceTime you because I want to see your face as we talk, not just on a phone call, which was very weird because it’s just not something that happened. I had plenty of other girls that did not even allow me to speak with them on the phone. And even I’ve had situations where I had to talk to the dad or the family first and then they’d have to qualify me like as a lead before I could get to the intake team.

Ali Awad:

So it’s like, come on, dude. I promise you I’m qualified. So she was kind of taken aback by that. She liked that I was a go-getter. I got what I wanted and I knew what I wanted. And September 30th, literally like less than six weeks from the first time we spoke, we got technically engaged because in our culture, we call it [foreign language 00:30:29] which is like you make the intention to get married.

Ali Awad:

So technically, we were engaged six weeks after we first started talking ever. But I just knew, I knew exactly what I wanted. There was not an ounce or even a small sliver in my body that felt that this was not the best person in the world for me. I went all in and December 12th, 2017, we got Islamically married. We got our marriage license and everything. And that was only, what, three and a half months, four and a half months after we met. And then we had our wedding six months later because it took time to get all the families together and the venue and all that other stuff.

Ali Awad:

And it just so happened to be the same exact time when I started building my practice. I’d become a millionaire that same year I got married. And if I did not have a wife that was on top of it and like really, really clean hearted and focused, I would’ve blown that money. And not necessarily blown it on like stupid stuff, but I probably would’ve taken on more risks than I should have and not put so much value on peace of mind and a home and taking care of myself.

Ali Awad:

I was still living in a $300 a month apartment with no bed frame, just a mattress, with a little 24 inch TV that’s kind of just like laying on the side of the wall. I’d work 12, 13 hours a day. I’d Uber eats a pizza to get delivered to my home as I’m driving home from the office. I’d get home at 10:00, turn on The Office or Family Guy, eat some pizza and go to sleep.

Ali Awad:

So I didn’t have that woman’s touch in my life. So everything in my life became exponentially better when I got married.

Luke W Russell:

Now, what did she want that led her going, “Yeah, Ali’s got what I want too.”

Ali Awad:

All of her brothers are surgeons. So she didn’t want a doctor. And she wanted someone that she felt like she could have fun with and not be the traditional, super strict Arab guy. That cares more about culture instead of religion. Because we have a lot of things that are culturally wrong, but religiously they’re right. And what I mean by that is in some cultures will say like, women are not allowed to drive. I’m like, there is nothing in our religion that says women are not allowed to drive. This is just obnoxious.

Luke W Russell:

Yeah.

Ali Awad:

And there’s also certain things in culture where in some middle Eastern Arab cultures where the men aren’t as involved in the household, they don’t help. They don’t clean. They don’t cook. They don’t take care of the baby. Religiously, you’re supposed to do the exact opposite. You’re supposed to help your wife. You’re supposed to take care of the family. This is your obligation. So, she didn’t want someone that was stuck in their old school mentality of culture that was really wrong and backwards.

Ali Awad:

And I was more forward looking. I like to have fun. I like to explore. And the biggest thing for me, I was like, “Look, we can negotiate everything. But the one thing that’s non-negotiable for me is you have to be cool with traveling because I love traveling.” And she’s like, “Seriously, what girl would not want to travel the world?” And I’m like, “I’m dead serious. There’s been so many girls like, oh I’m a homebody. I don’t want to leave.” And I’m like, “That’s just a non-negotiable for me.”

Ali Awad:

So I think she just wanted someone that was honest and had a big heart and not a dominant figure, but an assertive figure that knows what they want. To answer this very simply, trust. What she was looking for was someone that she could trust and give her entire heart to. And I made sure that I delivered on that.

Luke W Russell:

So, going back to 2015 is when you graduate, you go before starting Ali Alwad Law, you did some work for another firm. What did you discover about yourself there?

Ali Awad:

I discovered that, well first before 2015, you have to know that I applied to over a hundred different law firms that I actually flew to multiple states and countries. I was actually flown to Dubai for an interview with a major international law firm. They tested me in English and Arabic and they flew me out to Dubai. We did like a six hour interview, group interview, flew me back. No one gave me a job offer. Not a single person gave me a job offer.

Ali Awad:

And I think it was because my personality really shown. And it was clear that I’m an entrepreneur type guy. I’m not the guy that’s going to sit there and just like crunch numbers and be a paper pusher. I’m the guy that’s going to be the rainmaker. You put me in a position to bring in business and bring in clients, I’m going to deliver. And I’m going to overwhelm you with the amount of business that I can send you.

