Time and again, it has been proved that it takes extra efforts for every successful woman to reach their level of success compared to a man. We are conditioned in this world to think that there are a few professions that are good for Men and not Women. The conditioning is so strong and imbibed that when see someone does it differently, we are left with no choice but to adore them we awe; one such inspiring person we know is Ms. Savitha G, a Practicing Lawyer and a Company Secretary by profession.
Savitha enrolled as an Advocate in 2011 and started her own practice at A&S Associates in 2016. She runs an all-women law firm and is empowering around 5 female Advocates under her. She specializes in Corporate Laws, Property Laws and Trademarks. She has experience of close to ten years, in appearing before the Hon’ble High Court of Madras, Debts Recovery Tribunal, National Company Law Tribunal, Consumer Commissions and Civil Courts.
Serena Williams once said, “Every woman’s success should be an inspiration to another. We’re strongest when we cheer each other on.” Hence here we are to give a shout out to Ms. Savita G. one of the most inspiring women who made it from scratch, who is here to talk her heart out about how she made it till here.
In the era where in-house legal counsels are becoming a trend, what inspired you to start on your own?
I aspired to become an independent legal practitioner right from my school days when I hardly knew anything about this profession, its opportunities and challenges. My dream/ambition/ passion can be seen as the main reason that pushed me to choose this path.
Secondly trend, market, demand or scope need not always determine our professional journey. When I started my own practice, I had only two things in Mind:
– How am I going to achieve my dream of becoming an independent practicing lawyer?
– How am I going to mould myself to achieve my dream?
I was least bothered about the rest of the external factors.
As your LinkedIn profile clearly states “It takes a Strong Woman to be a lawyer” can you throw some light on that?
Legal profession especially practice was always considered as a profession that is not suitable for women. Right from convincing my parents to join Law College, to every single day I face challenges to survive in this profession when I am surrounded by people who constantly push me to quit.
Many people have asked me – “Why lawyers alone? Why this is not applicable for women choosing other professions?” I am not sure. If I write about women from other professions, it can only be a hearsay statement. First hand experience is always stronger than a hearsay statement.
After 2020, when I started employing women in my firm, I realized that I am not alone. I remember sharing this quote in my Facebook page during college days for fun. But today after completing a decade in this profession, I am sharing this quote after feeling the essence of it – Only the strongest women become lawyers.
What are / were the challenges faced as a woman Lawyer in a field which is dominated by male counterparts?
Firstly, acceptance and support from the family is the biggest challenge. Even today, people consider that women are designed to do jobs that are fit to defined timelines and limited scope of work. Legal profession does not fit to both.
Secondly, we women are raised with a restricted mindset that we are unable to perform certain tasks and withstand in some places that are dominated by men. So we will find it hard during the initial days till we realize that we can also equally perform in such areas. Even if we believe ourselves it will take time for clients or people who entrust works to believe us. Even today many people ask me “Can you send me a male junior who can present themselves boldly?”
In many cases, women are not the sole breadwinners of the family. People assume that we are not taking this profession seriously and doing something for the name sake.
Right from entrusting cases to determining the fee, people even in this era, show differences between men and women.
There are many women who pursue law studies but not many are into practice, what do you think could be the reason? What do you think needs to be done to change this pattern?
Lack of financial stability, lack of defined working hours, risks involved are some popular reasons that both men and women face. In addition to this, women are forced to quit work and have career breaks for planning family and taking care of children. Taking breaks in corporate jobs can also be covered. But if you take a break in practice that will become very difficult as one need to start from the scratch. Lack of support from family and lack of social recognition too are some reasons.
Any interesting scenario that you faced in this career can you share it with us
When I was in class 8, I wrote these lines in an essay writing competition.
“I want to become a lawyer because I don’t want to do same type of work every day at office. I want to do different works every day, meet new people and learn new things every day. ”
After I became a lawyer, my perspective about this profession changed. But the above statement still holds good. People come to us only when they face a problem or a dispute. To us it is a case and we view it in an interesting way. So if I start writing about the interesting scenario at my work, I should write a book.
But I wish to write three incidents.
When I started my own practice, one of my family friends called me and asked me not to waste my graduation and recommended me to join a company that he suggested. I politely declined. He was angry and upset with me, and in fact mildly cursed me that I will realize he is correct after few years. But after few years, he came to me with a proposal to engage me as a counsel for his company’s case. At the end of the discussion he told me that he realized I was right.
As a professional I always self evaluate myself. My evaluation was always based on what I did yesterday and what I am doing today. But after becoming an employer and forming a team under me, I found it hard to evaluate how I am performing as a senior. But last year, my teammates wrote letters to me on how they feel working under my guidance. Their words were truly from the bottom of their hearts and I felt like a kid who cleared her final exams with merit.
I wanted to help a woman struggling with a case without charging her. It was not my area of practice and I committed to her as a friend agreed to co-work with me. Unfortunately, the friend could not even join the work but I didn’t step out from my promise. From the bottom line I researched like a student, worked hard and got her the favourable order. Both of us felt the winning moment and that was very special.
Sometimes success could be sheer luck for some, but for others it is only and hard work and working smartly that helps you maintain a stable position in your area. For all those who plan to start on their own, there are no shortcuts or easy ways to reach where you dream to be, just stay focused and be ready to break stereotypes and take that leap.