Anastasia Mazzella is a Partner at Kabateck LLP, a boutique plaintiff’s law firm with a focus on marketplace deception. Anastasia is a seasoned litigator specializing in employment litigation, class actions, mass torts, complex personal injury, and child sex abuse cases. She oversees the intake department at the firm and assesses the legal and economic viability of potential cases. Anastasia sits on the Board of Governors for the Association of Business Trial Lawyers (ABTL).
Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:
- Anastasia Mazzella discusses what Kabateck LLP does and how it differentiates itself from other law firms
- How Kabateck LLP established itself as an expert in various areas
- Anastasia Mazzella shares her area of expertise
- What inspired Anastasia to pursue the legal profession?
- Challenges Anastasia experiences with gender diversity at the partner level
- The turning point in Anastasia’s career
In this episode…
Finding the balance between professional growth, family life, and a fulfilling legal career can be challenging. How can lawyers seize opportunities and achieve success in their personal and professional lives?
Anastasia Mazzella understands how difficult it is to maintain a healthy boundary between your business and personal life. Yet, as a female attorney with a husband and children, she has built a successful legal career while prioritizing her family. An anomaly in a male-dominant industry, Anastasia does not shy away from taking risks. Her ability to overcome obstacles encourages those who want a balanced professional and personal lifestyle.
In this episode of 15 Minutes, Bela Musits sits down with Anastasia Mazzella, Partner at Kabateck LLP, to discuss how she navigates her career, family, and legal success. Anastasia shares her areas of expertise, what inspired her to become an attorney, and her experience as a female in the law industry.
Resources mentioned in this episode:
- Bela Musits on LinkedIn
- Gladiator Law Marketing
- Anastasia Mazzella on LinkedIn
- Kabateck LLP
- Brian Kabateck on LinkedIn
Sponsor for this episode…
This episode is brought to you by Gladiator Law Marketing, where we deliver tailor-made services to help you accomplish your objectives and maximize your growth potential.
To have a successful marketing campaign and make sure you’re getting the best ROI, your firm needs to have a better website and better content. At Gladiator Law Marketing, we use artificial intelligence, machine learning, and decades of experience to outperform the competition.
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Bela Musits 0:13
Hello, listeners. I’m Bela Musits, the host of the 15 Minutes Share Your Voice podcast, where we talk with top notch law firms and attorneys about what it takes to grow a successful law practice. This episode is brought to you by Gladiator Law Marketing, delivering tailor made services to help your law firm accomplish its objectives and maximize your growth potential. To have a successful marketing campaign, and to make sure you’re getting the best return on your investment, your firm needs to have a better website and better content. Gladiator Law Marketing uses artificial intelligence, machine learning, and decades of experience to outperform the competition. To learn more, go to gladiatorlawmarketing.com where you can schedule a free marketing consultation.
Today’s guest on the podcast is Attorney Anastasia Mazzella. She is a partner at Kabateck LLP, a well known boutique plaintiff’s law firm in Los Angeles. Anastasia is a seasoned litigator who specializes in class actions, mass torts, complex personal injury, and child sex abuse cases against schools, districts and churches. She also oversees the intake department at the firm, and assesses the legal and economic viability of potential new cases. Welcome to the podcast Anastasia.
Anastasia Mazzella 1:00
Well, thank you for having me.
Bela Musits 1:05
Yeah, this is great. So can you tell us a little bit about the firm and what it does?
Anastasia Mazzella 1:17
Sure, um, I think that we’re unique in Los Angeles, in that we take a wide variety of plaintiffs cases, everything from, you know, complex personal injury to class actions, to even some complex business litigation matters. Perhaps there’s a, you know, a commercial or business case where they started off with hourly, billable hourly attorneys in it’s gone on for so long that they want to switch to some contingency work. And then we do occasionally take hourly cases as well. So one thing we’ve learned is that the competition is stiff in Los Angeles, there’s, you know, you can hit a plaintiff’s attorney who does car accident cases, you know, just walking down the street, there’s a million of them. So yeah, I really do have to evolve and grow and expand our horizons in terms of what we’re aiming to achieve and kind of, you know, representing as many different types of people in cases as possible.
