Criminal Defense Attorney Paul Ghanouni
Paul Ghanouni has built his team on the following strict guiding principle: Every client’s case will be handled the way our own team would want their case handled.
“My goal is for my firm to keep a small caseload so that we can give a high level of attention to all our clients to make sure that their case is properly handled, that every aspect of their case is dealt with appropriately, that we are able to give advice and answer questions, and help them through the process,” he says.
A native of Marietta, Ghanouni received a B.S. degree in criminal justice at Georgia State University in 2003 and his J.D. from the university’s College of Law in 2006. Initially interested in becoming a criminal prosecutor, he changed his mind when he developed a better understanding of law and saw where he could do the most good helping individuals. Upon receiving his J.D., Ghanouni joined a small law firm handling criminal defense cases. Less than a year later, he left to launch his own practice.
Along the way, Ghanouni has developed deep experience in trying cases, including 11 jury trials, and has handled several appellate matters as well.
“I have experience with trials and appeals, which allows me to anticipate potential issues and address them early in a case,” he says.
Ghanouni feels personally fulfilled with his professional career and the decision he made back in law school to represent individuals instead of the government.
“What drew me to the law in the first place was that I wanted to be in an ever-changing, problem-solving profession,” he says. “And then the draw I had to criminal defense was standing up and fighting for the little guy against the government prosecuting them.”
He’s already developed a track record that shows how hard he will fight for clients. In one of his cases, a trial court ruling was reversed on appeal for imposing an illegal sentence on Ghanouni’s client. This ended a common practice of illegally sentencing individuals in that court. In another, the Georgia General Assembly has responded to an appellate case handled by Ghanouni to revise the laws governing the state’s juvenile justice system by better identifying when a defendant is considered an adult.
Ghanouni’s commitment to his practice is evident in his involvement in teaching and attending both continuing legal education and continuing judicial education classes and events—far more than are mandated—and regularly keeping up on relevant appellate opinions. He also served as a part-time Associate Magistrate Court Judge for Cherokee County. In that position, Ghanouni presided over criminal and civil cases.
Outside of his work life, Ghanouni remains committed to the legal profession in other capacities. He is active in the Blue Ridge Bar Association, serving that body as vice president in 2009-2010 and president in 2010-2011. During his term as president, the organization won the President’s Cup from the State Bar of Georgia as the most outstanding local or voluntary bar association in the state that year. He was also chair of the group’s Law Day Committee during the 2007-2008 term, during which they won the Law Day Award from the State Bar of Georgia.
He also speaks about legal issues to community groups, such as the Boy Scouts. He spoke at a presentation on Georgia’s new Juvenile Delinquency Code that went into effect in January 2014. Audience members included judges, lawyers, Department of Juvenile Justice employees, assistant district attorneys, Department of Family and Children’s Services employees, and law enforcement. He has also taught continuing judicial education courses for magistrate judges on the topic of Search Warrants, Probable Cause for Search Warrants, and Search Warrant Issues related to Electronic Devices.
Paul has been interviewed on the Small Law Firm Radio Hour and the Law Firm Management Minute to educate other lawyers and law firm owners on tips to run a successful law firm that can help its clients in the best ways possible.
“I believe that the proper management of a law firm is what allows a law firm to do the best job that it can for its clients, and to provide them with the highest level of service,” he says.
Outside the legal profession, Ghanouni is also involved in his local community. He, his wife and daughter, Anna and Aurora, reside in Cherokee County, where he has resided since 2006. Active in the Canton Optimist Club, which assists youth in the community, he served that organization as vice president in 2010-2011 and as president the following year. For the 2014-2015 Optimist year, he served as the Zone 2 Lt. Governor for the Georgia District of Optimist, where he oversaw the Optimist Clubs in Cherokee, Pickens, Gilmer, and Fannin Counties. He and his wife are members of the Cherokee County Historical Society. He is also a member of the Canton Main Street Program. He has sponsored events for CASA for Children as well as many other community groups.
“I believe it is important to be a part of the community you live and work in. It is not only important to help others professionally, but it is also important to help others and your community through civic and volunteer work,” he says.
In his limited leisure times, Ghanouni enjoys spending time with his daughter, wife, and their families. The couple welcomed their first daughter in January of 2016, Aurora Ghanouni. She has brought much joy into their lives and is always motivating them to stay positive and to do their best at everything, to set the example for her. He also enjoys reading, camping, and traveling.