VICE PRESIDENT LEGAL
INOX LEISURE LIMITED, MUMBAI
YEARS IN LEGAL FIELD – 25 YRS.
LawSutram (LS): Why did you choose law as a career?
Shilpa Sharma (SS): It is an intellectually challenging job where you get rewarded for using your brains while doing good to the society.
LS: A brief about your work and what you do?
SS: I started off as a specialized Indirect Tax lawyer and practiced for 23 years before I joined as an In-house Counsel a couple of years ago. I took this opportunity as a challenge to learn new things. Now as the Head of Legal, I have to:
- Strategize and understand the objectives of the business from point of view of legal risks involved in any decision to management.
- I work as an advisor to various departments in the Company for benefit of the company and its employees,
- Participate in negotiations and drafting of various agreements/replies to notices relating to property, food, technology, vendors etc.,
- At times represent the employees in the court
- Brief external counsels for legal proceedings after doing our own research
- Participate in settlement negotiations or depose witnesses if needed.
LS: Any special challenges you faced during initial years?
SS: Yes, initial appearance in the courts when you start very young amongst very experienced lawyers can be very challenging and the same thing happened to me. In tax Tribunal when I started, I was the youngest arguing lawyer among experienced lawyers and was bullied even by the Judges at times. But, I was focused and committed to be bold and not just argue but argue and win cases.
LS: How do you balance Professional & Private life?
SS: Hard and good work need not be by working late hours. It is important to strike a balance between professional and personal life. Once out of office I cut off completely from all the work stresses and give my 100% to my family and friends. Over the years, I have learnt the art of not carrying personal stuff to work and vice’ versa.
LS: Out of the busy schedule, how much time do you take out for yourself?
SS: I manage an hour in the morning learning Bollywood dancing everyday. After coming home I enjoy cooking and my weekends are for my family and friends. Also, once in a year I go for a solo trip and a couple of trips in a year with my family.
LS: How do you manage Work-Stress?
SS: I do my work with full dedication, loyalty and inculcating good vibes and healthy atmosphere among my team. This automatically makes the work place stress free and a fun place.
LS: How do you prepare yourself before any tough / complicated / high – profile case / matter?
SS: I do my research and homework well before any case, may it be tough, complicated or an easy case. I play the devils advocate in every matter and now being in house, I think more from business angle.
LS: Your normal day will be like?
SS: One hour work out, preparation of breakfast, office and home it’s a routine day.
LS: Any misconceptions about the Indian legal industry?
SS: Every judge is corrupt and every lawyer is a leach.
LS: What would be your goal to accomplish in the next THREE – FIVE years?
SS: Write a simple book on my experiences as a lawyer which may be helpful for the next generation.
LS: How do you differentiate yourself with your competition?
SS: Hum jaha se khade hotey hai line waha shuru hoti hai should be the attitude.
LS: Best piece of advice you have ever received in your legal career?
SS: Never say no to any client. If you are good, they will come to you.
LS: Any advice for young lawyers or students?
SS: Be committed, communicate well, have a professional attitude and maintain your integrity always.
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