It’s important for me to see first generation women lawyers to get out there and set up practices


“It’s important for me to see first generation women lawyers to get out there and set up practices” – Former HSA Partner Payal Chawla sets up full service law firm ‘Juscontractus’

Payal Chawla, a former Partner at HSA Advocates has set up a full service law firm called ‘Juscontractus’. The firm has been operational since May 2013 and the office is located in Mayfair Gardens in New Delhi.

“The idea has been on my mind for the longest time”, says Payal, “and I had quit the corporate world six years ago. It was just a run up to start my own thing. I think the time had come”.

The existing team at Juscontractus has 5 lawyers including Payal, with two focusing on litigation and two associates handling the corporate work. The firm handles Corporate law and Dispute Resolution with equal ease. The focus sectors are Real Estate, Media, FMCG, Retail and Pharma.

The firm is only 50 days old and has already closed a private equity deal. The team is working on a huge mandate for debt recovery, cyber crime matter, arbitration for a filmmaker, and a real estate transaction. “The work we are doing at the firm is pretty diverse”, says Payal.

Talking about the growth plans and vision for the firm, Payal says, “Ideally my dream is to grow the team to maximum 25 people. That’s the limit. I have no desire to grow beyond that, as I want to keep the team tight. I want be able to deliver high quality work to our clients. While I always wanted to set up my own firm but I don’t want it to be so big that I turn into a manager and move away from law”.

Payal, who has almost 20 years of experience working both at law firms and as in-house counsel. is a graduate of Faculty of Law, Delhi University and holds an LL.M. from University of Chicago. She started her career at J. Sagar Associates after which she moved in-house to Coca-Cola. She worked there for almost nine years and where she was Senior Legal Counsel. Thereafter, she joined Reckitt Benkiser as Head of Legal for South East Asia where she stayed till 2007 when she moved back to a law firm. She joined The Chambers of Law as a Partner and then in 2009 moved to HSA Advocates as a Partner.

Recently, several women lawyers have set up their own practice including Talha Salaria who has set up ‘Lawyers At Work’ in Bangalore; Vineetha MG, former AZB Partner had set up ‘V Chambers of Law’ which has now been merged with Narasappa Dorasawmy and Raja to form Samvad Partners.

Payal says, “I want to see more law firms, which are headed by women. And the first name that comes to my mind is Zia Mody. Of course there are others. For me, I am a first generation lawyer and I think it’s important for me to see first generation women lawyers to get out there and set up practices which will be successful in the future.”

(First Published in Barandbench)

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