A Man in a Big Hurry

Patrick Avakian is hooked on speed

Published in 2009 Southern California Rising Stars — July 2009

Things don't always move as fast as  you'd like in the legal world, which is why patent attorney Patrick Avakian is grateful that he's been able to keep one foot firmly planted in the sport he has loved since his youth—auto racing.

Avakian, a 34-year-old associate at Davis Wright Tremaine in Los Angeles, had a knack for mechanics and a need for speed even before he was a teenager. "I got hooked on the remote-control cars that you build yourself, and by the time I was 16 or 17, I went from model cars to working on real cars."

At 19, he began competing in autocrosses—races that are staged in parking lots with 60 or 70 cars traveling upwards of 60 mph. Avakian raced and maintained his own BMW coupe. He became California state champion in 2001 and finished third in the nation at his level.

Nowadays, Avakian can be found underneath the hood of a race car more often than behind the wheel. He managed the pit crew of a racing team that competed in six weekend events last year, including the 25-hour Thunderhill Endurance Race in Willows, Calif. The team with the most laps at the end of that time is declared the winner. Avakian's team finished first in its class and second overall. (Davis Wright Tremaine helped sponsor the car.)

On weekends when he's not racing, Avakian often works as an instructor for BMW and Porsche car clubs, helping new owners of these high-performance vehicles become better drivers.

"You never stop being a better driver," he says. "Every time you think you've accomplished something, you look on the horizon and there's something else to shoot for."

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