[as originally published on thehypemag.com]
Naz Barouti is a woman that wears many hats. She is a lawyer, author, entrepreneur, media commentator, and public speaker. In the past, she has been featured on platforms such as Fox News Radio, Bloomberg TV, USA Today, and Fox 11 News for legal commentary on matters of death, divorce, or criminal prosecution of high-profile figures.
For 2 years, Naz hosted a weekly radio program called “Protecting Your Family” with Kerri Kasem, the daughter of legendary radio personality Kasey Kasem. Barouti is also a board member for the Kasem Cares Foundation and can currently be heard in Los Angeles on 670 AM’s professional business hour.
Barouti obtained her Political Science degree from UC Berkeley, and she would go on to earn her law degree from William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul with a focus in Elder Law and Estate Planning. She would finally receive her MBA from the University of Phoenix. Upon graduating with her MBA, she established Barouti Law Corporation in 2011. The company now has five offices in Southern California that specialize in estate planning, retirement planning, wealth management, prenuptial agreements.
Naz does not see herself as just a lawyer, but a legal advocate for women. Her focus is to help women protect their assets before entering a partnership, whether for love or a business relationship.
The Hype Magazine recently had the pleasure to speak with Naz Barouti about why she feels it is important now more than ever for both men and women to protect their assets. She also talks about other things that she is currently working on, such as a new book and what the Kasam Cares Foundation has in store for 2018.
With what is going on in Hollywood and in other industries around domestic violence and sexual misconduct, why do you feel it is important for men and women to protect their assets before entering a partnership?
I think that we all want to enter a relationship with a positive mental outlook. Unfortunately, nowadays it’s very hard to maintain a healthy relationship. I think that social media has made it possible for people to access anyone at any time, and there are so many distractions. We have lost sight of that, and the chance of a relationship working out is now 50 percent – most marriages end in divorce. It is a realistic thing to know if I am at work, I need to monitor myself, whether it’s a romantic or a business relationship. We need to make sure if it goes sour that everything you work hard for is protected.
With the whole ‘Me Too Movement,’ obviously I support all women, but it is getting to the point that every little thing that is said is being misconstrued in a negative light. I think we are creating an environment that people are afraid to express themselves in. There must be boundaries within the workplace, but everything is being taken out of context. When you walk into work, you are walking on eggshells: Can I say this? Or can I not say this? It hinders the creativity at work. We need to define what we consider sexual harassment and what is not, because there is not a clear-cut definition right now. Not only women, but men as well; because they get put into situations where they cannot defend themselves, and yet we are not advocates for men when it comes to sexual harassment. It has to be an equal process. It’s headed to where men and women have to be separated from each other.
Is there something special that drives you to be an advocate for women in their careers and in their private lives?
It stems from me being an immigrant. I came to the US because my parents wanted to give me a better life. As a woman, I want to be able to experience what a man can experience as far as life events and career. Since my parents have sacrificed and given up everything to come here, I feel I have a duty not only to them, but other women. This allows me to show them that they can be strong and independent from a financial standpoint. I think a lot of the time women stay in abusive relationships because of the bond and from a financial aspect. They feel that they might not have another choice. I did a whole radio show about Ray Rice head-butting his wife in the elevator, where everyone was reacting to her decision to stay with him.
You must take a step back, because you do not know her situation and why she feels the need to stay with him. Is it from a financial standpoint because she has been with him for years? Or maybe she was wondering what she would do if things were to end. A lot of women feel helpless in those situations. That’s why I’m trying to stress before you enter a relationship or business agreement that you on your own are enough. For men too, that you can support yourself without anyone else. We do not instill that in young women. And we as a society feel so depressed after looking at social media.
In this age with social media and the fact a reputation is an asset, what advice do you have for women who find themselves wrongly portrayed on social site such as “The In this age with social media and the fact a reputation is an asset, what advice do you have for women who find themselves wrongly portrayed on social sites such as “The Dirty.com” and National Enquirer?
When I was younger, I would get so upset when someone said something negative about me, whether it was personally or based on my profession. And I would be focused on it until I realized that the individuals who are important in your life – when they really get to know you, really find out your real self, will not believe the BS. The individuals who go on those platforms and try to expose others and break people down are the really disturbed individuals. They are the ones that are not able to look themselves in the mirror. You must remember the truth always comes out. My advice for the women who have been victims of those social media platforms is to continue to stay focused because those things will be yesterday’s news and you can still write your own stories – and karma will never lose an address.
How would you advise someone that has been featured on one of those sites wrongly trying to find employment?
Your future employer is going to do an initial background check on you, and you must address the post online. You cannot hide from it, and I would advise you get in front of it by explaining what it is and let them know this is not a part of your character. Think if you come from a place of honesty your employer will respect where you are coming from and value it.