Ali Awad:

And most law firms didn’t want that. Most law firms say, “Hey, we have a system for you. You need to fit into our system.” And I was just that square that couldn’t fit into a round hole. By the time I graduated, I didn’t have a job lined up. I just decided to start taking cases on my own. I’m like, “I’ll figure it out. I’m not going to sit here and wait for a job.”

Luke W Russell:

Yeah.

Ali Awad:

I’m going to create a job. So I decided to just start putting out free legal advice videos educating people and seeing whatever leads came through. And I would connect them with whatever lawyers people wanted. And then, I think the day that I became licensed, that I got sworn in at the Georgia bar, someone reached out to me and said, “Hey, my baby mama had gotten to slip and fall up in Dalton.” It was about two hours away. And I decided to dip out and drive up to Dalton and sign her up.

Ali Awad:

Two years later, I ended up settling that case for like $95,000. But because I didn’t have my business set up, I signed up the case with my brother’s law firm. I said, “Look, I’ll give you half the fee. Just let me use your letterhead. Let me work up this case. I’ll do all the communication with the client. Just let me use your license.” And he’s like, “Okay.”

Ali Awad:

So I did that with a couple of cases. Eventually, I got another case where this other attorney, after I had emailed hundreds of lawyers, asking them to go out to breakfast, lunch, coffee, one lawyer decided to give me a case that was really not a great case, but he just wanted me to work on it.

Ali Awad:

It was a premises liability case. I started working on that. And in the course of investigating that case, I called one of the previous attorneys that had just gotten fired on it. I called the attorney and “Hey, what do you think about this case?” He’s like, “Man, this lady is just a really, really tough case. She’s very hard to please. I highly recommend you don’t take it. You make way more money on the cases you don’t take than the ones you do take.”

Ali Awad:

A week later, I see a job posting from that same lawyer. He hired me on the spot because he saw the type of person that I was. I’m actually investigating this case and putting in my work and I listen and pay attention. So I worked there for 14 months and I realize that persuasion through education is the best way to get people in the door.

Ali Awad:

And I happen to start utilizing social media around that same time to bring in cases. Now, I didn’t realize that client acquisition was the most important thing until after I learned everything about PI, all the fundamentals. So I actually became a good lawyer. I actually learned how to maximize the value of PI cases. I studied all the insurance software systems. I knew exactly what you needed. And I even litigated cases and tried cases to see exactly what it took.

Ali Awad:

After going through that entire spectrum, I realized, okay, where do I want to be on the spectrum? Do I want to be on the tail end where I’m litigating and trying cases and building up my name that way? Or do I want to be on the front end where I outsource and hire everyone else for the back end work? I decided to be the CEO and not the lawyer.

Ali Awad:

And I also learned how to not treat people. You should never ever make people feel like you’re nickeling and diming them. If they’re working for you and they’re putting in real effort, don’t ever nickel and dime your employees. Don’t ever go cheap on a lunch or a dinner with your employees. Give them all the equipment and the technology that they need so that they can really do their jobs. Make them feel good, man. People don’t want money as much as they want appreciation.

Ali Awad:

And now, I’m learning that I’m in the talent acquisition game, not the client acquisition game. In the talent acquisition game, you bring people in with a good salary. But you keep them with a good culture. And so, these are things that I learned from working there. I also learned that your front desk person, the receptionist, the person that answers the calls cannot be an uneducated person.

Ali Awad:

I saw him lose out on a $5 million case right in front of me. It was a wrongful death case in a bus where someone called the office and was like, “Hey, do you guys handle wrongful death?” She’s like, “Well, we’re a personal injury firm. I don’t know if we do these cases.” Click. You’re not getting that case. It doesn’t matter how much you try to educate the client at that point.

Ali Awad:

Like, dude, my daughter just died in an accident and you want me to hire your firm after someone just said, “We don’t even know if we do wrongful death, get out of here.”

Luke W Russell:

Yep.

Ali Awad:

So, I learned way more about what not to do than what to do. Even after I quit my job, I still didn’t have the confidence of running my own firm because I really thought I needed to litigate and get more experience. So I applied to a bunch of other law firms. And again, no one would give me a job. I ended up just starting my own practice and kind of building up my cases. And I was working of council in this guy’s building. He gave me a free office space and didn’t charge me for anything.

Ali Awad:

And then within 13 months, I had made my first million dollars.

Luke W Russell:

When we come back, Ali explains his theory of negotiation and why he’s okay with being a little over optimistic. Stay with us. I’m Luke W. Russell and you are listening to Lawful Good.

