Have you ever wondered what it takes to be one of India’s elite lawyers? India Business Law Journal polled all 150 of India’s A-List Lawyers and Legal Icons to find out. We asked them to share the daily habits, practices and rituals – both personal and professional – that they believe helped to facilitate their rise to the top of the legal profession. The findings are insightful and offer some valuable tips to those aspiring to be the next generation of legal leaders.

Here are the 10 most popular answers, grouped into broad themes and presented in reverse order.


While most of India’s top lawyers are no longer in the first flush of youth, they understand the importance of never getting set in their ways.

“Think out of the box for providing legally tenable solutions,” says Daksha Baxi, the head of international tax at Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas (CAM).

Vinayak Burman, the managing partner of Vertices Partners, advises: “Consistently connect with people who think differently. Don’t let the established way of doing things come in the way of what you can contribute to your venture.”

Ashwin Julka, the managing partner at Remfry & Sagar, credits his wife with helping him remain open to new ideas. “Sharing my ideas with her, hearing a different perspective – I value that very much,” he says.

“Early to bed and early to rise,” says Sawant Singh, a partner at Phoenix Legal.

“Early start for the day,” concurs Jyoti Sagar, the chief mentor at J Sagar Associates (JSA).

Joining the dawn chorus is Dua Associates partner Shiraz Patodia. “First and foremost, I am an early riser,” she says. “This gives me enough time to manage my home and plan my day.”

Many more of India’s elite lawyers cited being an early riser as an enabling factor of their success. For Marylou Bilawala, a partner at Wadia Ghandy & Co, getting up early allows her to get more out of her day, “both personally and professionally”, while for Darshika Kothari, a senior partner at AZB & Partners, the early start gives her time to spend alone with a cup of tea. “It helps me reflect on things and helps in maintaining my equilibrium,” she says.

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