Is the Indian legal profession seeing the rise of women entrepreneurs?

Eleven of the 50 law firms named as India Business Law Journal’s Rising Stars are headed by women. Is this significant? We think it is.

The legal industry in India has long been dominated by men, as is evident from the fact that women are few and far between on the bench and at the bar. Yet there is no real reason for this and with large numbers of young women aspiring for a career in law, change must surely be around the corner.

Does the fact that women lawyers in private practice are setting up on their own suggest that the glass ceiling is finally being broken? Conversations with three lawyers (highlights below) suggest that it may be, given that they see little challenge on account of being women in what used to be a male-dominated world.

Read more: Rising Stars 2018 – See the full list of 50 up-and-coming law firms that are making a mark in the legal market →

Talha Salaria, founder and sole partner at Lawyers At Work in Bengaluru, which she describes as “a fully women driven firm” is quite certain that she is operating in a gender-neutral space. “It doesn’t matter to my clients whether the lawyer working with them is a woman or a man,” she says.

The six-lawyer, all-women firm takes pride in being a small one that works in M&A and other areas typically dominated by larger firms.

“We have a few anchor clients that are listed companies who give us regular work … very often we are up against large firms such as Khaitan or J Sagar Associates,” says Salaria. “It has been very exciting to get the confidence of clients who can go to any firm and yet they regularly come to us.” Apart from M&A advisory, the firm provides employment law, real estate and intellectual property (IP) rights services.

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