Alumni News

April 11, 2016 at 6:25 pm

Alum Establishes Scholarship for Law, Justice & Culture Student

Yousef Faroniya

Yousef Faroniya

By Kaitlyn Pacheco

Yousef Faroniya, founder and CEO of YFM Inc., the Law Office of Yousef M. Faroniya, has established a scholarship to be awarded annually to an undergraduate student enrolled in the Undergraduate Certificate in Law, Justice and Culture.

Faroniya didn’t have any intention of practicing law when he graduated from Ohio University in 2006. He earned his bachelor’s degree in journalism, but soon after leaving OHIO he realized that while he loved school, he hated the type of work he was doing. With a career change in mind, he started studying family law and alternative dispute resolution.

Faroniya earned his Juris Doctor from Capital University Law School in 2010 and opened his law firm in Columbus two years later. Since then, he has been serving his client in areas like business litigation, criminal defense, and landlord-tenant law.

Faroniya, a Cleveland, Ohio native, said he came to Ohio University in 2002 because of the prestigious journalism program and its beautiful campus. While he attended OHIO as a Templeton Scholar, Faroniya applied and was rejected from the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism five times before he was admitted into the program.

And while some students would be discouraged, Faroniya said he believes he has such a strong connection to OHIO as an alumnus because of how hard he had to work to get into the journalism program.

“I think it was a bit of a lesson, during my last couple of years and then trying to get into Scripps every year before that, that I can’t really cut corners if I want to do the things that I want to do,” Faroniya said. “And so I have to give full effort, I have to be dedicated.”

OHIO was the first place Faroniya felt challenged academically. He employs the work ethic he gained as a student into his professional career as a trial attorney. He graduated from law school with Pro Bono Legal Honors for his work in the public sector. He went on to practice criminal defense for the Franklin County Public Defender’s Office, domestic law for the Legal Aid Society of Columbus and business litigation for a private firm.

As his Columbus-based law firm grew to represent more citizens and businesses across Ohio, Faroniya considered how he could best give back to his alma mater.

He established the Yousef M. Faroniya Scholarship. The scholarship will be awarded annually to an undergraduate student enrolled in the Undergraduate Certificate in Law, Justice and Culture.

“I always wanted to give back to OU because my time there was just an amazing experience and just really transformative for me,” Faroniya said. “… I wanted to give to a specific program that I could also be involved with for the next 20 or 30 years.”

The Center for Law, Justice and Culture is an interdisciplinary academic community dedicated to uniting faculty members and students who share a common interest in law’s formative role in cultural, political and social life. Faroniya participated in the center’s annual Pre-Law Day, where students interested in law network with OHIO alumni in the field.

Larry Hayman, one of the center’s pre-law advisors and specialists, said the Center for Law, Justice and Culture invited Faroniya to speak at Pre-Law Day because of his wealth of experience as a trial lawyer in both business litigation and criminal defense. He served on the “Is Law School Worth It?” and “What I Wish I Would Have Known Before Law School” panels.

“His perspective as both a practicing attorney and small business owner provided the students with excellent practical information,” Hayman said.

As one of 10 Templeton Scholars in his graduating class, Faroniya knows how valuable scholarships are for busy college students.  He hopes that the Yousef M. Faroniya Scholarship will help alleviate financial stress and help the student concentrate on getting the full college experience.

“Just the overall environment of OU is so nurturing and supporting that it was something I wasn’t accustomed to before,” Farnoiya said. “I’m really thankful for my experience and I hope to contribute any way I can going forward.”

The Ohio University Foundation, established in 1945 by OHIO President John C. Baker, is the fundraising unit responsible for raising, investing and disbursing funds in support of the OHIO educational mission. The Foundation is an institutionally related, non-profit, tax exempt, 501c(3) organization, and is the repository for all private gifts to the University through annual giving programs, capital and special campaigns, and planned or deferred gifts.


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