Richard Bellah founded Bellah Perez, PLLC in 1985. But how did he get here? From being forced to branch out into many areas of law while working in an office with no room for staff, Bellah created a firm delivering help and advice on family law, bankruptcy, personal injury, estate planning, real estate, business, civil litigation, and tax relief. We asked him a few questions about his journey, his biggest cases, and his goals for Bellah Perez.
How did you decide to pursue your chosen practice area, general law, versus specifically focusing on others?
I specialized in family law initially. Over time, I hired lawyers to work for me to handle family law and branched out into other areas of the law.
How did you end up opening your own firm? Describe the journey.
My partner at that time said he didn’t want to be partners or even employ attorneys anymore, so I was forced to find my own way, to do something. I went next door to this one law firm and said, “Hey, can I have an office and a space for a secretary?” And they said, “We have an office to rent to you, but we don’t have room for a secretary. You’ll need to rent space from the next-door office,” a CPA. The way it worked was I worked out of a storage room at the CPA office and my secretary was in the hallway of the attorney’s office next door.
I was really fortunate that the court hired me to do court-appointed cases, which paid the rent, but I had to do everything else to make a living. Such a blessing. I know a lot about a lot of different things. I can help a lot of different people. People call, and I think they know that I can at least know something about that area of law and give them some direction and help them out.
Describe your biggest cases over your career. Does your approach to these bigger cases differ? What does the process look like?
I had a life-changing experience a few years ago. I saw a developer develop a shopping center really, really quickly, because they wanted to and needed to. I realized I could do the same thing with many of my cases — get them done fast. Cases that might take a lot of firms a few years to do, I’ll try to get them done within a few months.
Many cases come to mind, and they’re all building blocks. I learn. One case will be a building block to another. Experience in the law is important; you experience things and you know how to spin them and handle them better than if you didn’t have past experience.
How did Bellah Perez’s 2018 look?
It depends on how you look at it. If you look at it financially, God blessed us. Cristina Perez and I have a very wonderful relationship and partnership. She’s amazing. And combining our skills, my experience with her talents, has really been an amazing thing. We’ve seen some amazing cases that have been resolved.
What are your hopes for Bellah Perez in the future?
To me, that’s a complex question. There’s a real market out there for Hispanic people, and Cristina and others in our firm have the ability to handle that market. Under Cristina and my leadership, the firm will continue to prosper. I know that we want to impact people. We want to be something more than just a law firm. We want to impact the world. We want to give direction. We want to be able to be known and to be able to influence on a lot of different issues.
Thank you, Richard Bellah, for taking the time to answer questions for the readers.
[This interview was edited for clarity]
Partner / Managing Attorney
Bellah Perez, PLLC.
5622 W. Glendale Ave.
Glendale, AZ 85301
Disclaimer: The answer is intended to be for informational purposes only. It should not be relied on as legal advice, nor construed as a form of attorney-client relationship.