Nowadays it’s challenging to find people who are honest and there are other options as well, but there are companies that can help clean up your image online. It can get pricey, but it is an option. I also think it’s like a wrinkle or a scar, and there is a story behind every wrinkle. Whether if the story is true or false, you must get in front of it and take it as a learning experience.
What is the Kasem Cares Foundation’s mission?
I am an estate attorney and what we do is protect our clients’ assets and make sure the proper documents are in place to have their beneficiaries taken care of in terms of the assets, and to ensure their medical wishes are being met. My dear friend Kerri Kasem, the founder of Kasem Cares, is the daughter of legendary radio personality Casey Kasem. During the end of his life, he was in a situation where his wife Jean Kasem, which is Kerri’s stepmother, alienated him and hid him from his kids. Kasem Cares is a foundation that educates the masses about elderly abuse, which is happening in our backyards with family members alienating their parents and taking advantage of their elderly family members financially or emotionally. There were not many laws in place to protect elderly members, and the Kasem Cares Foundation goes around the country advocating for a law that allows a judge to rule on whether children and family members of an elderly person can have visitation rights without having to go through a conservatorship process. Kerri and the Kasem Cares Foundation are traveling state to state to make sure the law is in each state’s legislation.
You are a Kasem Cares Foundation board member. Can you share with us some of the events that we can look out for this year?
The goal of the foundation this year is to make the Kasem Cares visitation bill a federal law. It has already been passed in several states for elderly visitation, and we want to spread the word as much as we can. To not only let people know that the law exists, but also to be able to protect themselves in order to prevent it from happening in the first place. And also, to make sure that the lawyers who work with financial institutions do not take advantage of the elderly. We want to make sure we are a resource to help the elderly when they need it. In addition, we have a documentary coming out with a big production company that examines elder abuse stories in the United States. We will also have another Kasem Cares conference with the CA District Attorney’s Association advocating on how law enforcement and other professionals can prevent and stop elder abuse.
What are some things that you are currently working on?
I have a book coming out in June called ‘Love, Death, and Money. A Women’s Guide to Legally Protecting Yourself.’ I am very excited about it because, as a female attorney and based on my experience, I have been in the profession for almost a decade. The field that I chose to be in is dominated by males, and there are a lot of old-school tactics that dominate the field. Meaning they are not up to date with what is going on in today’s world regarding social media and things of that nature. They are also not in tune with the law changes regarding today’s definition of marriage and role changes. Males were usually the ones that handled all the money in most partnerships, and all the legal work because they were trusted as men. The book will offer advice on what types of legal documents you will need at different stages of life. It will also advise women on how to select a lawyer and what types of questions to ask.
Have you thought about doing a segment where you interview people from different industries to help educate individuals looking to enter those industries?
After the book is released, I want to do a podcast surrounding the book’s title. A weekly podcast that helps tell women and men to have these conversations. It is time for me to give back. I have been in my profession for almost ten years and created an excellent practice for myself, and now it is time for me to help others do the same.
Have you thought about partnering with local schools and offering internships for individuals looking to get into radio, real estate, and law?
I do business planning, international tax law, and estate planning. I would love to partner with any school. Whether it is a law school or a college, high school, or elementary. I think my success not only comes by working hard, but I would also say it’s from my dad. As a strong male figure in my life, he pushed me to do the best I could. He raised me like I was a son, if that makes sense. A lot of kids growing up do not have a male role model to tell them not to do certain things and to chase their dreams. I would love to start with the younger people to help guide them to stay focused and help them to figure out what they want to do ahead of time, so they don’t waste their time. We need to be thinking ten steps ahead and be prepared to pivot.
How do you decide what groups you accept invitations from to be a guest speaker?
I enjoy talking, and if you are willing to listen to me and take the information and implement it, I would be willing to come and share my knowledge with people. If I try to teach people something and they are not willing to take the information in, then we just wind up wasting each other’s time. So, I would be willing to take any group of individuals that is willing to learn and apply the knowledge. You can never stop learning!
I have always wanted to put something together where I could access some of these celebrities and athletes that weren’t thinking about obtaining the amount of money provided them by their abilities. Some of them do not know what to do with it. I came across Terrell Owens’ story about how the financial advisors he hired were not looking out for his best interest. You must take accountability, but at the same time, I do understand where the athletes and the celebrities are coming from by not knowing what to ask. It is hard to find the right people in Hollywood that are ethical, and I pride myself always on being ethical. If they have the resources and the tools, I think they can make better decisions. You must live within your means. You do not need all the cars in the driveway or the oversized house. When it is you and another person, makes sure your money is being invested wisely.