Bela Musits 2:44
Yeah. Yeah. So that’s, that’s a good point, you bring up about a lot of competition. And many attorneys are in markets like that, where we’re there, you know, on attorney row, and it’s just office after office of attorneys. How do you think about both differentiating the firm in that marketplace? But also differentiating yourself in that marketplace?
Anastasia Mazzella 3:05
That’s a great question. I mean, definitely one way we differentiate ourselves is we don’t focus in one particular area, I think people who know about us know, hey, if you’ve got that tough case, send it over to Kabateck, because, you know, they have a small but really smart group of attorneys who aren’t afraid to, you know, tackle tough cases, we’re not the kind of firm where, you know, let’s just take a car accident, for example. You know, where there’s, you know, you sue the other driver, and you get their insurance policy, we’re not that kind of firm, where the firm we’re usually another attorney has done that. And then they feel like maybe there’s another defendant, you know, maybe it was bad road design, or, you know, maybe there was another car involved. And then they, you know, come to us, they say, Hey, we’ve already got a book, pop the policy limits. Now, will you guys take over and try to do the harder type of litigation. So that definitely differentiates us being known to take the hard ones.
Bela Musits 4:08
Yeah. So it also sounds like there’s a fair number of attorneys that will refer cases to you, maybe ones that are a little bit outside of their specialty.
Anastasia Mazzella 4:16
100%, I would say, you know, when I run the intake department, and one of the reasons why I oversee a lawyer, we have an intake attorney, and one of the reasons why we have attorneys doing intake is because we do get a lot of referrals from other attorneys. A vast majority of the work that we get come from other attorneys and so we want to have another attorney talk to them speak, so to speak.
Bela Musits 4:41
Yeah. So when when you think about you know, the the incoming, the inbound things that come into the office, there’s sort of one way to get I get in a car accident, you know, I go through, I’m aging myself now the Yellow Pages or I get online And you know, and I look for attorneys or I look for billboards, and I pick one or maybe I call a couple, and then I pick one. But when having one and referrals come in from other attorneys, that’s sort of a different process. That’s sort of a, you know, establishing yourself as an expert in in various different areas. How have you guys done that?
Anastasia Mazzella 5:21
So one way is results driven. So you know, we get good results. Our Managing Partner, Brian Kabateck has had a wonderful career, really big hits. He, and we now we’re, some of the younger attorneys are all trying to become on you know, we sit on boards, I’m part of two different boards, we have another partner who’s on a couple of boards, where we, you know, put her name out there, they know about us. And when we do have big heads, and we have had results, we promote them in, you know, most of the time, it’s things like the daily journal, kind of well known legal publications, but now we are, you know, trying to do more social media promotion, and, you know, kind of advertising our success. And I think that’s probably the biggest way we we put our name out there.
Bela Musits 6:08
Yeah. Yeah. That’s great. So the other thing is, I wanted to ask you a little bit more about do you have an area of expertise? I mean, you did mention that you sort of manage the intake department. So, you know, trying to sort through that. But what other areas do you concentrate in?
Anastasia Mazzella 6:23
So I do a lot of class actions in mass torts. And so mass torts are basically, they’re usually personal injury cases, but you have, you know, hundreds, maybe 1000s of plaintiffs who are all injured by the same drug by the same defendant in some way. And they each all have their individual cases and injuries. Those take a lot of management, in terms of managing a huge player base. Class actions, we do consumer class actions. So those are kind of waning a little bit. Most big companies have class action waivers, which prevent people from suing them in mass, catastrophic personal injury, and then I’m really trying to or have developed a niche in the sex abuse cases sex abuse, assault on school campuses, and against clergy. Yeah.
Bela Musits 7:15
Now up to a large percentage of these go to litigation and trial, or what sort of the the breakdown of, you know, something comes in, let’s say it’s coming into your, your portfolio, how many of those are, you know, go to litigation, and then also to trial.