Speaker 3:

This show is made possible by the following sponsors. We are happy to partner with Milestone Foundation. Milestone Foundation provides the financial assistance plaintiffs and their families need to pay for basic living expenses during litigation. They offer non-recourse advances with low, simple interest so people in need can go the distance against deep pocket defendants. Learn more at themilestonefoundation.org.

Speaker 3:

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Speaker 3:

Are you interested in learning trial skills from some of the best attorneys in the nation? Check out Trial School, a not-for-profit collaborative effort to provide free trial advocacy training for lawyers who represent people in groups fighting for social justice.

Speaker 3:

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Luke W Russell:

When we left off, Ali’s journey had taken him from an abandoned trailer to a successful lawyer. As we pick up the conversation, Ali and I discussed the role of social media in his rise in the industry and how that kind of success can change people for the worse.

Luke W Russell:

People describe you as an amazing negotiator or closer. Would you agree with that?

Ali Awad:

Here’s the thing, negotiation is all about knowing how to talk to the other person. It’s not about manipulation. It’s not about persuasion. It’s not about winning or losing. It’s about making the other person feel good. And sometimes in a negotiation, you just want the other person to feel like they enjoy doing business with you more than they enjoy the sale or the purchase or whatever it is.

Luke W Russell:

Yeah.

Ali Awad:

And that’s it.

Luke W Russell:

Yeah.

Ali Awad:

So my job when I’m talking to someone is to make them feel like I just want to work with you regardless of the product or service or the transaction amount. That’s it. And if I lay the foundation properly and I educate them about what our system is like, why we’re doing things a certain way, the team that’s going to be involved, yeah, I can get people to do basically whatever I want.

Luke W Russell:

Yeah. When you look at your business, would you say that you’re on a quest?

Ali Awad:

I have some very big dreams, some very big aspirations.

Luke W Russell:

Okay.

Ali Awad:

One of them being, I want to change the way that people perceive Muslims. I think that Muslims have just gotten a really bad rep for the past 20 years. My goal is to build the first Muslim hospital in the US that gives free medical care to anyone who needs it. And just like they have the St Josephs and the St Marys and all these different hospitals, I’m like, I want to profit Muhammad hospital. I want something that’s like it’s Islamic.

Luke W Russell:

Yes.

Ali Awad:

And maybe that association with positivity and I’m going to structure it in such a way where it’s a nonprofit where all … Because there’s so many Muslim doctors out here, it’s not going to be a shortage of them. I’ll get every to work a certain amount of hours pro bono. We’ll build up the system. I’ll have all the connections that I need in the insurance world and the health insurance and the medical side and the legal side.

Ali Awad:

And we’ll just get together and build this incredible hospital and community. There’s other aspirations of building an Islamic mediation company. I think a lot of problems can be solved without litigation, without going through the trouble of hiring lawyers. Because a lot of times, man, it’s only the lawyers that win, not the people. And I want to see if I can connect Islamic law and American jurisprudence together in a mediation or arbitration style company where entrepreneurs and professionals from all over the country can have this arbitration program where they don’t have to spend tons of money on litigation and hiring lawyers.

Ali Awad:

Because I think our community needs it. There’s also this digital donation company that I started earlier this year. Basically, the system that I have with social media and creating videos and running ads and getting people to buy my product or hire me whatever it is, I’m copy pasting that into nonprofit organizations and I’m teaching, not just teaching them, but implementing. I’ll send out my video team, I’ll have them record certain videos, a series of videos. We’ll upload these videos onto Instagram, Facebook, run them as ads, send them through a click funnels landing page where you get people to donate. And there’s like an upsell to the donations.

Ali Awad:

And I think we can really build a business where my infrastructure, the campaign that I build and the social media and the software system that I build, is going to create over a billion dollars in impact to nonprofit organizations. And I’m going to give it to them absolutely free. Those are the fun things that I get excited about. I love running my personal injury law firm, but I would make way more money if I just referred out all of my cases and didn’t even bother building up a business. I would make way more money just referring cases out. I’d have way more profit and I’d have a much easier life.

Ali Awad:

But I actually love people. I actually love spending time with my team and my people and seeing them grow and walking into a restaurant or an organization or an event is like, these are all my people and I’m helping people grow. I love that.

Luke W Russell:

Yeah. Do you have any aspirations for the law firm?

Ali Awad:

Just to be number one in America.

Luke W Russell:

Oh yeah. Just number one?

Ali Awad:

Yeah. I mean, look, we’re already the fastest growing law firm in America. We had over 4000% growth in the past few years. But I study a lot of different lawyers. And I see at what point do they start hitting these points of diminishing returns. And most people start maxing out in the mid to upper eight figures in annual revenue. That nine figure mark is really, really hard to breakthrough, annual revenue in annual attorney’s fees.

