[as originally published on Her Campus]
Becoming an adult is terrifying. Though college typically provides young women practice living as an adult while still having a safety net, the prospect of having to make real adult decisions looms over our heads as the end of our four years steadily approaches. Finding your own apartment? Handling your own money? Working out your finances in the event that something bad happens? All of these and more give many young college women anxiety—and attorney Naz Barouti has set out to change that fear.
Author of a best-selling new book Love, Death, and Money: A Woman's Guide to Legally Protecting Yourself (Amazon, $13.99), certified #girlboss Barouti advises women on how to deal with the unexpected in a world that's conditioned women to be financially dependent on a partner. As a lawyer, Barouti considers herself to be an advocate for every woman, helping them protect their assets in either love or business. Establishing her own company, Barouti Law Corporation, Barouti is an accessible resource for all women. No matter their financial standing, she often provides consultations either in person or online (check out her legal tips on Instagram!). We were fortunate enough to have Barouti tell us about the most rewarding parts of her career, how she's shattering the stereotype of money-hungry lawyers, and how she values being a feminist advocate.
Her Campus: What does your current job entail?
Naz Barouti: I help countless individuals protect their assets from probate court. Essentially, I make sure that the state courts do not get involved in how your assets get distributed after your passing. In addition, I prepare the necessary legal documents to ensure that you select who will make financial and medical decisions for you if you become incapacitated.
HC: Is there such a thing as a typical day?
NB: There is never a typical day, as I encounter many twists and turns during a workday. However, I spend a lot of time educating the masses, specifically women on how to protect themselves financially and legally. You would be surprised to learn that the typical one-on-one meeting with a lawyer in an office has become a thing of the past. I spend much of my time answering questions via social media such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
HC: What is the best part of your job?
NB: The best part of my job is educating clients on how they can take protect themselves financially and legally in personal and professional relationships. The image the public has of attorneys is that we want you to not have the necessary information, so you make mistakes and then you're in desperate need of us so we can charge you a lot of money. That couldn’t be further from the truth in my practice. I want everyone from whatever socioeconomic level to have access to legal help before it is too late. That is why I wrote my book Love, Death, and Money: A Woman’s Guide to Legally Protecting Yourself. I joke and refer to it as the legal Bible for all women.
HC: What was your first entry-level job in your field and how did you get it?
NB: I interned for free for an Estate Planning law firm in Orange County. I was fortunate enough to get the position because my father was close friends with the owner. I used to be ashamed that I had to ask for help, but as I’ve grown as an attorney, I’ve realized that was all just ego. You should tap into all resources and contacts you have. The goal is to learn from the best of the best and it shouldn’t matter who hooked you up with the job!
HC: What words of wisdom do you find most valuable?
NB: Well, I’m my own boss, which means I have to constantly be the keynote speaker of my own mind. I have to motivate and encourage myself. What keeps me going is remembering that it is impossible for me to compete with others when I am the competition. This is not about being full of myself, but knowing what I bring to any business transaction. I strive to maintain this strong mentality.
HC: What is one mistake you made along the way and what did you learn from it?
NB: I spent so much time trying to prove myself to people that didn’t matter. Anytime I heard a negative comment or a criticism about my abilities, I killed myself trying to prove them wrong. One day I woke up and realized these people were haters. It didn’t matter what I did or how I did it, they just wanted to attack me. I learned that my energy could have been better served focusing on my own goals and muting out the thoughts and opinions of others.
HC: What has been the most surreal moment of your career thus far?
NB: The most surreal moment of my career thus far has been having complete strangers reach out to me on social media to let me know that I inspire them. Messages like that mean so much to me because it reminds me all the sleepless nights building my practice and helping people was worth it.
HC: What do you look for when considering hiring someone?
NB: Someone with the desire and passion to learn. I’ve been practicing for almost 10 years and I still wake up every morning eager to learn. If we are constantly pursuing a life filled with learning, we are constantly evolving – and I find that to be a beautiful thing.
HC: What advice would you give to a 20-something with similar aspirations?
NB: Don’t stop. Keep going. I remember in my mid-20s feeling that I would never reach a point where I would be considered an expert in my field. I would beat myself up over it so much. Looking back now I laugh. How did I expect to be an expert without experience? Pay your dues and the rest will follow.
HC: What's the one thing that's stood out to you the most in a resume?
NB: Someone who is multi-dimensional. I vibe with people that are not one-dimensional and expose themselves to everything. When you are able to push yourself out of your comfort zone, you become a better businesswoman because it helps you understand people from different walks of life. You can put me in a room filled with people of different ages, races and religious beliefs and I will find common ground with all of them.