Steven Soliman
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—How a Conversation with a Faculty Member Started Him on the Path to a Successful Career in Law

Crafton Hills College alumnus shares how a conversation with a faculty member started him on the path to a successful career in law.

Some would think that everyone has a plan after graduating from high school: go to college and start a career. For Steven Soliman, he had no options out of high school and had no specific career goal.

Unsure what the future would hold, Soliman enrolled at Crafton Hills College with some friends, took a few classes and saw himself excelling, but it was a “B” grade that changed the trajectory of the Roadrunner’s outlook on what could come next.

“I was taking biology and got a ‘B,’ but I thought I had deserved an ‘A’. I went into Professor [Roger] Sadler’s office and argued for my grade, and he ended up agreeing with me. I remember I was standing behind him and he changed my grade to an “A,” when he swiveled his chair [to face me] and said, ‘You should be a lawyer.’

‘Why would you say that?’ I replied. ‘I don’t know, that’s the impression that I get,’ he said.”

It was at that moment – a “lightbulb moment,” Soliman said – that started the process. “I was lacking direction and [appealing this grade] changed my life.” He added that he then knew what it would take to get to the next point, and was focused on maintaining excellent grades so he could reach that next step in his pursuit to become a lawyer.

After graduating from Crafton, Soliman transferred to UC San Diego and majored in political science. He then took a year off to study for the LSAT, passed the test and then, in 2009, began studying law at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles.

“But I still lacked direction,” he recalled. “During law school I was working for different firms and found out I liked litigation and representing clients in personal injury cases. I started clerking for reputable plaintiff’s personal injury firms, graduated from law school, and began studying for the California Bar Exam.”

Yet, it wasn’t all smooth sailing from there, Soliman explained. He left the law firm he was employed with and once again lacked that solid foundation he needed to find his footing. But it was at the encouragement of a friend and a move to Orange County that helped set the wheels back in motion.

“He encouraged me to start my own firm and told me that I could use a cubicle in [his office in] Costa Mesa for free until I could get back on my feet,” Soliman said. “I moved to Orange County with no money, no cases and had to start from the ground up. But soon I was able to rent an office space, and that’s where I am eight years later.”

The Soliman Firm, PLC now has two offices – including one in neighboring Redlands – and he employs several full and part-time employees. He is currently in the process of becoming licensed in Florida and Texas, and plans to open additional offices there. Best of all, the firm is led by a first-generation Egyptian, raised Southern California, who discovered his passion for helping others right here at Crafton Hills College.

“I think that if I can truly do it, anyone can,” Soliman said. “I’m not ultra-intelligent or anything. I come from a fractured home (his parents divorced when he was young), had to overcome several obstacles, and I was a little behind the curve…, all because my focus was not there. I had so many cards stacked against me at the time. But I knew in the back of my head I wasn’t mediocre.”

When asked if he had any advice for future Roadrunners still mapping out a plan, Soliman was quick to answer. “At the end of the day, if you want success, if that’s what you truly want and you believe you deserve, let those thoughts do their thing. Put your head down, work hard, be patient and believe it’s all going to work out with time,” he said.