Ali Awad:

And most law firms run between a 20% to a 40% profit margin. So, someone that’s making, let’s say, $50 million a year in attorney’s fees. If they’re operating at a 40% profit margin and taking home $20 million a year, that’s one of the most profitable law firms in America for the amount of net that they take home. And I learned these numbers from talking to the number one players in every single state and learning in this private world of personal injury law firms.

Ali Awad:

What is the amount of money that you guys are making and what are the obstacles that you overcome? So that I can kind of forecast and see, okay, if I’m building a business in this way, what are the supplemental businesses or complimentary services that I can offer so that I don’t hit that ceiling when I get to it? My job as the leader of my team is to encourage them and inspire them and have a big enough dream that everyone else’s dream fits inside it. And every single day, I need to sell them on that dream so that they believe that we’re going to be number one and slowly but surely we get more and more people bought into that dream.

Luke W Russell:

Yeah. So I imagine some people listening might be thinking like, okay, Ali, you’re telling me that you’re going to overtake the John Morgans of the world and not to mention, we’re moving into an age where non-lawyer non-attorney ownership is becoming a thing. And there’s a lot of anticipation for outside money to flow into this. And you’re saying, I see that. I see that. But what would you say to the people who are maybe hearing this and thinking, “Wow, Ali, you sound kind of cocky and over optimistic in yourself.”

Ali Awad:

I’d rather shoot for the stars and land amongst the trees. Instead of thinking that I just can’t possibly compete with these behemoths of business. But I’ll tell you this, the reason people know these names of these big law firms is because they did something before everyone else did. They did the billboard ads. They did the radio ads. They did the exciting TV ads. They were on the back of phone books. They did something before everyone else did. And they got their foot in the door in that industry.

Ali Awad:

Mine was Instagram. And I started doing it in 2016 very aggressively as a lawyer. And as a result, there are so many people that have copied exactly my blueprint and my formula. Not because I care, I actually teach it now. We have these CEO Lawyer Summit where we teach people how to use social media. In terms of the private businesses, being able to take over and invest in law firms and things like that, I already know that.

Ali Awad:

The easiest way is to build the infrastructure with referral partners all over the country and have a sellable product whenever an Esquire bank or one of those big private equity companies decides to jump in. Now, for the people that are actually worried about private equity, that means you don’t have a unique value proposition. If you’re really worried about a big business person coming into your territory, all that means is that you’re not special. That’s all that means.

Ali Awad:

When you’re special and you offer something different than everyone else, you never have to worry about your competition because you always have something that they won’t have. No one can copy faster than you can create. So, when you’re confident in your abilities and your ability to maybe know the things that you don’t know, or at least search for them and find the answers for them, you don’t have to worry about it.

Luke W Russell:

Yeah.

Ali Awad:

So, if you say I’m overly optimistic or overly ambitious, that’s okay. I agree. But I have to believe that I can win and believe that I can be on top before I can actually get there. No one’s going to believe in you unless you believe in you. So call it what you want. One thing you’re not going to call me is broke.

Luke W Russell:

Okay, Ali, I want to switch over to what we call our high velocity realm. This is where I have a series of yes, no questions. And the rule is you can’t answer only yes or no. You can say yes or no, but you got to give me more than that. And if you just say that, I’ll just sit here and wait until you actually tell me more.

Ali Awad:

All right.

Luke W Russell:

Sound good?

Ali Awad:

Yeah.

Luke W Russell:

All right. I’m told you’re funny. Are you ready to make your debut as a standup comedian?

Ali Awad:

Yeah, absolutely. I actually did a little bit of standup comedy while I was in law school. So, I absolutely love comedy and I love entertaining. The thing that I’m really good at is actually imitating people. So when I hear of someone’s unique voice or a funny movie or a skit or whatever, I hear it one time and I can imitate it verbatim.

Luke W Russell:

Would you describe yourself as aggressive?

Ali Awad:

I’m more relentless now because relentless means that you’re kind of pushing up against obstacles and not letting them overtake you. Whereas being aggressive is almost like infringing on other people’s rights and their ability to be happy. So, I try not to use the word aggressive as much as assertive. I know what I want and I will assert what I want. But I’m not going to be aggressive or transgressive over you. But relentless is definitely a way to describe me because when I put my mind to something, it is very hard to get me away from it.

Luke W Russell:

Yeah. Do you have everything together?

