Poorvi Chothani knows what it's like to be a woman in a man's world. From watching plum assignments routinely being handed out to male colleagues, to discontinuing her practice to take care of her children, she's seen it all.
And this, while her male classmates from the 1984 batch of Mumbai's Government Law College quickly rose up the legal ladder.
Today at 47 and as the founder of Lawquest, an all women law firm, Chothani has not only managed to succeed both at home and work, but she's also helping other women do the same. <b1>
"I understand my employees' needs. If they need extended maternity leave, I let them work from home; if someone's child is sick, I won't make a fuss," she says. From swapping notes on shopping to making it big in the tough field of litigation, her lawyers share and care.
"We work in very tough fields like intellectual property rights and litigation, but our lawyers don't get intimidated," says the mother-of-two. But, she says, having an all-female team has been a creation of chance rather than intention.
"It just so happened that the three male employees I hired didn't last. Before I realised it, we were a bunch of nine women. But I don't plan on changing it now, we have a really nice working atmosphere," asserts Chothani.
That she's picked strong, clear-headed women to back her up is obvious - "The team's gender doesn't affect the nature of work," is the straightforward answer I get when I quiz one of her employees about the all-female team. Eventually one of them admits that working for a woman has its advantages.
Says Madhooja Mulay 24, "It's easy to open up to a woman. I can tell Poorvi what's bothering me in a way I wouldn't be able to tell a male boss."