Accenture Presents Legal Era Women in Law Excellence Awards 2021 Recognising Women Lawyers & Corporate Counsel
Accenture Presents Legal Era Women in Law Excellence Awards 2021 Recognising Women Lawyers & Corporate Counsel
Celebrating the spirit of women at India's only awards event dedicated to appreciating women lawyers – the 3rd Annual Legal Era Women in Law Excellence Awards 2021 presented by Accenture
26th June 2021 marked a remarkable moment in the Indian legal industry - the flawless conduct of India's only awards event dedicated to recognising and rewarding women lawyers.
As the 3rd Edition of the Annual Legal Era Women in Law Excellence Awards 2021 unfolded, the who's who of the legal industry, the business world, and the government was witness to a stunning demonstration of the spirit of women lawyers and their burning desire to excel and succeed, however, challenging the environment may be.
Keeping alive the essence of the First and the Second Editions, the Women in Law Excellence Awards 2021 continued to embolden a generation of women lawyers, who now know that they too have a global platform to be recognized for the great strides they are making in the legal universe. Legal Era has believed that stories of courage and conviction, legal finesse, and leadership skills must occupy the spotlight. And that's exactly what happened at this Third Edition held in the thick of the pandemic. Even as the event was virtual, the energies and excitement, the crescendos of winning moments and the stories of sweat and toil, were as real as could be.
A distinguished Jury chose the 40 Star Women Lawyers of the Year via a meticulous and herculean selection process. The awards were open to women lawyers through both routes – self-nomination and peer-nomination. And certainly, they did not miss out on this exceptional opportunity to get on the stage and take the space that is truly theirs showcasing their strength, resilience, and determination to navigate 2020-21 despite the personal and work-life challenges posed by the pandemic.
One of the criteria to apply was a minimum experience of 12 years. As a result, the Jury saw some extremely promising nominations from GCs and Managing Partners with 25 years of experience to younger GCs with 13 years of experience handling challenging global and pan-India roles. That was in line with Legal Era's vision behind Women in Law Excellence Awards - to grant deserving women certificates of appreciation. Each one of these selected 40 women was at par with each other. Each one was a winner.
The Awards evening kickstarted with a fiery opening address by Aakriti Raizada, Founder, Legal Era-Legal Media Group, most respected for her commitment to create opportunities and showcase the stellar talent of the country, and this time, especially the most competent women lawyers. She echoed Late Ruth Bader Ginsburg, second female justice appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court, "Women belong in all places where decisions are being made. It shouldn't be that women are the exception."
On pioneering India's only awards dedicated to appreciating women lawyers,
Aakriti quipped, "Don't we all agree that the more women we recognise and reward, the more we will pave the way for our fellow women colleagues to rise, and automatically, the more we as women in the legal fraternity will win together! And I believe that collective win is truly greater than any other." Legal Era knows that there are enough women lawyers breaking the glass ceiling to be law's leading voices and building the legal industry into a space where good work is recognized and celebrated gender-agnostic.
Appreciating Aakriti Raizada for being articulate and passionate about the mission and vision behind these Women in Law Excellence Awards, Rajeev Chopra, Managing Director, Legal, Accenture delivered the Keynote Address highlighting statistics in favour of D&I and the initiatives that Accenture takes. "Companies that have higher D&I enjoy greater stability and team commitment as employees are happier and stay longer with the company. Innovativeness, agility and meeting financial targets – all of these multiply when a workplace is high on D&I. And at Accenture, we do 5 things to ensure D&I - Driving it from the top. Establishing accountability. Requiring all the Legal MDs deliver it as it has become a part of the key KPIs. Establishing outside counsel diversity. Staffing Accenture matters with diverse teams - shared interns, cross-mentoring etc. Institutes Outside Counsel Diversity Awards."
He also talked about a recent unique and enjoyable D&I initiative - The Thirty Day Challenge by Accenture where they engaged the entire legal team with a different visual topic every day on D&I. Each team member shared their perspectives and experiences on the same scenario. All the ideas generated are now an organically driven bank for Accenture's D&I initiatives in the future.
Pallavi Shroff, Managing Partner, Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co. held the virtual audience spellbound with her keynote address as her experiences and observations resonated with many. "There was a time when I used to be asked in Court, "Are you going to argue?" I took that smirk as a challenge to show to the judge that I will argue and got an order. You have to have a lot of tenacity and determination."