Ali Awad:

Do I have everything together? No. Not really. Everything is a work in progress. There’s nothing in my life where I would say, “Oh, this is absolutely perfect.” No. Not even close because when everything is together, there’s no more room for growth. There’s always better. There’s always improvement. There’s always progress. I know I could be a more subservient Muslim. I know I could be a better husband. I know I could be a better father, son, friend. I know I could be a better leader. I know I could donate more. I know that I could get my businesses in order and my affairs in line better. I know that I could do better.

Ali Awad:

While you do want to be in a rush for your goals, you don’t want to be so goal oriented that you miss out on life. And so like this morning, man, I just sat and chilled with my son for two hours. You know how much stuff is in the back of my head. You know how much information, how much work I need to accomplish before the end of the year. It’s insane. That was life that I just did this morning. That was life.

Ali Awad:

No one books back and says, “Man, I wish I would’ve gotten that business deal,” or “I wish I would’ve negotiated better,” or “I wish I would’ve bought that extra car.” So the things that I want to say I have together are the things that I care more about. And so, that’s really just prioritizing.

Luke W Russell:

Yeah. Do you call it like you see it?

Ali Awad:

I’m a very straightforward guy. And for a lot of people that comes off as mean maybe disrespectful, but I just don’t like sugarcoating things because sometimes people need to hear the truth. And you know when you know something, but you don’t know how to formulate it into a thought or formulate it into words because no one’s ever taken the time to describe the thing that you know. Until you read it in a book and then when you read it in a book, you realize that’s exactly my thought process. Thank God, someone actually sat down and wrote out my entire thought process.

Ali Awad:

Well, I’m like that with people. I can kind of tell people’s intentions with these verbal and nonverbal cues very, very quickly. Especially when it comes to people that take advantage of you when you’re weak or when you’re vulnerable. And then, there are people that are always looking after you and always taking care of you. And they’re never looking for any sort of recognition. Those are people that you need to really take care of and make sure that you always support them in everything that they do.

Luke W Russell:

Yeah. Are you currently building a car?

Ali Awad:

So yes, I have this 1960 Buick Invicta that I’ve had since I was 11. I bought it from my dad when I was 11 years old, I bought it for $20. It’s been a work in progress for like the past 20 years. Can’t believe I’ve had that thing for 20 years. But it is sitting in the back of my brother’s shop in Acworth at Joker’s Audio. And it’s one of those things where I’m keeping it for sentimental value more than the actual value of the vehicle, the monetary value. But it’s just a really cool car. It’s a 1960 Buick. It’s going to need new paint, new interior, probably complete overhaul, but that is my side project car.

Luke W Russell:

Yeah. And is there a downside to success?

Ali Awad:

It depends on your definition of success first, because some people’s definition of success is just being able to do whatever you want, whenever you want with whoever you want, however you want. And there is a downside to that. The downside is that you stop caring about other people as much. And you start thinking that your happiness is more important than everything else. And sometimes getting rid of just a little bit of your happiness to give other people so much more happiness is real success.

Ali Awad:

And I think the downside is that you can become blind to relating to people and knowing what it’s like to actually struggle, actually have problems that money can’t solve. There is a downside to it. You become detached emotionally. And you think that everyone won the genetic lottery and won the American and geographical lottery because you’re here, you’re working, you made it, you took care of yourself.

Ali Awad:

You built yourself up and just grabbed your bootstraps and built up your entire business. And that everyone else should be able to do that. And the truth is not everyone can do it. And you have to be respectful and cognizant of that because people can be ambitious, but they just don’t necessarily have the tools. That’s unfair. And when you think that your success is attributed just to you, because you’re just so smart and you’re so great and you didn’t need anyone else’s help. I think a couple of years ago, if you would’ve run into me, I would just have no tolerance for excuses whatsoever.

Ali Awad:

I would not allow any sort of mediocrity or anything that hinted at an excuse. Anything that even smelled like an excuse, I wouldn’t touch it with a 10 foot pole. And now, I try to listen more to people and I try to help them and guide them. And yeah, it’s a fine line. But overall, it’s a good thing if you know how to handle it.

Luke W Russell:

Yeah. I want to toss this question out to you because I know there’s different people who talk about your rise and your rise on Instagram and your followers. And there are people who discount your, I’m not quite sure what exactly they’re discounting, whether it’s your success or credibility or something. When they say like, oh, Ali’s followers, Ali used to only have X amount. Now he has this amount. There’s no way those are real followers. What kind of response do you have when you notice people either to your face or not to your face, who are maybe dismissing or discounting what you’re out there claiming as your success?

