Diversity, words shape local lawyer's career


By Christine L. Mobley

Legal News

The first day on the job as a summer law clerk, he knew that Warner Norcross & Judd was where he would feel at home.

Homayune Ghaussi, who practices commercial litigation at Warner Norcross, was elected as a partner in the firm last November. He notes that "the firm's Diversity Initiative is great, useful and necessary to have."

"The fact of the matter is, worldwide communications via the Web has created a very small world," Ghaussi points out. "If you don't understand diversity, you won't implement diversity. And if you don't live it, you're not going to thrive."

"Diversity is a necessary part of both life and business today, and not just because it's good for the bottom line, but because it truly affords a broader experience and creates a better business environment."

Ghaussi learned the lessons diversity offered at an early age.

Born in Afghanistan, Ghaussi's first experience in cultural diversity came at age 7 when his family left their homeland for Sudan.

"When we moved to the Sudan it was a whole different world," Ghaussi recalls. "We went from literally being part of the vast majority to being the only Afghan family in the area. In the beginning, we didn't know anyone else who spoke our language. We had to learn to speak both English and Arabic. It was a whole different world to us. "I think that because I was a child, I was able to learn and adapt fairly quickly. My new friends may have looked a little different, and I looked different to them. And while we recognized that we came from different backgrounds, we all wanted the same thing--to play and have fun. This was my first experience in understanding cultural and human diversity."

Ghaussi had these diversity lessons "ingrained" in him, having experienced it first-hand.

"I learned early on that it was fun and interesting to learn how different people go about their daily lives, achieving the same ends through different means. This natural curiosity helped shape my views about diversity."

During his high school years, the law became Ghaussi's passion.

"Initially, I thought I would go into some type of computer science...until I took a business law class," he says. The teacher taught the class with a debate-element where each person would have to take their views on a case and defend them. The student who successfully debated their side got no weekend homework.

"As shy as I was, I was compelled to argue for my side and I absolutely loved it," Ghaussi smiles. "It was my favorite thing. My shyness disappeared and I realized I had a knack for it. It's what sparked my interest in becoming a lawyer."

Once Ghaussi had his passion for the law ignited, it was flamed by his desire for peaceful resolutions.

"Having to leave my homeland forever because of the Soviet invasion gave me an innate belief that words should resolve any conflict or issue," the graduate of Wayne State University Law School said.

"And this is what I engage in daily in my legal practice, using words to successfully resolve conflicts for my clients. It's better than any alternative."

As for his new partnership at Warner Norcross, Ghaussi is pleased.

"Since law school, this is the firm I wanted to be a partner at," he says.

"Ever since my first day as a summer associate, I felt a part of Warner Norcross, and from that day on I've always felt a part the team."

Published: Wed, Jun 23, 2010