HYDERABAD: Shows like Suits and Boston Legal have often taken us through the seemingly power-hungry corridors of the legal world where shrewd lawyers navigate obscure legalese and nail-biting twists and turns to solve cases. However, in the real world, it’s qualities like dedication and integrity which make champion lawyers.
These words come from two lawyers from Hyderabad who earned places in the Forbes Legal Powerlist 2020. Sundari R Pisupati from Tempus Law Associates and Shujath Bin Ali from Ramky Enviro Engineers Ltd were included in ‘Top Individual Lawyers’ and ‘Top General Counsels’ categories respectively. Sundari started her venture Tempus Law Associates, which deals in corporate, commercial private equity, venture investments, M&A, litigation and other areas, in 2008.
Talking about her career, she says: “The journey has been long and rewarding. I have been a lawyer for 27 years. After graduating from the National Law School of India in University of Bengaluru with five gold medals, I started practising in AP High Court. After that, I moved to the US and completed my masters from Columbia Law School.” This global lawyer has the license to practise law in New York, too.
After working there for a while, she came back to India in 2003 and set up her firm later. Stating that a career in law might be extra challenging for a woman, Sundari says: “The legal profession is challenging in general, but is more so for women because of family and work-life balance issues. It takes extraordinary commitment, dedication, passion and integrity for success in this profession. It’s not just a business but a profession. That is why, one needs to enjoy the journey of practising law. Knowledge and integrity are the cornerstones of the practice.”
Echoing her thoughts, Shujath says: “A good general counsel/ in-house lawyer must always have strong legal acumen and industry knowledge, understand interplay of business, laws and underlying contracts. She must also have the ability to work with a variety of stakeholders in complex and demanding situations.”
Shujath was recognised as the finest in-house counsel by Indian Corporate Counsel Association in 2016, and also named as one of the ‘Top 100 General Counsels’ in India by Legal 500.com in 2018. In his current role, he leads the Global Legal and Compliance, Corporate Governance and Secretarial function of Global Private Equity firm KKR backed Ramky Enviro Engineers Ltd. Talking about the challenges in the profession, this lawyer, who was also a member of Toastmasters International, says: “The key is to stay relevant and updated with skills and knowledge amid a perpetually changing business environment and emerging complex laws.”