Ali Awad:

I never attribute my success to my followers. That’s a vanity metric that you shouldn’t care about. When you get videos that get millions of views and they go viral and you get an extra couple hundred thousand followers because a big page shared your video. That has nothing to do with the success of your business or your organization. Truth is that I’m an expert at social media. I know how to create videos. I know how to get engagement. And I know how to build a law firm through that digital attention.

Ali Awad:

I’m so good at it that I teach other lawyers how to do it. Lawyers that have businesses that are 5, 10, 20 times bigger than mine. Now, when it comes to the quality of the followers, it really depends on the type of platform that you’re in. So, let’s take Facebook for instance, if you started a Facebook business page 10 years ago, you had the ability to force people to like your page before they were even allowed to visit your website.

Luke W Russell:

Yep.

Ali Awad:

So you ended up getting a lot of these followers that weren’t necessarily engaged. In TikTok recently in the past two years, I did a ton of videos during COVID while everyone was … During the pandemic. So I gained an extra couple hundred thousand followers on TikTok, but they followed me because of the content that I was creating that’s related to the EIDL grants, the PPP loans, just the funny videos that I was doing. Not all just to hire me as a personal injury lawyer.

Luke W Russell:

Sure.

Ali Awad:

On Instagram, I did a ton of follower and promotional giveaways, where you’d connect with these big pages, you’d do collaborations. And you say, “Hey, look, we’re going to give away an iPad or a MacBook or $10,000. You follow this page and you get to be involved in the giveaway.”

Ali Awad:

All of those things were just ways to market yourself differently without understanding necessarily the quality of the followers that you’re going to get. So, I never cared about the amount of followers that I was getting on my pages. I always cared about how many cases was I bringing in? How many new clients was I signing up? How many new opportunities and relationships was I getting as a result of my social media?

Ali Awad:

And the truth is when you put effort into your brand and into your social media platforms, you’re going to get noticed. And I think there’s definitely people that have way more followers and way more engagement and way funnier videos, but they don’t have a business like I do. They don’t have a legitimate law firm and legitimate practice. I mean, you can’t fake the 50 employees that I have. You can’t fake the eight figures in revenue that we have. You can’t fake the multiple attorneys that the high powered litigators that work for me and the best paralegals and the brand recognition from some of the most influential people in America and the world.

Ali Awad:

You can’t fake that. These people actually know me and they spent time with me and they’ve qualified me because they know I’m the real deal. So, if you’re focused so much on someone else’s success, maybe you’re focusing on the wrong thing.

Luke W Russell:

I know you mentioned earlier growing up, you’d be up early for morning prayers. And as you’ve gone into your 30s, how has your relationship with your faith and religion changed over the years?

Ali Awad:

I think now I do things because I want to, not because I have to. When you’re growing up, you don’t understand why you’re doing things like your parents are telling you need to do this and you need to practice this and you need to try this. And now, you do it because you genuinely want to. Like now, when I put my alarm at 5:30 in the morning, I do it because I’m disciplined and I know that I want to.

Ali Awad:

Now, when it’s time for Ramadan and fasting for a month, I put in that extra effort because I genuinely want to. I want to get closer to God. I want to become a better Muslim. I want to become a better father and leader and husband.

Luke W Russell:

Yeah. Yeah.

Ali Awad:

And so, that’s the biggest difference. I think my relationship with God is such that I’m learning to do things in my religion because I genuinely love them and I genuinely want to do them. And I think when you have that intention, the action can be smaller when the intention is more pure. It doesn’t matter how much action you have, if the intention is not pure. I probably don’t have as much action as I used to. But the action that I do have now is more pure and is more focused.

Luke W Russell:

Yeah. Earlier, when we were talking about the sort of racism and hatred you experienced in your youth, I could really hear a lot of a strong sense of emotion and maybe anger behind some of that. I have also noticed on your Instagram page, or Facebook, I don’t remember where it was, but you would share screenshots of some of the comments you get. And like one person commented on one of your posts, “All proceeds go to the Taliban’s new government.” And another person commented, “Why did you block my question about if the law firm was ran by Muslims?”

Luke W Russell:

And you, or someone on your team, responded, I’m a Muslim and I own the law firm. Is that a problem? To which this person replied, “It would be for me.” How do you find your passion and maybe frustrations? And how does that all come together to maybe fuel your sense of purpose?

Ali Awad:

So the first thing is I don’t share those things because I want people to feel bad for me. And I also don’t share them because I’m actually hurt by them. I share them to show other aspiring entrepreneurs and law firm owners or professionals who are different from people around them that you’re going to have some trials and tribulations and hatred along the way, because no one is going to hate on you if you’re doing less than them. So, I share those so people can see, hey, this is what I live with.