On motherhood challenges, she shared, "I couldn't say in the court that my child is unwell and hence couldn't prepare that well. No. I had to prepare at night while rocking my child." Pallavi opined that the positive side is that, "Today, there's a change. Judges have become more liberal. And today's women have that courage. Instead of complaining, they are enterprising and find ways to work through. And we find our own ways of establishing work life balance."
She made a pertinent point when she said, "In India, woman is considered to be the primary caregiver. Whether we like it or not, very husbands share that responsibility equally. It's cultural. So, within that framework, how do we empower women. That's the question before us." And on that note, Pallavi made a couple of practical suggestions:
One, all court and all law firms must open day care centres/creche. Two, flexi hours was doable for the corporate lawyers. It gives them the flexibility and breather to spend time with children. And working from home with the use of technology shows that it is possible.
Three, all of us have to work very hard to deal with unconscious bias to offer an equal opportunity to a woman partner and not assume that she will not be able to give 24/24 hours on a billion-dollar deal. And four, empowerment of a woman starts with respect for woman. That's a tone we have to establish at the top. Zero tolerance to any disrespect to a woman. That means noting - Are there committees with women in decision making? Are women lawyers rising up to equity?"
The evening saw the very respected Chief Guest Justice Pratibha Singh, Judge, Delhi High Court take the stage and share her thoughts in an address that made every attendee feel like they too could touch the skies! She brought out the fact that "The atmosphere is competitive. Clientele is challenging. The turnaround time is as bad as it is for women. The competition is cut throat. We can't have excuses. We don't have comfort to say my clerk's or junior's mistake. The buck stops at you. You don't have time for pedicure or manicure. You have to give it up at least in the younger days. If you're sacrificing these things, you're doing it for yourself, your profession. Not for anybody else.
And you cannot gain sympathy by saying my son or daughter is unwell. 23 years ago, when my child was born, I had to argues an ICC hearing. On the 14th day post-delivery, I was in court arguing the matter. These are things that are part of life. Never seek sympathy for your families' or children's situation. State is as a matter of fact and go on with life. As a pregnant lawyer, I was in court till one day before my delivery. All this makes you stronger and more resilient. And when children see their mothers doing so well, they will feel proud of you."
Justice Pratibha Singh also shared a couple of recommendations to women lawyers. One, please read business newspapers every day and be abreast with general awareness. Competence and hard work beats everything. Two, learn the tricks of marketing. Be clever. Don't pick bad fights. Pick your fights. Best to ignore on most times. Three, it's good to specialise as it helps in earning name very quickly. You'll be an expert in that field. And four, the victim mentality has to stop. Never ask for sympathy from society. Only the strongest women become lawyers. And they're much wiser because they are lawyers."
Expressing her happiness that Legal Era organised such an event - Women in Law Excellence awards that was so dynamic even though it was virtual, Justice Pratibha Singh found it as wonderful to see young friends, colleagues, GCs, legal managers, lawyers in the Bar at this event.
And then came the moment that many eagerly awaited. The Awards Presentation Ceremony began with the first set of 20 awardees' announcements in alphabetical order. This segment of the event saw many heart-warming moments of applause and authentic stories. The healthy spirit to lift each other as women in the legal fraternity showed a pleasant and promising direction for the future.
It was time for the virtual audience to hear the Keynote Address by Madhavi Divan, Additional Solicitor General of India. Well known to hold the position of ASG with great commitment and distinction, Madhavi began with congratulating Legal Era for organising an occasion in the pandemic years where where women are celebrated and their hard work is given due. She said, "It is really encouraging to see the awardees who had risen above challenges in a tumultuous field. You should not have to choose between career or family. All of these are wonderful things meant to be enjoyed because only if we're happy people will we be able to perform. For example, Maternity Benefits act and sexual harassment laws etc are becoming counter-productive and are being used as disincentive for women lawyers. To keep them out of positions and chambers. We must not allow that. These are meant to be empowering and enabling legislations."
She emphasized that going ahead, "There is a need for women to come together and have conversations to deal with wrong attitudes. And much early in time, so probably in law schools so that we can think out of the box and be prepared before we are in the throes of the profession."
Dr. Lalit Bhasin, President, Society of Indian Law Firms expressed in his Keynote Address, "I'm so pleased to see so many women as GCs in MNCs and Indian companies. In law firms, women are doing such a great work. On the selection of awardees, those who nominated and participated, these awards are given as recognition of the collective work they've done. So the task for the jury was very difficult. In the process, the jury learnt a lot on what it means to be successful and have achievements."
