April 29, 2022. In the final installment for Tycko & Zavareei LLP’s anniversary month, Jon and Hassan reflect on their journey of 20 years.
Reflecting on Accomplishments
Jon Tycko: You know, over those 20 years, the firm has gotten to work on a lot of really interesting, important cases. Along the way, there’s been a number of them where I think we’ve actually had a significant impact. That, you know, can be either because we got a great result in a big case, but often it’s also that we made some law along the way.
We got a great decision from a court that ends up not only impacting our particular case, but then impacts a whole series of cases that could come after that and actually, you know, can impact people’s rights, consumers’ rights, tenants’ rights, whistleblower rights, the types of things that we’ve done over the years where I think we’ve actually been able to push the law in the direction we wanted.
Hassan Zavareei: I think Jon and I both are really happy about what we have created, what we’ve built, obviously, not on our own, but with the help of all the other attorneys and staff who’ve been part of the firm. And I think for me, it’s something that I think has been a force for good in the legal profession.
The Plaintiffs Bar
JT: We were both naturally little guy lawyers, in the sense that we were more comfortable being on the plaintiff side, representing the little guy or the little girl or little whatever, little business, little nonprofit. The less powerful interest was the one that we wanted to be on the side of in the cases.
Starting Our Own Firm
HZ: I really did want to build something. We did have small children, and it was really important to me. I mean, the reason I went to law school was to use the legal skills and talents and privileges that I gained to help other people. And I really enjoyed the litigation I was doing. It was really interesting and fascinating and complex, but it didn’t get me going in the morning, feeling like I was representing clients who really needed my skills and really made me feel like I was doing something good with the talents and privileges that I had.
How TZ Started
HZ: So this was back when we had real libraries and it was quite a big library.
JT: And that’s probably where I spent most of my time.
HZ: Jon was there quite a bit because if you did research, you had to do it in the library. I mean, there was Westlaw, but it really didn’t work the way it does today. Jon came up to me and said, “Hey, you want to work on this case? We’re working on this really interesting case. Do you want to work on it with me?” And I didn’t know Jon was only at—what were you, like, a year senior to me?—I thought, “Oh, the senior associate’s coming up to me and giving me an assignment, I better take it.” I ended up working on this case the whole time we were at the firm. And then after we left the firm, and we were actually representing the firm, we ended up getting a nice judgment for the firm. Actually, that work actually helped pay the bills for the first few months that we opened [our] firm.
JT: Yeah, that’s right.
HZ: So that experience of working with Jon very early on and then throughout my career, I think helped us develop the working relationship that we have today.
HZ: What we’re seeing is that by virtue of the great talent that we have, the work that’s being accomplished is not really by me and Jon. It’s by all of these other people who are working for us in elevating the type of work that we can do, elevating our reputation, elevating our names.
JT: When I think about what exciting things might the firm do over the next five or ten years, I’ve gotten to the point where I’m almost assuming that I’m just going to be sitting back watching those things happen as other people in the firm kind of take the lead and do the work on making those exciting things happen.
But I do think we’re very well positioned now in terms of resources and people and reputation to be doing bigger and more important cases year after year. And I mean, I’m just looking forward to seeing what happens. The future is hard to predict, but, you know, it is so bright that you do have to wear shades.
HZ: For me, I mean, I agree it’s fun to sit back and watch, but it’s also a lot of fun to get involved in developing these young people’s careers and helping promote them, help them think about ways that they can move forward and become more well known to get more exciting work to create opportunities for them.