The Trial Lawyer Fall 2017 - Page 14

TOP40UNDER40 Olga Izmaylova Sabbak & Izmaylova, LLP • Roswell. Georgia First job ever: When I was ten, I babysat my neighbor’s two children full-time for an entire summer. But, officially, I started working as a part- time cashier at Chick-fil-A when I was 14 years old. Proudest moment as a trial lawyer: I am proud of all the work I do for my clients. I am so humbled that my peers believe my work is worthy of this award and recognition. Attribute my success to: It’s hard to pinpoint one thing because there are so many factors to consider. The most important is my amazing support system. My friends and family always help and encourage me no matter what I am doing. Another person that had a huge influence on me was Professor Bascuas, who taught me so much more than just criminal procedure and evidence. He taught me how to read and comprehend case law; how to present persuasive legal arguments; and the importance of paying attention to details. He basically taught me how to think like a lawyer. And, of course, the training and experience I obtained at the Augusta Public Defenders Office, which was my first job as an attorney. The mentorship and help I received from my colleagues at that office significantly contributed to my success as a trial lawyer. 12 x The Trial Lawyer Notable Verdict or Settlement: I had a client who was charged with home invasion, armed robbery, kidnapping, aggravated assault, and other violent charges. The victim was an 83-year-old retired teacher and very well known in the community. The trial lasted for four days and the co-defendant testified against my client, who was young and facing multiple life sentences. The jury deliberated for about 20 minutes and acquitted him of all nine counts in the indictment. It was the most stressful trial I have had so far and I will never forget how I felt when I heard the clerk say not guilty nine times in a row. Fantasy job: Honestly, being a criminal defense attorney is my fantasy job. I cannot imagine myself doing anything else. But, if being a criminal defense attorney wasn’t an option, then I would want to become a chef and open a restaurant with my dad, who’s an amazing cook. Guilty pleasure: I like to listen to true crime podcasts. Currently, “My Favorite Murder” and “Up and Vanished” are at the top of my list. What I like to do in my time off: For the past eight years, I lived away from my family. Now that I’m back in Atlanta, I like to spend as much time with them as I can. I also love swimming — going to the beach or spending time at the pool is very enjoyable to me. One word that describes me: Zealous. — NTL MEMBERSHIP NEWS & NOTES — What keeps you awake at night? Generally, I sleep pretty well. But, if I’m preparing for a trial, or in the middle of one, the nerves and the adrenaline make it tough to sleep. What paper do you generally read daily? Usually, I read The Atlanta Journal Constitution online. I also follow a few local news sources on social media and read the articles they post when I’m browsing Facebook on my phone. What is your advice for a young attorney? Find mentors and ask them questions. If you’re unsure about something, do not assume that you know the answer. As a criminal defense attorney, you are responsible for other people’s lives, and you can never take that responsibility too lightly. There is no harm in double-checking or asking too many questions. But not asking can have detrimental results for your clients. What was your most embarrassing moment in life? When I was 14, my parents let me spend the night at my friend’s house. It was a Saturday night and we lived in the suburbs, so my friends and I decided to drive to Atlanta in the middle of the night. We got pulled over and when the officer realized that I was out past curfew, he made me call my parents to come get me. My parents had to get up at three in the morning and drive 30 minutes to pick me up. My parents were very disappointed and I was so ashamed that I have never lied to them ever again.