On that uplifting note, it was time for the second and last leg of the Award Presentation Ceremony. As the rest of the 20 awardees received their coveted awards and certificates of appreciation, the audience applauded these women of different ages across generations who had nominated themselves and considered themselves worthy of being recognised!
Going a step ahead, the event was not only about awards. It was also a forum for an intelligent exchange of thoughts as women and men stirred up conversations with a Panel Discussion on "Why does I&D matter and how do we actively weave I&D into our Organization?" The event sponsor Accenture is well known in India Inc for its unwavering commitment to a culture of equality that unlocks human potential and unleashes innovation.
The panel discussion was moderated by Vasudha Sharma, Vice President Legal, Accenture. She led and managed the discussion seamlessly while making the point, "I&D is a powerful enabler of business performance. Diverse teams have shown to more radically innovate. However, the gap between companies that implement D&I at the front foot and those that see it as a luxury and hence keep it at the backburner is widening. And we need to find ways to bridge that gap."
The eminent panelists were Manjaree Chowdhary, Executive Director, and General Counsel, Maruti Suzuki India Limited; Neera Sharma, CEO/CLO, Sistema Smart Technologies Limited; Shukla Wassan, Independent Director, Legal/Corporate Consultant, Conflict Resolution, Arbitration, Mediation; and Neha Misra Gautam, Senior Legal Counsel, Accenture.
All panellists agreed that I&D was not about favouritism. It is taking care of the external factors and uncomfortable situations for women so that they can really put their best foot forward! Also, Diversity without Inclusion was counter-productive. Inclusion is our responsibility. If we're thorough about our job and are accountable, we will be included in decision making.
The panellists suggested that to embed I&D into an organisation, the tone from the top is a must. It has to be mandated. It has to be run like an agenda. We have to translate the organisation's policies into action – even if they are small actionable steps. And while organisations do that, it is important to remember that D&I is not an HR function. Everybody has to be included in it.
Each of the panellists also shared personal and authentic journeys of their career ridden with professional challenges, managing change, and making tough choices.
Shukla Wassan, Independent Director, Legal/Corporate Consultant, Conflict Resolution, Arbitration, Mediation narrated said emphatically, "Nothing comes by luck. It is by your sweat and hard work that you find a way to get a degree of acceptance by the leadership team. I burnt the midnight oil and performed. I kept pushing myself in my corporate stints and never stopped at one goalpost - Legal, Secretarial, Public Affairs and Government Relationships and so on. Also, on three occasions, I had lost my job! And in each of those occasions I have bounced back with a better job and pay packet.
And then came motherhood. It was the best thing that happened to me. When my son was unwell, I was clear – my work will happen and at the same time when my son needs me, I will be there. We as women can perform well in office only when our homes are happy. In 2013 when I lost my brother unfortunately, I was told that Phani cyclone had hit Orissa. And my team couldn't move without my approval on organising donations. I made the decision right there and asked them to go ahead. Even as I was in the hospital. Similarly, when my mother's funeral was over, right after I came home opened my laptop and got on with my work. So, if you want to achieve what you want to achieve, you have to take all these challenges in your stride. These are opportunities to prove yourself. Quitters never win and winners never quit."
Manjaree Chowdhary, Executive Director, and General Counsel, Maruti Suzuki India Limited, thanked Legal Era for making these conversations possible and shared anecdotes on how important it was to keep alive that burning desire to succeed at every stage of one's career. "I was a professor in Punjab University and took to law fatefully. I had read corporate law, contract etc. But I didn't know how to draft a contract to appoint an MD. One of the consultants came up to me and said, "Madam please get your act together. The clients cannot wait." At that moment, I could have gone up to him and said to hell with your job and no one talk to me disrespectfully. And that was my turning point. I finished the work and sat him down and I told him, "Now look, I'm here to make myself a lawyer. I need to get cracking now. I need someone to teach this to me. I am ready to be here till 2 am. If you find me lacking, you can throw me out." And teach he did! In about 3 years' time in that law firm, I was ready to be a senior associate, then manager, and then partner. And then I got hired in General Electric. I didn't know the corporate world. You really have to find your feet."
Reinforcing how important it was to take calculated risks, Manjaree shared, "In 2003-04 I told my boss that I want to be a GC. I loved that role. And I was ready to give up my retention bonus of 20 lakhs. So I left that money, but never regretted it. You got to take your chances! Take a calculated risk. Be passionate about what you do. And be good at what you do. Have employability. Have the skills. Be a professional. Learn to be positive. Life is not fair. Tomorrow is always another day. Bounce back and go!"