Ali Awad:

Even to this day, it’s just normal. It really doesn’t bother me. And I even tell people when I post it, like guys, don’t message me and say, hey, keep your head up. It’s going to be okay. Dude, trust me. I’m good. This message is intended for the person that might be deterred from their goals, because they’re worried about the color of their skin or the way that they worship or how they live.

Luke W Russell:

Yeah. I’ve heard some people call the haters confused admirers.

Ali Awad:

Yeah. That’s kind of how it is, but …

Luke W Russell:

Yeah. Now how old is your kiddo?

Ali Awad:

He’s seven months.

Luke W Russell:

Seven months. Any idea how many children you want to have someday?

Ali Awad:

That’s my wife that’s going to dictate that, but I want a big family. I like having a big family, but like I said, it’s not me that’s carrying the baby around for nine months. So I can’t tell my wife, hey, we have to do this. So I’m happy with whatever God gives me.

Luke W Russell:

Yeah. Now Ali, my kiddos both have a question they would like to ask you, if you’re up for that?

Ali Awad:

I love that you have them in the studio. Hey, how are you guys doing?

Lily:

Good.

Isaac:

Good

Ali Awad:

What are your names?

Lily:

I’m Lily.

Isaac:

And I’m Isaac.

Ali Awad:

Lily and Isaac. How old are you?

Lily:

I’m eight.

Isaac:

And I’m five.

Ali Awad:

Wow.

Isaac:

Six.

Ali Awad:

You don’t even know how old you are, Isaac?

Lily:

Well, he turned six on the fourth. So, we’re still getting used to it.

Ali Awad:

Oh, it’s okay. It’s okay. I’ll tell you what, once you get past 30, you don’t even know how old you are. You don’t even pay attention to age anymore. So, don’t worry about it. Enjoy it. So, Isaac and Lily, what are your questions?

Isaac:

How would you rate yourself as a dad?

Ali Awad:

I would like to see myself as a solid nine. But I know that it’s probably a seven in terms of my actual potential. And I know that sometimes I’m selfish, I can do better by not turning the TV on so that he gets addicted to the TV or spending a little bit more time with him and not putting an iPad to shut him up. Those are things that I think I could probably do better at, which is why I would say it’s a seven. That was a good question, Isaac. What’s your question, Lily?

Lily:

Is parenting easier or harder than you expected?

Ali Awad:

The first three months of having a baby are an absolute nightmare because your job as a dad or a mom is just to make sure the baby stays alive. That’s all. You just have to make sure the baby stays alive. You got to feed them. Take care of them. And they’re just like a big mush ball. But honestly, I think as a dad, this is the coolest thing I’ve ever done. I think it’s a little easier than I thought it would be. At least, after three months. I thought it would always be consistently difficult. You’re always on top of it. But that’s only because my wife does such a great job at being a great mom. So, it’s easier for me because I have an amazing wife that’s also an incredible mom. So yeah, parenting is the most fun thing I’ve ever done and it’s easier than I thought it would be, but I know it’s going to get tougher in the future.

Lily:

Thank you.

Isaac:

Thank you.

Ali Awad:

Thank you, guys. You all are so cute.

Luke W Russell:

Thank you kiddos.

Ali Awad:

All right, Isaac. Don’t forget your age. That’s so cool that you have them in the studio, man.

Luke W Russell:

They always want to ask a question and they’ve been all month like, when’s that one we’re doing again?

Ali Awad:

That’s awesome, man. I’m really happy that you have them in there.

Luke W Russell:

Do you have a desire to pass on your Palestinian heritage to your children?

Ali Awad:

Well, my wife is Syrian. There’s this region called the Sham Region, but it’s really the countries of Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan, and Syria. So those four countries basically have very similar language, dialect, accents. So we all communicate with each other very well. And honestly, Syrians and Palestinians both have real problems in their countries.

Luke W Russell:

Yeah.

Ali Awad:

Where the governments are unstable. There’s always consistent war and fighting. And I think I care more about instilling in my son a respect for religion and the Arabic language than the Palestinian roots, because he’s half Palestinian and half Syrian. So I have to care as much about Syria as I do about Palestine. And while I love Palestine and I love my country, I care more about the religion. And I think my wife is on track with that too. As long as he speaks Arabic and he understands why we worship the way that we do and that it’s for a reason and you’re doing it because you love it not because you have to do it. I’m happy.

Luke W Russell:

Yeah. Do you ever reflect on your mortality?

Ali Awad:

All the time.

Luke W Russell:

Tell me about that.

