August 31, 2015  | By McCathern Law

Arnold-FUllWhat makes the 20 lawyers in this award publication extraordinary? In a word: impact. The Texas Lawyer editorial department began the three-month selection process by asking readers to nominate attorneys licensed to practice law in Texas who have had an impact in the state in firms, government, nonprofits, academia and/or the corporate world within the past five years. Texas Lawyer read each of the nearly 200 nominations then did our own research to arrive at the list of 20 influential lawyers.

There is no doubt that the 20 attorneys profiled have made significant contributions to law and lawyering in Texas. They stand up for the powerless, guide powerful corporations and extend a helping hand to the next generation of attorneys. Congratulations to these amazing lawyers!

Born in Iran not long after the 1979 Revolution, Arnold Shokouhi said he owed his future to his mother, Mahin Resapour, who fled the repressive regime because she wanted a better life for her three boys.

“My story doesn’t happen if not for my mom,” said Shokouhi, who was an infant in the early 1980s when Resapour took him and his older brother to Turkey. They later went to Italy, secured U.S. immigration papers and eventually settled in Austin in 1986 because Resapour heard it was a small college town with friendly people. Her oldest son eventually joined the family in Texas’ capital.

“She didn’t speak a lick of English and she became a business owner. She started becoming a hair stylist and opened up her own salon,” Shokouhi said of his mother.

Shokouhi has the same drive and determination: At 34, he’s the managing partner of McCathern, a growing Dallas law firm.

“I understand that I might be a minority in this country because of my ethnicity. But I never thought of myself that way,” Shokouhi said. “I understand the challenges minorities have. If my mom can make it in this country without speaking English, anyone can. My life experience is I appreciate this country and I know you can get anything you want if you put in the hard work.”

After graduating from the LBJ Science Academy, Austin’s first magnet school, Shokouhi went to Southern Methodist University for his undergraduate degree and obtained his law degree from Michigan State University School of Law in 2006.

He returned to Texas to work in Dallas. And much like his mother, Shokouhi hung his own shingle with little to go on but guts. “I guess I was a little naive,” he said of prospects as a newly minted J.D.

One of his early clients was an independent jeweler who hired Shokouhi for trademark work. That client eventually filed a lawsuit against the Zale Corp. over an ad campaign, a case that would eventually advance Shokouhi’s career.

“I got in a lawsuit with Zale’s over a campaign called Love Rocks. I had trademarked the term for Love Rocks,” he said. “I sent a demand letter and they just laughed.”

So Shokouhi called up Levi McCathern and met with the established Dallas lawyer about the possibly of joining forces.

“When I got back from the office, I told my partners about the meeting and that one of the cases was valuable,” recalled McCathern. “But I found something even more valuable, and that was Arnold. I wanted to make him part of my law firm.”

They settled the Zale’s case favorably and Shokouhi joined McCathern in 2008.

“We brought him in like he was a first-year associate, but he just took off from that,” McCathern said. “He can pick up on anything and work on it. And if he got any criticism, he took the truth of it to heart.”

“His age at the time I made him managing partner would give you pause at 31 years old,” McCathern said of Shokouhi. “And frankly my law firm grew a little too fast. But he just worked harder and harder to succeed. He said, ‘We’ll make this work.”’

Read more: http://www.texaslawyer.com/id=1202735794902/Arnold-Shokouhi–34#ixzz3kP9uRMNs – Mark Graham, August 31, 2015.