Neera Sharma, CEO/CLO, Sistema Smart Technologies Limited shared how the right attitude is the key to success. "I have always tried to be ahead of everybody and in those challenging times I did a lot of learnings. I did MBA, Finance, Cyberlaws, Network, Commercial aspects etc so that I can sit in key meetings and prove myself. In my first organisation, I was the only woman. During my entire maternity leave, I answered every email. I didn't want to lose the position that I've achieved thus far. And I have always given the message to people around me – I don't mess with anyone. You don't mess with me too."
And Neha Misra Gautam, Senior Legal Counsel, Accenture brough out succinctly, "I was the only woman there in the leadership trainings. That initial pride gave way to disappointment. Why are companies not interested in augmenting the careers of women so that they reach the leadership level? I worked very hard. I worked on weekends. Stayed late. Networked at casual events. I could do all that because I had family support. But that's not true for a lot of women. So, we need to be focussed. We need to unlearn a lot of things. We need to think what can we do to make sure that millennials have the support that they need."
These meaningful conversations and the high-profile glittering evening closed with Aakriti Raizada reinforcing that the time was ripe for the women in the legal fraternity to keep persevering as women lawyers, entrepreneurs, and professionals make a mark globally. She invited everyone to analyse both opportunities and challenges and decide what else they could do to further empower the women in the world of law and business.
Women In Law Excellence Awards is no longer only an Awards event. It has grown to become a platform of repute to discover, meet, and celebrate talented trailblazing women who have contributed to the industry's growth and success. It has become an occasion to know and share powerful stories that serve as an inspiration for young women lawyers and their professional careers ahead!
By casting a spotlight on the extraordinary work of these 40 women lawyers, Legal Era has set yet another example for best practices not only in India's legal industry but other sectors too. And each of the 40 women lawyers became winners of not only the most coveted and the most relevant certificate of competence in the Indian legal industry. We can only imagine what barriers the 4th Edition of the Legal Era Annual Women in Excellence Awards will further shatter. We can only imagine what new benchmarks of competence and resilience it will raise.
Here's a snapshot of the diverse points and experiences the stellar Women in Law Excellence Awards winners made as they expressed their thoughts about their win, the event, their role models, and their driving force!
Here are the brief profiles of Legal Era's 40 Star Women Lawyers of the Year.
Aastha Abhya is the General Counsel at M2P Fintech. She is responsible for advisory, documentation, litigation, and transaction support to products and services of YAP, India, GCC, and APAC regions. She advises executive, senior management, and board on legal rights, and new and existing laws; provides interpretations and recommendations to management and other staff; plans and implements internal policies and procedures; and handles statutory and regulatory requirements, such as RBI licensing forms.
She also anticipates and identifies legal issues and provides counselling to officers of the institution to develop legal strategies and solutions, often in situations of political, public relations, or financial risk or significance, and with limited time for assessing alternatives. She manages investors and the external law firm concerning the organization's series funding.
A Gujarat National Law University alumnus, Aastha previously worked with MasterCard India Services Private Limited and MasterCard Asia Pacific Pte. Ltd. as the Legal Consultant to Legal Counsel. She was also the Privacy Counsel for APAC where she was responsible for privacy and data protection lawyer for MasterCard APAC. She was also the Legal Commercial Counsel for India, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. MasterCard Exceptional rewarded her with the Sales Performance Award 2019.
In her earlier roles, Aastha had a two-year stint with ICICI Bank Limited as Senior Legal Manager, worked as an Independent Corporate Practitioner, and also worked with DSM India Private Limited, Moser Baer Projects Private Limited, and Singh and Associates.
Anjali Ghosh is India & South Asia Legal Lead for Amazon Web Services, Public Sector. She is responsible for providing legal advice to AWS Senior Leadership, strategizing to drive Amazon's worldwide expansion efforts by analysing and assessing international procurement laws, directives, rules, and data privacy regulations, and other potential barriers to entry in India & South Asia. She negotiates with top representatives of Central Government Ministries and Nodal Agencies to alleviate concerns around data access, cyber laws, computing policies, and advice on safeguards put into place by Amazon to protect state and citizens data. She provides subject matter expertise and legal analysis for data protection and privacy-related matters across the India and South Asia region.
