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In December , the British telecom giant roped in DMD to work alongside one of India's best counsels, Harish Salve, to take on the income-tax department, which felt Vodafone had to pay capital gains on a deal done with Hutchison Whampoa of Hong Kong to enter India.

A little over two years after DMD arrived on the scene, the apex court ruled that Vodafone did not have to pay capital gains. Says Dutt, "The Vodafone case changed the view of the world towards us. It was a huge professional success for us and got us massive media attention. Adds Sethna, who grew up seeing her mother Khushnuma practice commercial law: "At the core of our success is that we mostly fight cases on our own and don't hire counsels, unless it's imperative.

Sethna and Dutt are just two of a new crop of gutsy and confident women lawyers who are following in the hallowed footsteps of India's best-known legal diva, the year-old Zia Mody. Their gender doesn't make them stick out like sore thumbs - not anymore. Desai, 42, cut her teeth at the firm 20 years ago with her uncle and later on her cousin as mentors. However, the first deal she cut was in the mids, a private equity transaction for insurance major AIG; that was followed by Henkel's acquisition of Shaw Wallace's consumer division.

At the time, it wasn't uncommon for clients to wonder aloud whether a woman would be able to "manage complex transactions", recounts Desai. Today, acceptance levels are less of an issue. But position didn't come on a platter.


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Armed with a degree from Northwestern University, School of Law, Bhide is today in charge of an array of verticals from international finance, securities and private equity transactions, to structured finance, securitisation, derivatives and restructuring. But women continue to face the challenge of multi-tasking, donning many hats and roles, especially as a young married woman or a young mother," explains Mody. Such flexibility can help these professionals work wonders - the way Anuradha Salhotra grew her firm in a year in which the global financial crisis had knocked the wind out of most sails.

It was also the year in which Salhotra became managing partner of the firm.

Women Lawyers: Rewriting the Rules

An authority on intellectual property IP law, Salhotra works with a host of global consumer products corporations, including a handful of Fortune ones. It's a demanding profession, both mentally and physically, say the women lawyers who go through hundreds of pages of legalese and deal with demanding clients who expect them to be on call round the clock. I have stayed nights in the office poring over data," says Desai. Although it is a lot of hard work and involves long hours of research, Desai says the profession can be extremely fulfilling.

Women Lawyers: Rewriting the Rules

Adds Sethna: "The real thrill is litigation, where you prepare microscopic details with the challenge to prove your point in the courtroom. Meantime, law firms have also begun hiring more women. Says Rajiv Luthra, founder of the firm: "The recognition that women in law are getting today has been long overdue. With the growth of the Indian corporate sector, women have been getting more opportunities to showcase their talent. Perhaps not yet. A senior industry official says on condition of anonymity: "The next set of women lawyers aspiring to be like Zia will need to work a lot more with their instinct and gut-feel and not just go by the rule book.

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This will alert our moderators to take action. She shows us what life is like for women lawyers in practice today and how their dilemmas reflect the social issues of our time.

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She gives us the voices of women who have adapted to the cultural codes of corporate law and women who have broken them; women who have successfully balanced their professional and private lives and women who feel trapped by the combination of long hours at the office and full responsibility at home.

She introduces us to women in new and alternative firms, on the faculties of small public law schools, in in-house legal departments, and in prosecutors' offices and courtrooms--women who are devising new rules and legal theories to bring about change. Get A Copy. Paperback , pages. Published January 1st by Plume first published January 18th More Details Original Title. Other Editions 4. Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

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To ask other readers questions about Women Lawyers , please sign up. Lists with This Book. This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Jan 27, Nancy Monson rated it liked it Recommends it for: women lawyers, especially new to the profession. Shelves: legal. An interesting mix of personal observation of women in the legal system, and the perspectives through anonymous interviews of several women practicing law.

I expected and hoped for a more succinct and factual accounting. Rather, I got a mixed bag of seemingly whiny complainers and quotable quotes. All in all, a good early effort to define what "women lawyers" really are all about. Personally, after practicing law for so long, I hardly see gender as a factor in the actual practice or application o An interesting mix of personal observation of women in the legal system, and the perspectives through anonymous interviews of several women practicing law.

Personally, after practicing law for so long, I hardly see gender as a factor in the actual practice or application of the law. Ain't Justice blind, after all? Gender, is, however, still a huge factor in law firm politics, hiring, firing, promoting, and regarding the presence of women in the profession in what are considered "power positions. Jul 25, Sybil Gelin added it. Extremely well-written. Refreshing to read about women who find the practice of law to be anything but a "liberating" experience. Feb 27, Leslie rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: women lawyers. This book summed up everything I had been feeling!!


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It was completely on the money. I read it and felt angry and yet somehow relieved that I wasn't alone in what I had always felt about being a lawyer, woman, and mommy. Mar 27, Pennylope rated it liked it Shelves: criminal-law-and-punishment. Jessica White rated it really liked it Jun 20, Anika rated it liked it Jan 04, Elona Belokon rated it it was ok Mar 31, Jenny rated it it was ok Jun 19, Jennifer rated it it was ok May 09, Melodee rated it really liked it Jun 30,