Anastasia Mazzella 7:34
100% Go to litigation almost make me say 100%. It’s very difficult to resolve cases, pre litigation, and if you try, and you make a preliterate settle your pre litigation demand, you’re kind of putting out there what you think the case is worth, because I put a number on that demand. And then it turns up, which how many go to trial class actions. And mass torts typically don’t sometimes mass torts do have individual trials, but mostly they don’t. And I’m not I don’t consider myself a trial attorney in particular, I consider myself more of a law of motion and appellate attorney, I do most of that work on my cases. But occasionally, we do have, you know, some cases that are going to go to trial, and one that might go to trial in February is sex assault case. So, you know, I would say a small percentage go to trial of my case.
Bela Musits 8:26
Yes. Okay. And when you talked about sitting on boards, and sort of engaging with the business community, or you know, other not for profit organizations, just kind of getting yourself out there, sort of face to face with people? Who can then refer you or refer things to you? Has that been one of the best ways for you guys to sort of promote the law firm? And get incoming incoming cases?
Anastasia Mazzella 8:56
Yeah, I think so. You know, it’s networking, um, LA is a relatively small, but community legal community. So you know, and there’s other networking functions and belonging to organizations, you know, the plaintiffs bar kind of events. I think some of the younger attorneys in our firm do a lot of that sort of thing. But absolutely getting your name out there. i We have a lot of people who speak on panels. I’m trying to do more of that. And yes, further along in my career, and I enjoy that going on podcasts. Our firm has a podcast as well. So all of those ways, I think, are the best ways, you know, you know, people on a more personal level, as opposed to putting a bunch of generic commercials on TV.
Bela Musits 9:43
Yeah. Let me I’m always curious, when I talk to different people in different professions, so what what sort of was the driving force to make you decide the legal profession?
Anastasia Mazzella 9:54
You know, it was more of a practical force. I don’t want to say Oh, I have to As you know, I love To Kill a Mockingbird when I was a child inspired me to be a lawyer, I loved the book, but that’s really not what it was always been a strong writer, particularly in like, rhetoric and you know, argumentative writing. And I had a lot of people growing up telling me oh, you should be alone should be a lawyer. I didn’t do it right away. I didn’t go back to law school till I was 32 years old. Okay. So don’t do the math, that’ll tell you how old I am. And it really was, you know, I’ve kind of just felt like I was stuck in these jobs where I wasn’t meeting my full potential. And I thought, you know, I really need to have more of a year by year career, I need a plan a five year plan. So they kind of matured, and I went to like, chose law, because it was something interesting to me. And I felt my skills were tailored to it.
Bela Musits 10:51
Yeah, you know, I have to say that in my career, I’ve I’ve engaged with a lot of different law firms. And there’s very, there’s there’s not a lot of gender diversity at the partner level. And, and you’re a partner. Yes. And so can you talk about that a little bit? Sort of what are the challenges? You know, what had the impact that has had on you?
Anastasia Mazzella 11:16
Sure. Um, I think one of the biggest challenges was, were actually, well, the biggest challenge was becoming a partner and being not only the only partner with children, um, there was another gentleman who has children, the partner, but I think the difference is, a lot of times the male partners have stay at home wives. Yes, not all, but a lot at my previous firm and the sperm, a lot of the male partners had stayed home wife. So not only was I the only female partner with children, I am still the only female attorney with children. So I think that’s the biggest challenge, you know, you you pass, at least I did, I chose to pass on taking on more cases and the potential to make more money because I did want to be more of a hands on Mom, no nanny. So I think that’s, that’s the biggest you kind of see some of the male partners getting more money bigger is better cases, so that you’re like, oh, kind of hurts. But you have to know you’re, you’re doing it. For your family?
Bela Musits 12:21
Yeah. Yeah. So finding that balance is one of the one of the challenges, I think, in many professions. Right? Where do you where do you sort of draw that line? And, and some professions are extremely demanding. And, and the amount of time is often that you can engage often is related to your ability to advance and and get compensated? Correct? Correct. So if, if you were, let me ask this question first. Have you had some mentors in sort of your legal, you know, history and how they helped and what have they done for you?