Anjali's key expertise lies in next-gen Technology Laws, including, IT Laws, Data Privacy Laws across EMEA & APAC, Cloud Computing, Cyber Laws, blockchain, Machine Learning & Cryptocurrency.
Previously, Anjali was part of American Express Legal Leadership, heading AMEX APAC Technology Legal Team, overseeing domestic and international matters.
Anjali pursued law in the United Kingdom and worked for several years in a prestigious law firm in London before returning home to a stellar career. Some of her achievements include advising on India's first Cloud Policy Framework working with Kris Gopalakrishnan. She has negotiated and led an $18Billion Consortium Deal for British Telecom. She was part of a two-member legal team, negotiating & closing the $500 Million deal between HCL & PepsiCo. She has also negotiated and closed a $100M deal between HCL & Microsoft.
The Indian National Bar Association awarded Anjali the General Counsel of the Year 2019 – Technology Sector. She is also featured amongst the top 100 Lawyers in India by the Indian Corporate Counsel Association Anthology.
Anu Monga is a Partner at Anant Law. She has extensive experience in advising, assisting, and representing clients on diverse regulatory and policy matters and even in the Technology, Media, and Telecom space.
Anu's practice focuses on Competition/ Antitrust and International Trade laws and is a well-known face owing to her regular appearances before the Supreme Court of India, Delhi High Court, NCLAT, and CCI. She is among the very few lawyers to advise on 'capital dumping' and overlap of competition law and international trade laws. Anu also advises clients in the acquisition of IPRs and drafting/ negotiating relevant documents. A versatile professional, she also plays an active role in business development and client relationship management.
Anu has been part of some of the most high-stake matters on behavioural side including the cement cartel matter and the largest-ever penalty was imposed on 11 Cement Companies and their association. She has obtained several landmark orders including the relevant turnover judgment from the Supreme Court of India in the Excel Crop Care matter. She also has the rare distinction of being the only Indian counsel to have argued a matter before the US Department of Commerce on behalf of the Government of India and obtained a favourable order.
Anu has handled IPR practice at Seth Dua & Associates. She played a key role in SAAB-Foster's tax dispute with the Government of India winning the first order by any High Court on the situs of trademark/ IPRs in a tax dispute. Previously, Anu also handled the International Trade/ WTO practice at Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas and IndusLaw.
Anu was nominated at the Global Competition Review Annual Awards at Washington DC, USA for representing the Informant in Cement Cartel matter in 2013, and obtaining an order on 'relevant turnover' from COMPAT in 2014.
Asmita Pawar is Head – Automotive Transactions & IP, Tata Technologies. A skilled contract negotiator and corporate law specialist with experience in the IT/ ITeS and automotive sector across North America and the Asia Pacific, Asmita advises the senior management on various issues and legal aspects. That includes overseeing contract preparation & negotiation, management of IP portfolio, statutory compliance, employee policies & manuals, bad debt recoveries, and managing the budget for the legal function.
A part of the North America Leadership Team, Asmita received a Letter of appreciation from management for outstanding performance and support and the Best Employee award. She has reduced the company's overall contract risk by 60% in the last three years by negotiating and structuring favourable terms. She has facilitated approximately $80 million in revenue by successfully negotiating services agreements and distribution agreements. She has also reduced non -compliance within the company by 40% by conducting webinars/sessions for other support functions and numerous internal audits and implemented an effective compliance tool to monitor statutory compliance. Asmita has led mergers and acquisitions, negotiated stock purchase and sale of business agreements, and ensured compliance with the terms from different departments. And she was recognized for saving 70% of the budgeted cost by managing most of the legal issues in-house and effective management of outsourcing legal consultation.
Previously, Asmita has worked with KPIT Technologies Limited and law firms such as Haresh Jagtiani & Associates, M.V. Kini, and Universal Legal.
A University of Pune alumnus, LLB and LLM both, Asmita has also pursued an Executive Program in Corporate Regulation from IIM, Calcutta. Asmita has been appreciated and recognized by senior management for changing sales' and delivery's perspective about the legal function – from an enabling function to becoming a facilitator of business.
Armin Pardiwala is a Partner at Crawford Bayley & Co. Her responsibilities include drafting contracts and agreements; conducting legal due diligence for capital market transactions and mergers and acquisitions; assisting companies in the structuring and setting up of operations in India end to end; and drafting and negotiating documents relating to immovable properties.