Ali Awad:

Well, I mentioned earlier that my brother-in-law, my wife’s oldest brother, he was the one that gave my wife’s hand to me in marriage because her dad died when she was a year old. He was murdered. He was a cab driver in Indiana and he just got mugged and killed for whatever money he had. My brother-in-law, Aladdin, had an accident last year and he just died in a car wreck.

Ali Awad:

And he had just finished his school, his program. He was 36 years old and he had done an oral facial surgery program. He had just bought his new house. Finally. Had barely made the first payment on his new car, like just got his life together after 36 years. He was also the leader of his family, between his other four siblings. He was the one that took his father’s role in taking care of his mom because obviously his father passed away.

Ali Awad:

We have the saying in our religion where if 40 people come and testify at your funeral, that you are a good person and that you are a God fearing man or woman. Then, the doors of paradise will automatically open for you. And he had over a thousand people show up. His wife was pregnant, six months, when he passed away and he had two kids. He had a five year old and a four year old kid.

Ali Awad:

And the thing that I learned from this experience was this life here is just a blip on the radar. And the only thing that you’re going to be able to take with you and the only thing that you’re going to be remembered by is your actions and the good deeds that you instill and teach in your children and the donations that you give that you give that impact people positively in perpetuity.

Ali Awad:

He did all of those things. And he lived a very full life, even though he was just 36. He lived a very full life and he was like the backbone of my wife’s family. I want to have that kind of impact. I want to have that kind of faith in God. I want to be the type of person that people really miss you when you’re gone, but they’re really happy because they know that you left a very positive impact on the world.

Ali Awad:

It also really trivializes money and financial success. Dude, no one’s going to come at your funeral and say, man, this guy built an eight figure law firm virtually. No one’s going to say that, man. That’s a constant reminder for me that most of the stuff that I think about means absolutely nothing.

Luke W Russell:

I like to fast forward, let’s see, 49 years to your 80th birthday celebration. And people from all throughout your life are present. A gentle clinking on glass can be heard and a hush washes over the room. People raise their glasses to toast to you. What are three things you would want them to say about you?

Ali Awad:

Well, they better be drinking non-alcoholic beverages. That’s the first thing. We’re not having no toasts with alcohol.

Luke W Russell:

All right.

Ali Awad:

But I don’t think that far ahead, because so many things change in five years. My life is drastically different from what it was three years ago. I can’t even begin to imagine what it would look like 49 years from now. But I think a successful life would be number one is the family together. That’s the legacy that my dad wants to leave is making sure that the family stays together. He tried so hard to do it with his own family. And so far we’re doing it. We all live within a 15 mile, 20 mile radius.

Luke W Russell:

Yeah.

Ali Awad:

And so I want to make sure that we, as a family, are all together. Number two is I’d really like to have those hospitals built, especially by age 80. I want it to be where we could have saved a million lives and not only do we build hospitals in the US, but now we can start building them all over the world.

Luke W Russell:

Yeah. Yeah.

Ali Awad:

Number three, I’d hope that I just was as good of a father and a family figure as my dad was. And hopefully, it’ll change your perspective of Muslims at least a little bit, by seeing how we lead our lives and our actions.

Luke W Russell:

To learn more about Ali, visit aliawadlaw.com. Make sure to check out his Instagram by searching his handle CEO Lawyer. A few notes before we wrap up, please check out our season three sponsors. Be sure to check out Jason Hennessy’s book titled Law Firm SEO if you want the best knowledge available in the industry. To any plaintiff’s attorneys who have clients in need of simple interest loans, check out the milestonefoundation.org.

Luke W Russell:

If you’d like to join a growing group of attorneys that are actively working to improve their trial skills, head over to trialschool.org. For personal injury lawyers looking to acquire big cases through social media, visit 7figurecases.com. And if you want to experience rich human connection, join our LinkedIn group by going to joinbettertogether.com.

Luke W Russell:

By the way, are you looking for more great podcasts? I am also the host of two other shows coming out this year and you can go ahead and subscribe to them today so that as soon as we start releasing episodes, you’ll be the first to know. Check out The Trusted Legal Partners podcast, a place where you can find good people doing good work in the industry.

Luke W Russell:

I am also the host of The Society Of Women Trial Lawyers podcast. There, you’ll find inspiring stories from women attorneys across the nation. You can find links to these in the show description, and they’re also available on the same places you hear Lawful Good. Thanks so much for listening this week.

Luke W Russell:

This podcast is produced by Kirsten Stock, edited by Kendall Perkinson and mastered by Guido Bertolini. I’m your host, Luke W Russell. And you’ve been listening to Lawful Good.