Anastasia Mazzella 12:58
Yes, I my first the first five years of my career, I was defense on the defense side. Okay, I specialized in law in motion and appellate work are my law firm had its own little department, all we did was legal research, and briefs and things like that. And I had two attorneys there that were wonderful, my partner in charge of us and then the senior partner in charge. And they both really, really helped. I have a little bit of what’s called impostor syndrome. So I never and I still have it never felt like I was good enough, never felt like my work was what I wanted it to be. But they were great at teaching me, you know, valuable tips for becoming a better legal writer and then just really encouraged me like, No, you got this, you can do this, you know, we then taking me encouraged me to do seminars and giving me a lot of work that I felt was above my paygrade at the time, but it helped show me that I could do it. So a lot of responsibility very early on, and that was extremely valuable. And then now of course, since I became a plaintiff’s attorney, I would say our Managing Partner, Brian Kapateck, has been a great mentor and he’s without, you know, his willingness to let me be a mom and do what I wanted to do as a mom and for my family and advanced in the law firm he’s very he’s been very flexible. I wouldn’t I honestly wouldn’t be a partner.
Bela Musits 14:23
Now have there have there been some mentors you’ve had that are outside of the profession or at least outside directly your you know, your employment and leadership tree?
Anastasia Mazzella 14:34
Gosh, I hate to say this, but not really not from a professional standpoint. I’ve had a lot of you know, my mom was a working mom and she encouraged us to really go for it. So you know, she she was a huge influence on me but professional mentors. I’m not sure I had any until I became a lawyer.
Bela Musits 14:59
Yeah. up. Yeah. Was there a sort of turning point in your career? Where where something happened? Or you got a particular case? Or, you know, you had some vision and said, Okay, this this is this is, and then it resulted in a big turning point.
Anastasia Mazzella 15:17
Gosh, that’s a good question. Can I list two things? Oh, sure, of course, because I’ve had kind of a long career, I guess, at this point, 16 years. But, um, the first would definitely be when I had my first child, I was still at the defense firm. And I Oh, my gosh, I was billable hours, I had transitioned a little bit to litigation, I had depositions in three different states, passing up those opportunities, giving them to a male attorney, who didn’t mind leaving his family for three or four days. And while I was suffering there, that turmoil I got a random email from a recruiter. And it said, you know, Hey, there’s this intake attorney position at uplinked of sperm. And it’s nine to six no litigation, and I said, I’m gonna go for it. And that was Novitec. So that’s how I you know, and it was that’s a huge turning point, I went from defense to plaintiffs. And it really helped kind of transition me into the plaintiffs world. And then, more recently, in the last couple years, Brian, and I have been the counsel class counsel on a huge case here in LA, called Jones versus City of Los Angeles and involves the LADWP Utility. And there’s a lot of controversy, we were actually replaced, we replaced old class counsel who were appointed by the court. And there’s a lot of you can look it up in the LA Times. There’s a lot of allegations of collusion. And it’s been a very exciting, but very difficult case the last few years.
Bela Musits 16:53
Wow. Wow. So if someone who’s listening to this podcast, let’s say, you know, is looking at you, and they’re saying, Oh, wow, this is great. What a great role model. Anastasia is for me, what sort of words of advice would you give someone?
Anastasia Mazzella 17:10
I would say that I’m, although I went back to law school, I guess, as an older student, I would say that the law is a young person’s game. So it’s, I think it’s good to maybe get a year or two of work under your belt between graduating from college and going to law school, because it is a very strenuous profession. And I think having that strong work ethic and being in an environment where, you know, you work hard, and you kind of come to law school with that base is extremely important. I wouldn’t advise going straight from college to law school, I think that that does a disservice really to yourself. And yeah. And then I also wouldn’t advise going back to law school when you’re, you know, too old, or too much older, when you’ve got family responsibilities, because it is a very difficult, you know, those first five years of your career, you’re really grinding, and you’re going to miss out on a lot of social opportunities. And, you know, your family, your marriage. Yeah. So I think there’s like that sweet spot, maybe in the 20s, where it’s a good time to go. And then lastly, I think it’s important to not let fear hold you back. You know, I know timing is everything. But sometimes opportunities pop up. And even if you’re, you don’t think you’re prepared for them. You know, you should trust your instincts and go for it. Believe in yourself. I mean, I know, I certainly passed up on things in my younger days of the year that I regret now because of fear.
