Career Profiles

Ryan J. Tomalas ‘08

Partner, Tomalas Law Firm

T: (949) 756-8711 / F: (949) 756-8713

Ryan J. Tomalas ‘08

What do you do?
I am a partner at the Tomalas Law Firm and a second generation Personal Injury Attorney. The Tomalas Law Firm specializes in representing individuals and families in California that have been seriously injured by the negligence of another person or entity. We are litigators that handle a variety of personal injury claims, including catastrophic injuries, wrongful death, auto accidents, dog bite/attack, and premises liability cases.

What excites you most about your job?
I love the “David versus Goliath” aspect of what I do. The harsh reality is that if insurance companies acted the way they portray themselves in their advertisements, our area of practice might cease to exist. Insurance companies are not “good neighbors,” they make a habit out of taking “responsibility” and injury victims are not “in good hands.” Not only are insurance companies difficult to work with, but the insurance claims process is complex in itself and can be very intimidating to someone who has never been through it before. Insurance companies are sophisticated and extremely skilled at regularly taking advantage of injury victims and their inexperience with the claims process. The thing I love most about what we do is balancing this dramatic inequity by fighting to ensure that insurance companies treat victims reasonably. There is nothing like contacting an appreciative client to tell them that their case has been resolved successfully and that a good recovery has been achieved (resulting in a “silver lining” to a very negative experience in their life).

How did your experience at WLS prepare you for this position?
When I started law school, I was in a different position than most of my classmates; I had run a business for 10 years, was married and had a child. As such, my “extracurricular” time was spent working in my father’s law practice and taking care of my family. While I was unable to participate in programs such as Moot Court and Trial Advocacy, I found Whittier Law School’s Legal Writing courses to be an invaluable contribution to my legal training. As a litigator, I understand that strong legal writing skills are absolutely essential, and Whittier’s Legal Writing Department played a crucial role in developing those skills that I utilize in my day-to-day practice. Additionally, my judicial externship with Hon. James Gray (ret.) of the Orange County Superior Court was another valuable experience that has helped shape me into the attorney that I am today. I draw on both of these components of my legal education on a daily basis. These experiences enable me to persuasively, passionately and professionally advocate on behalf of my clients to any “audience,” whether it be an insurance adjuster, defense attorney, judge or jury.

Do you have any advice for those seeking employment in your industry?
I strongly recommend that anyone interested in becoming a litigator spend a semester or two as an extern or intern in the court system; understanding lawyering from the Court’s perspective is absolutely invaluable. Furthermore, the importance of interning, working or volunteering for an experienced and reputable personal injury attorney or firm (on either the plaintiff or defense side) cannot be understated. The practical experience gained from working for a personal injury firm will help develop necessary lawyering skills and strategies to properly represent your client’s best interests in the future. Finally, get involved in your local Bar Association and Trial Lawyers Association; you will be pleasantly surprised at how willing other experienced attorneys are to help and mentor you throughout your legal education and in the early part of your career.