Armin has advised multinational companies like Telekom Malaysia Sdn. Bhd., Royal Dutch Shell Plc., Saudi Aramco, Matsushita Electric Works, Ltd., Qatar Telecom on acquisitions of Indian companies; and advised Indian companies like Sasken Communication Technologies Limited, J B Chemicals Private Limited, and Finolex Cables Limited on acquisitions outside India. She has also advised numerous private equity funds and target companies on investment by private equity funds in Indian companies.
Armin is currently advising the Government on the Privatization of BEML Limited; Privatization of HLL Limited; Privatization of Pawan Has Limited; and Privatization of PDIL. She has earlier advised the Government of India on the sale of residual shareholding held by the President of India in Tata Communications Limited to Panatone Finvest Limited. Some of her other accomplishments include advising the Government of India on the privatization of National Aluminum Company Limited and the offer for sale of its equity stake in Maruti Udyog Limited. She has advised the consortium of Royal Dutch Shell Plc. and Saudi Aramco on the acquisition of the stake of the Government of India in Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited. And she has assisted the Government of India in drafting the new code of conduct on disinvestment transactions.
Armin has previously worked with leading international law firms such as Davis Polk and Wardwell, Linklaters, Shearman Sterling, Clifford Chance, Allen and Overy, Eversheds, ASG Law, Engelin Teh Practice LLC.
On receiving the award Armin said "This is a great encouragement and a testament that I'm on the right path. Thank you, Legal Era!"
Dhwani Rao is the Head Legal Counsel handling IP, Digital legal, and HR legal matters for South Asia Region at Nestlé. She is also the Head of Data Privacy for the South Asia Region at Nestlé.
Starting with Nestlé as a Regional Legal Specialist for business units in 2012, she has been supporting South Asia Region markets on diverse issues and dealing with contentious legal matters. She has also handled a variety of digital legal issues including privacy, crowdsourcing, e-commerce, cloud computing, robotics, IoT, artificial intelligence, drones, augmented and virtual reality.
Business and legal teams across the Region have appreciated Dhwani for implementing anti-counterfeiting measures in the SAR Region. She has been integral in rolling out varied Employment law-related policies across the organization and ensuring compliance across all units in India. She is the legal partner to HR Function and independently handles complex legal matters including interpretation and application of regulations on personnel grievances, harassment, and conduct, and ensures strict adherence of labour compliances across all levels.
Currently a member with BASCAP, CASCADE, International Technology Law Association, International Trademark Association, and Inter-Pacific Bar Association, she has been coveted with the prestigious 'Legal Era Award' conferred in 2016 under 'Rising Star' below 40 years category.
Before joining Nestlé in 2012, Dhwani worked in a law firm advising domestic and international businesses.
Ekta Gupta is an M&A and PE Partner at Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas. She has advised private equity funds, public and private companies, sovereign wealth funds, MNCs, strategic corporate clients, and Indian conglomerates on a variety of complex cross-border PE and M&A transactions.
Over the last 3 years, Ekta has been consistently recognized amongst the top 12 hardworking corporate lawyers in Asia by the Merger market based on the number of deals she closed every year. In the last 6 years, she has undertaken over 60 transactions for PE and strategic corporate clients. Since becoming a partner, she has developed strong relationships with Temasek, IDFC Alternatives, Paytm, Walmart, Flipkart, and Maverick Capital for whom she has become the go-to counsel. She has formidable experience in e-commerce, retail, financial services, fin-tech and also specializes in F&B, Telecom, and Pharmaceuticals.
A National Law University, Jodhpur alumnus, few of Ekta's many significant accomplishments include representing Silver Lake, KKR, General Atlantic, GIC, TPG, ADIA, and Public Investment Fund Saudi Arabia on their respective investments in Reliance Retail Ventures Limited; and representing Walmart on the acquisition of majority stake by Wal-Mart International Holdings, Inc. and Walmart Inc. in Flipkart Private Limited for an aggregate consideration of US$ 16 billion. This transaction won numerous awards including 'M&A Deal of the Year' by Asian Legal Business Awards 2019, 'Winning Deals' by Global M&A Network Atlas Awards 2019, and 'Impact deal of the Year' by Asialaw Regional Awards, 2019.
Juhi Sinha is currently the Deputy General Counsel and Vice President Legal at InterGlobe Enterprises Private Limited. She is a strategic business partner supporting the business in legal and regulatory issues. She is also responsible for directing the implementation and execution of the Code of Conduct compliance program of the Company and its business subsidiaries. Donning this role since 2019, in the last 2 years, Juhi has handled the restructuring of the InterGlobe Legal Process and management of corporate legal affairs. She led some very large and complex litigations outside India involving the business has been instrumental in winning these litigations for the company.