Bela Musits 18:49
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, the unknown is, is always a challenge. And people’s risk level of what they’re willing to accept is different for everybody. And there’s no right or wrong, we got to figure out what works for you, and your situation, but I can reflect back on my life. And, and, you know, I can say, I walked away from certain things because it wasn’t the right time. And, or I took certain things because it did feel like the right time. But those are sometimes challenging. I just, I just, I’m always thankful that I have those opportunities.
Anastasia Mazzella 19:22
That is true. What a great way to look at it.
Bela Musits 19:24
Yeah, thankful to have the opportunity and you don’t have to accept every one of them.
Anastasia Mazzella 19:29
Right? Exactly. And if you don’t accept when you can’t look back and regret it, I think, just that you’re, you know, hey, look, it happened for a reason. And as a result, all these other things because I turned it down. I have all these other great things, right.
Bela Musits 19:42
That’s right. Yeah. The what, as you think about your career and how it’s progressed, where where do you what’s the next big step for you? What’s the what’s your next big sort of, you know, thing you’re striving for?
Anastasia Mazzella 19:59
You know, um, I really feel that my career is on an upswing. You know, I really I think I’m getting more opportunities. I think the next I love working with the younger associates I love, you know, passing on my knowledge to them, I love being available when they have questions and helping them think through problems. So, you know, I would really like to see myself do more of that do more speaking, maybe go back and teach some night classes, you know, be an adjunct professor. You know, I think that that’s kind of where I see the next phase of of my career really?
Bela Musits 20:35
Yeah, very nice. I can highly recommend being an adjunct. I did that for many years, and then actually ended up being a full time professor later in my career, and I got a lot of satisfaction out of that. So I wouldn’t, I would encourage you if that opportunity presents itself to pursue it.
Anastasia Mazzella 20:51
Oh, that’s so great to hear that you enjoyed that experience? That’s encouraging.
Bela Musits 20:56
Yeah, it was, it was great. I missed a lot of work. But I also learned a lot. You know, they always say are right, you know, watch one. Do one teach one. Yeah. And when you’re and when you’re teaching something, you you really that’s there were many topics that I really understood them, after I taught them. And if I wouldn’t have had that teaching experience, I wouldn’t have had the insights that I did that that helped me in my career. Right. So you know, there’s there was, it wasn’t just for the personal satisfaction. There was knowledge that I gained from that experience that helped me in my career. So I think I highly, highly recommend that.
Anastasia Mazzella 21:33
Oh, that’s so great. I definitely look forward to something like that.
Bela Musits 21:38
So is there. I’m going to start wrapping up here. So I have two more questions for you. If listeners want to find out more about you, and the firm, where’s the best place for them to go to?
Anastasia Mazzella 21:52
Well, we have the website, www.kbklawyers.com. They can be also a very unique name, Kabateck. So K-A-B-A-T-E-C-K. So we’re definitely on the web. And, you know, we have a good a good presence online.
Bela Musits 22:12
Yes. Well, I’ll make sure that information gets into the show notes, so people can find it there. And also, is there something that I haven’t asked you that you would like to share with the audience?
Anastasia Mazzella 22:25
Um, no, I think that Well, let me think. Um, I think I’ve pretty much said it. I mean, my most important message is, you know, just go for it, fake it till you make it. If you do believe in something, and you really want something in your career, you know, don’t let anything hold you back. Certainly experience helps. But you get that along the way. And like you said, you have that instinct of when’s the right time and when it’s not the right time. And I think if you always follow that instinct, you won’t go wrong.
Bela Musits 22:57
Yeah. Well, great. Well, Anastasia, thank you very much for being a guest on the podcast. I really enjoyed our conversation.
Anastasia Mazzella 23:04
Thank you so much for having me.
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