In Conversation With Vrinda Patodia, Principal Associate, Obhan & Associates

In this interview with Ashima Ohri our Managing Editor, Vrinda shares her journey in law, her thoughts on joining the BW Legal World Elite 40 Under 40 Club of Achievers 2021 with the prestigious BW Legal World 40 Under 40 Best Lawyers and Legal Influencers Award, and much more.

How and when did you know becoming a lawyer was your life’s true calling? 

I do not belong to a family of lawyers, however law as a subject has always intrigued me. The fascination for the subject motivated to me take it up as a profession. 

Would you please tell us about your specialisation and the array of work you handle at your firm? 

I am a part of the corporate practise of Obhan & Associates ("O&A") and also the office lead for their Pune office. I have experience in foreign investment, M&A transaction, joint ventures, cross-border transactions and commercial disputes. I have been advising clients on commercial and regulatory matters, cross-border acquisitions, company law matters and India-entry strategies. I have been actively involved in advising on deal structures and have worked on several such matters.  

What are your predictions for 2022 in the area/s of specialisation mentioned above? What are some of the upcoming trends of the industry? 

The lull and uncertainty that the pandemic brought on for the last two years seems to be slowly lifting. 2022, I predict will usher in new opportunities, convert lockdown induced ideas and result in more opportunities in the M&A space. 2019 and 2020 encouraged the use of technology in the legal field- the Bar, the Bench and law firms, all embraced technology, some wholeheartedly and some reluctantly.  In my opinion, the next few years will witness the widespread use of technology by the legal fraternity.

As a new age lawyer, what to your mind is the one thing in the current legal ecosystem at the Bar, Bench, or in the Law Firms that needs our attention.

I believe that a close look at the archaic laws of the country and addressing the changes required for such laws would have a remarkable impact on the current legal ecosystem including reducing the burden on our choked courts. 

Many Congratulations on joining the BW Legal World Elite 40 Under 40 Club of Achievers 2021. What to your mind has helped you get to where you are and what advice would you have for others who want to set off in a similar direction?

I believe that the right opportunities have come my way earlier on in my career. Being given the opportunity to build and lead the Pune office of O&A has been a career highlight and particularly significant milestone for me. My parents and my family have always encouraged me and been extremely supportive of my life decisions. Being surrounded by such pillars of strength has gone a long way in shaping my professional life. If I can achieve even half of what my father has achieved in his illustrious lifetime, it would be a tremendous accomplishment for me and it is this goal that keeps me going. 

As a lawyer and a corporate one at that, I am particular about the letter of the law but as a human I believe that justice can have a deeper meaning. I concur with the school of thought that the law must also be understood in spirit and take into account social and geographical aspects of a community. I would advise and be hopeful that others understand that the correct spirit of law. I believe that passion, hard work and modestly pay an important role in professional growth.

As a final note, would you please recommend to our readers your favourite book that left a lasting impression on you. 

I recently read 'Factfulness - Ten Reasons We're Wrong About the World and Why Things Are Better Than You Think' a book by Hans Rosling. The book is extremely relevant given the last two years of panic that the world has witnessed. Rosling in this book uses a data based approach to prove that the world is actually getting better. 

While it is encouraging to see the increase in statistics of women in law and in leadership roles, would you say things have become easier, or does the way to the top continue to be a journey through labyrinths and mazes for women?  

I would like to paraphrase Joseph Conrad and say that 'Being a lawyer sometimes is a terribly difficult trade since it consists principally of dealing with men'. However, in my experience, over the years it has indeed gotten easier and less laborious for women to excel in most fields especially the legal field.

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