Although Najeeb Ghauri became a U.S. citizen nearly 20 years ago, he still feels he represents his home country of Pakistan, especially when he’s in the public eye – which he was earlier this month when he rang the opening bell at Nasdaq.

“When I was up there ringing that bell, I just felt humbled to think someone from Pakistan can make it this far in the business world of the United States,” said Ghauri, 53, who is chief executive of NetSol Technologies Inc. in Calabasas.

Ghauri, who started 12 years ago with five employees and revenue of $100,000 and grew to 800 employees and revenue of $40 million in 2009, keeps strong ties to his home country. He serves on boards that help Pakistan.

Actually, Ghauri has almost gotten used to ringing the bell. He had presided over closing bell ceremonies in 2006 and 2008 before he was invited to ring the bell this month to commemorate NetSol’s 10th anniversary of its Nasdaq listing.

“It still doesn’t get old. I mean, being there for the opening and representing NetSol out of the 4,000 companies listed on the Nasdaq is just plain exciting,” said Ghauri, who got to meet with the Forbes family after the ceremony in New York. “It’s pretty cool to say I got to do both the opening and the closing bell.”

Courting Hong Kong

When Judy Lam traveled to Hong Kong early this month, the Century City litigator visited the famous Big Buddha on Lantau Island and the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. But her most fascinating experience occurred inside a Hong Kong courtroom.

Lam, who traveled with about 30 other California attorneys as part of the State Bar’s first Asian legal exchange program, got to watch a portion of a murder trial against a deaf and mute defendant. The trial was conducted in English, translated into Cantonese and then translated again into sign language.

“All of the advocates and the judge wore wigs and robes in the common law tradition,” said Lam, who lived in Hong Kong until she was 5. “I loved seeing the pomp and circumstance. It was like ‘Law & Order’ in Hong Kong.”

Since her group was there for five days, Lam also had the opportunity to network with attorneys there, and she snagged some prospective business.

“Everyone was very can-do about business,” she said. “They are about getting things done and trying to find opportunities across the Pacific Rim.”

Staff reporters Francisco Vara-Orta and Alexa Hyland contributed to this column. Page 3 is compiled by Editor Charles Crumpley. He can be reached at

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