SOME PEOPLE DREAM OF SUCCESS WHILE OTHERS WAKE UP AND WORK

MRS. PARVEEN MAHTANI

HEAD LEGAL AND COMPLIANCE

TATA REALTY AND INFRASTRUCTURE LTD AND TATA HOUSING DEVELOPMENT CO LTD, MUMBAI

YEARS IN LEGAL FIELD: 18 YRS.

AWARDS RECEIVED:

  • Featured by the Indian Corporate Counsel Association in their book titled “India’s Finest  In-House Counsels” published in 2016.
  • Honored as “Woman Leader in a Male Dominated Industry 2019”.
  • Acknowledged as one of “Asia’s Top 25 In-House Counsels” by the Asian Legal Business. 
  • Featured as top in-house legal teams by Legal 500 UK: GC Powerlist: India (2017 and 2019)
  • Honored as “Top 25 General Counsels in India” in 2018 by the ICCA in London.
  • Featured in the featured in the book “Legal Luminaries” published by the ICCA and the book “ Constellations” The Shining stars in the Legal Fraternity” in 2019. 
  • Finalist for “Compliance in-house Team of the Year” at the Legal Era Indian Legal Awards 2019-20
  • Featured in the Economic Times in their feature “Young Leaders –Women who go above and beyond to distinguish themselves professionally deserve accolades”

Lawsutram (LS): Why did you choose law as a career?

Parveen Mahtani (PM): I had originally studied textile designing. However, my father had business related litigation and I was meeting with lawyers when I was around 17 years old. I realized the importance of understanding the law and legal procedures. It made me realise that every action that we take has a legal requirement/compliance and consequence to the same, whether it is a contract being entered into, buying a house, terms and conditions in making a financial investment etc.

I also realized that one needed a career in which there was financial independence and self-respect. Although from a Muslim background, my father raised me to be independent and taught me that “A father should be the last man that a girl is dependent on”. This made me aspire to excel in the field of law, although the same is male dominated.

LS: A brief about your work and what you do?

PM: I am presently Head Legal and Compliance for Tata Realty and Infrastructure Ltd and Tata Housing Development Co Ltd. I manage the legal and compliance of the projects in India and overseas. The companies have almost 40 projects in most states in India. I advise the companies on the legal risks and provide a mitigation plan. I manage a team of around 15 lawyers and handle the acquisitions, due diligence, transaction structuring, litigation and contracts in the companies.

As part of the role, I am part of the Investment Committee of the company where I advise on the legal issues in the project investment decisions of the company. I also advise the Board and company on the legal risks to the company along with a mitigation plan.

LS: Any special challenges you faced during initial years?

PM:  Being a petite woman does subject you to being stereotyped than a male counterpart. In the initial years, there was a perception that I may not be an aggressive negotiator in a transaction or a loud orator in a litigation. There is substantial amount of effort and work required to prove your capabilities.

Thereafter, once I got married and had two children, there was a misconception about commitment to work. In India, the perception is that a working women in a senior position is either divorced or single.

LS: How do you balance Professional & Private life?

PM: I maintain strict working hours so that I am home for the family to spend time in the evening. Dinner times with the family are a time for bonding and discussions on our respective events of the day. During work hours, I maximize the productivity with no long lunch or tea breaks and tend to multi-task activities.

LS: Out of the busy schedule, how much time do you take out for yourself?

PM: It is important to compartmentalize the days to avoid a burnout or an eventual drop out from the profession. One must also have personal time out to recuperate and de-stress from. Being an avid reader, I tend to unwind by reading, playing the piano or taking walks.

LS: How do you manage Work-Stress?

PM: It is important to compartmentalise the day. I have grown to be patient and calm and tend not to personalise the stress at work. I maintain strict working hours and make it a point to try and be home in the evenings with the children and for dinner. I read before I sleep.

LS: How do you prepare yourself before any tough / complicated / high – profile case / matter?

PM: The key to handle any matter well is to read and read again and again. You must know your facts and law thoroughly. I also make several notes on the key issues, main points of arguments etc.

LS: Your normal day will be like?

PM: I am an early riser and like to read in the morning. I also start my day early at work. I mostly maintain strict working hours and spend time with the family in the evenings.

LS: Any misconceptions about the Indian legal industry?

PM: The litigation proceedings are time consuming in India. However, the amendments in the Arbitration Act have facilitated speedy resolution.

LS: What would be your goal to accomplish in the next THREE – FIVE years?

PM: My goal in the next couple of years is to contribute towards education for children. I also have special interest in supporting children with special needs.

LS: How do you differentiate yourself with your competition?

PM: I have been blessed with an excellent memory. This has helped me tremendously in voluminous transaction documents. I am also qualified in art and therefore am able to simplify data and present data, business issues, title flow etc in a graphic manner. This does create an ease for non-lawyers in understanding the issues without having to read pages of documents.

LS: Best piece of advice you have ever received in your legal career

PM: The devil lies in the detail.

LS: Any advice for young lawyers or students

PM: Prepare and over-prepare. There is no substitute for hard work. Show respect even in tough negotiations.


SPECIAL MESSAGE FOR LAWSUTRAM?

Lawsutram is a good initiative to connect legal professionals so that the collective knowledge across sectors can be leveraged.


*The postings on this site are by Mrs. Parveen Mahtani only and do not necessarily represent the Tata Groups’ or company’s position’s, strategies and opinions.