Juhi started her career with Lall & Sethi Advocates and then worked with a few law firms before joining InterGlobe Technologies, the IT and BPO arm of IGEPL. As the Head of Legal at IGT, Juhi's provided advisory on complex international/ cross-business transactions, business expansions, key client contract negotiations, guided a major restructuring of the legal and operations department of the company, and implemented best practices and policies leading to a major overhaul. She also led some significant out-of-court settlements and arbitrations for the company.
Juhi has earned a bachelor's degree in History (Hons) from Hindu College, Delhi University in 2000, and a bachelor's degree in law from the prestigious ILS Law College in Pune three years later. She completed an additional master's degree in international corporate law from the George Washington University, Washington DC in 2007.
Kanika Shah Wadhwa is the Legal Director and Senior Counsel (Head of Legal), at GlaxoSmithKline Asia Pvt. Ltd. and is responsible for leading the legal and secretarial function for the India Subcontinent. She has been involved in many complex cross boarder transactions including the amalgamation of erstwhile GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare Limited and Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL), in the divestment of nutritional portfolio in Bangladesh and setting up a distribution set up with HUL in India for GlaxoSmithKline's consumer healthcare products. She adeptly managed to work with multiple stakeholders in different jurisdictions and time zones, during the lockdown.
Her ability to carry the team with tenacity and calm during the most stressful times during the entire transaction has been recognized at global platforms within the GSK system. Her team has been recognized as an enabler for business and digital transformation. The legal team developed a chatbot to help clarify internal policy-related issues.
Kanika has more than 15 years of experience in various industries spanning over NBFC, Telecom, Beverage, Airline and Consumer Healthcare. She has had the opportunity to advice on competition and real estate matters, IPO, setting up of brown field projects and business transfers.
She has also been recognized for her work and leadership at various forums and was also awarded the '40 Under 40 Rising Star Awards 2020' by Legal Era.
Khushnuma Khan is a seasoned arbitrator and strategic litigator. She is also a qualified Associate Chartered Arbitrator from the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, London. Her major practice areas are Banking, Corporate Litigation, Arbitration, Mergers & Acquisitions, MSMEs, and Start-ups.
Khushnuma started her career with S. Mohammedbhai & Co., Little & Co., Kanga & Co, and D.M. Harish & Co. Armed with a rich experience of acting for the sovereign, sub-national, and private international parties in international commercial and investment arbitration/litigation and other corporate advisory capacities; and significant deep experience in investor-state arbitration, infrastructure & project, banking and finance, in January 2009, Khushnuma started her own law firm M/s. K K Associates (Advocates & Solicitors). In 2014 she started her law firm in UAE in partnership with MIO International, a Dubai-based law firm. Since then, it's been upwards and onwards.
Today, Khushnuma represents high net worth clients in India and UAE and is appointed by 12 Consortium Banks to handle high net-worth litigation cases in Dubai Courts. She has also represented d high-profile clients on various deals, transactions, and/or arbitration. She represents several Indian and foreign corporate clients. She also represents the Indian embassy and consulate in UAE and provides legal advisory services and support on pro-bono to help the distressed Indian community.
An alumnus of K.C. College, Khushnuma is a regular speaker at key industry platforms and her work has been published by LawStreet, Swiss-Chinese Bar Association, UAE Banks, and Chartered Institute of Arbitrators.
Khushnuma has multiple awards and recognitions behind her. The recent ones are Super Achiever of the Year World Women Leadership Congress Award 2020; SME Excellence Award in Legal Services, SME Chamber of India Award 2020; National Women Leadership Award 2020 for Excellence in Corporate Legal Services; Indian Business Group Chamber of Commerce Award 2020 for Excellence in Legal Services; and Women of the Year Leadership Award 2020. She is also a Member of the International Bar Association of USA, a Life Member of the Indian Council of Arbitrators, a Member of Chartered Institute of Arbitrators London, and a Life Member of the International Chamber of Commerce among others.
Maimoona Badsha has been the General Counsel for Apollo Hospitals Enterprise Limited and its Group Companies, PAN-India, and its Global projects/initiatives since 2008.
She is responsible for all legal affairs relating to Apollo Hospitals, the largest private healthcare services provider in India. She is also the Chief legal advisor to the Chairman, Apollo Hospitals, Executive Directors, senior-level management, and stakeholders at several locations in India and globally.
