“SOMETIMES ALL YOU NEED IS TWENTY SECONDS OF INSANE COURAGE… LITERALLY TWENTY SECONDS OF JUST EMBARRASSING BRAVERY. AND I PROMISE YOU, SOMETHING GREAT WILL COME OF IT” – BENJAMIN MEE

Ms. SALONI TUTEJA

LEGAL DIRECTOR, SOUTH ASIA

ZIMMER INDIA PVT. LTD., GURUGRAM

YEARS IN LEGAL FIELD: 13 YRS.

ACHIEVEMENTS:

  • Invited as a speaker to the 2nd India ASEAN InnoTech Summit 2019 at Philippines, organised by Government of India along with Government of Philippines. The only Indian woman speaker.
  • Also, given the APAC scholarship by UC Berkeley for attending the LLM. 

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

Saloni Tuteja (ST): While I was exploring possible career options (as most of us do as 15 / 16 years old), I read an article on legal profession. The more I read about it, the more fascinated I became with it. I also believed that my personality was a well fit for this profession.

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

ST: I am leading the legal function of Zimmer India Pvt Ltd., a medical device company. I support the Orthopedic, CMFT and dental business for South Asia region including India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Maldives, Nepal and Bhutan.

I was responsible for setting up the Legal & Compliance function for this region. I develop legal strategy, manage contentious matters, participate in negotiations, ensure statutory compliance, do risk assessment and crisis management, support M&A, setting up of companies, provide training to team members and business partners, etc.  

I am also a part of the disciplinary committee of the company as well as its internal complaint committee formed for dealing with sexual harassment complaints. I regularly collaborate with various internal functions and external business partners across the globe.

I also represent the company in various fora. I am currently the Chair of Ethics and Compliance Sub-Group of ADVAMED, India (an international industry association)

LS: Any special challenges you faced during initial years?

ST: At the start of my career, I found that legal profession especially when it came to internships and placements was not as organised as it is today. So it was a bit of an uphill task to find one of your choice and interest.

LS: How do you balance Professional & Private life?

ST: It is widely used but true that work-life balance is a key to success. I follow that as much as I can. The tools that have helped me are – punctuality, being structured, delegation and learning to say “No”.

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

ST: It’s a bit tough on weekdays but I try not to work over the weekends. I also take annual vacation.

TIP: please avoid taking your laptops during your vacations. You and your family need this time off.

LS: How do you manage Work-Stress?

ST: I am very close to my family and friends which helps me balance stress. I am still pursuing my passions like travel, playing football that refreshes me. Lastly, I have strong support staff at work and at home that makes my everyday smooth.

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

ST: I follow the below set routine not necessarily in this order:

First, know your facts. Scale of most matters tips on facts.

Second, be organised.

Third, anticipate what could be the discussion and asks from the opposite side

Fourth, unless its confidential, talk to various stakeholders like business folks to get a 360 degree perspective.

Fifth, be confident.

LS: Your normal day will be like?

ST: I get up at 6 AM, meditate or do some light stretching for half an hour. Leave for work. I work from 8:30 AM – 6:30 PM on usual days. I avoid taking any personal calls or run any errands during this time. The time is solely dedicated to my office. Have early dinner, watch some television and read.   

LS: Any misconceptions about the Indian legal industry?

ST: The most common I get is “lawyers are liars” – no we aren’t! Jokes apart, that there is no work life balance for lawyers. I have worked with the best of law firms before I moved in-house. My experience has been very positive. We can have a balance if we prioritize. Profession cannot be at the cost of personal life and health and vice versa.

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

ST: To head legal function for the APAC region for my company.

LS: How do you differentiate yourself with your competition?

ST: Passion. I put my 100% because I love what I do. I don’t take it as a burden but as a way to better manage situation, company and people. 

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

ST: Have a view and a voice. Do not go by “its always done like this”, “but he / she said so”.

LS: Any advice for young lawyers or students?

ST: Strive to be the best version of yourself. Everything else – money or fame, will follow. Also, keep educating yourself. I am pursuing my LLM from UC Berkeley now, after 13 years of being in the profession.

This is a wonderful profession with the best teachers and mentors. Extremely rewarding in every possible ways. Make the most of it.


SPECIAL MESSAGE FOR LAWSUTRAM?

LawSutram is a very interesting, informative and innovative website. I enjoy the articles and posts put on it. I believe that lawyers from varied experience bracket and practice specialization benefit from it.

Credit to the LawSutram team to putting this together.