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Ali and Jamie Salimi with daughters "Madi" and "Juju."

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A is for Affinity

Ali Salimi, co-founder of The Auto Accident Attorneys Group, says there’s no place like home

Ali Salimi, co-founder of The Auto Accident Attorneys Group, is an award-winning personal injury attorney and East Cobb native. We chatted with him to discover how and why he moved back from Los Angeles with his family — and why he has no regrets.

East Cobb Lifestyle: Did you want to be an attorney when you grew up?

Yes. Actually, in my fifth grade yearbook from Eastside Elementary, under my photo, we were supposed to say something about ourselves and what we hoped to accomplish. Mine said I would win the largest trial verdict in U.S. history. That hasn’t happened yet, but I’m still young!

ECL: Where did that ambition come from?

My parents are Persian immigrants, so I had three options: lawyer, doctor or disappointment. They’re small business owners, but I always felt like they were intimidated by some unknown power structure because of what they witnessed during the Iranian Revolution. I was born here, so I felt a responsibility to take on the thing that was intimidating to them. As a kid, I thought lawyers made the rules for this unknown system, so I was drawn to it. I wanted to level the playing field, in a sense. 

ECL: How did their entrepreneurial spirit influence you?

I feel like the average lawyer will work for a firm and, if they have entrepreneurial spirit, break out on their own later. But I decided to immediately start my own practice. I started as a criminal defense attorney in Los Angeles. When my wife and I started having kids, we knew we needed to move out of L.A. I grew up in East Cobb; I knew the schools; I even knew the exact cul de sac I wanted to live on. It was a moment of clarity, realizing it was time to come back.

ECL: How did your wife like the idea?

It was hard to sell since she’s originally from Los Angeles. I can say she loves East Cobb now . . . but that first year and half, absolutely not. [Laughs.] East Cobb is different from Los Angeles, but when you get used to the quiet and the safety, it’s charming —  my teachers in high school used to pejoratively say we live in a bubble. Ironically, that bubble is what I wanted for my kids. 

ECL: How did you foray from criminal defense law to personal injury law?

As a criminal defense attorney, I was in court five days a week. We were having our first daughter, so the ability to control my time was critical. I convinced my wife to leave her career in corporate securities law to build this practice. She’s now my partner — technically, she’s head attorney of The Auto Accident Attorneys Group. Since we had no preconceived notions about what a personal injury firm should be, we created a one-of-a-kind office and experience.

Also, because I grew up here, I didn’t just want to open a business; I wanted to contribute to the culture. We’ve hosted concerts, petting zoos, seasonal festivals, blood drives and other free events. I know my kids are being raised in one of the best communities I’ve ever seen, and I’m happy they're able to see our business grow with them.

  • Ali and Jamie Salimi with daughters "Madi" and "Juju."