Rafey Balabanian
United States of America
  • PositionPartner
  • FirmEdelson
  • Age38
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Rafey Balabanian

Rafey Balabanian

United States of America
  • Position: Partner
  • Firm: Edelson
  • Age: 38

What do you do?

I handle complex plaintiff-side privacy litigation on behalf of classes of people and, more recently, on behalf of governmental entities.

Career highlights?

I am very proud of being one of the lead attorneys in the Facebook Biometrics litigation, where we got a class certified of several million people who had their biometric information harvested by Facebook. I am proud of our firm’s lead role in Spokeo, where the Supreme Court endorsed the core tenet of privacy law – that people can be injured both tangibly and intangibly when their privacy rights are violated. I am proud to have been lead counsel in Harris v comScore, where we achieved adversarial certification of what is believed to be the largest privacy class in US jurisprudence. And I am proud to be lead counsel in Birchmeier v Caribbean Cruise, where we reached a US$76 million cash settlement – the largest consumer privacy settlement to date.

Influences and mentors?

I’m a first-generation American, and my parents risked literally everything to come to this amazing country in hopes of providing a better life for me and my two sisters. They fled a war-torn nation, and did so with little more than the clothes on their backs. My parents were determined to make a better life for me and my sisters and they worked tirelessly to make that happen. My parents taught me that there is absolutely no replacing hard work and that it can make dreams come true. I would have to say that my other mentor is my partner, Jay Edelson. Whatever success I’ve managed to achieve in my career thus far is due, in large part, to Jay.

If you hadn’t been a lawyer...

If I wasn’t a lawyer, I’d like to say that I would have been a tennis professional ranked in the top 10 in the world. There are, however, a couple guys on the tour right now (Federer, Nadal, Djokovic and Murray) who probably would have given me some trouble. In all seriousness, though, my dream as a kid was to be a tennis pro and while I didn’t make it that far, I had a respectable career as a junior and went on to play in college.