In the Healthcare sector, Maimoona manages company litigation portfolio, advises and oversees regulatory compliances, negotiates and drafts all commercial agreements. She also advises on the implementation of medical laws. She conducts training programs for healthcare professionals on their legal rights. In the Life sciences sector, she drafts commercial agreements; represents tissue banking & drug discovery companies; and is the Legal Advisor for 10 AARRHAPP accredited Clinical trial sites across India.
Maimoona is also involved in the General Corporate & Commercial law aspects. She provides strategies & solutions to resolve cross-border and domestic legal issues through arbitration. She regularly drafts pleadings, conducts trials in courts, and has handled cases from inception to final judgment.
Recognized as India's Top 100 General Counsels by Business World, Legal World's Top GC 100, 2020, Maimoona is a member of many bodies of repute. These include the High Court of Madras; The Gender Sensitization and Internal Compliance Committee-I; Bar Council of Tamil Nadu; Madras High Court Advocates and Madras Bar Association; and Honorary Member, Institutional Ethics Committee for Human Clinical Trials, Apollo Research & Innovations.
Previously, she was the Director, India Operations Legalease Solutions Pvt. Ltd. from 2005 to 2008.
Mamta Jha Senior Partner & Head of Litigation at Inttl Advocare. She is a practicing lawyer with expertise in Intellectual Property. She also has considerable experience in emerging fields of Information Technology, Telecommunications, Media, and Anti-trust laws. Her past experience in both civil and criminal litigation has equipped her with a unique approach to addressing complex issues and providing holistic solutions.
Acknowledged as a leading authority in the Indian IPR scenario, Mamta often speaks her mind at various IP fora. She has authored the India Chapter of the AIPPI-Wolters-Kluwer Practitioners' Guide to Antibody Patenting. She was featured in the book "Antibody Patenting: A Practitioner's Guide to Drafting, Prosecution, and Enforcement." Recently, she was the first Indian interviewed by 'Leaderching', a platform for Leadership and Coaching.
Apart from litigation, Mamta advises clients on IP licensing, auditing, contract drafting and negotiation, business venture evaluation and due diligence, online and offline anti-counterfeiting and border control measures, and regulatory compliances.
A Gold Medalist in B.Sc. (Zoology), Mamta is the Chair of the INTA Oppositions and Cancellations Sub-Committee, India Representative of APAA Anti-Counterfeiting Committee, India Member of the AIPPI Biotechnology Committee, and India Leader – AIPPI Study Question on Inventorship of inventions made using AI.
Mamta was recognised by World Trademark Review 2021 for Enforcement & litigation practice area; featured in 'Hall of Fame edition 2020' by The Enterprise World Magazine; featured amongst "The 10 Most Influential Women Lawyers to Watch" by Insight Success Media; recognized amongst 2021 'Top Lawyers' from India for IP-related advice by Asia IP Magazine; recognized amongst the 'Top 15 IP Lawyers' 2020 by online legal magazine Asian Legal Business.
Meenu heads the Legal, Commercial, and Compliance function of HCL Technologies for its operations in India, the UK & Europe, and APMEA regions.
She has handled General Commercial, Regulatory Compliance, litigation, arbitration, policy advocacy in IP, Privacy, Cybersecurity with research and training experience across the USA, UK, and India in Hi-tech & ITES companies like HCL Technologies, Microsoft, and United Lex.
Meenu is actively engaged in policy debates and has various publications on Data Privacy, Cybersecurity, IP and Innovation, Trade secrets, Anti-Counterfeiting, IP, and Competition law. She spearheaded Public policy campaigns such as FICCI CASCADE and Microsoft India's Cybersecurity Engagement Centre.
Before joining HCL Tech, Meenu led the IP and Technology Law Practice of Adyopant Legal and served as Lead Consultant- Technology and Data Policy for "The Dialogue". Before this, she was Senior Attorney, Director IP, and Digital Crime Unit in the Corporate, External & Legal Affairs function of Microsoft Corporation (India) Pvt Ltd. She led the Cybersecurity Engagement Centre initiative of Microsoft India. Meenu has also served as BSA India Chair India Campaign Committee 2017 & 2018 responsible for executing cybersecurity and anti-piracy awareness campaigns across India.
An avid speaker at national and international forums on policy & legal issues, Meenu is the proud recipient of the INBA Women In-House Counsel of the year – Cyberlaw 2017 and the Legal Era IP Star Women Award of the Year at the International IP Conclave & Awards 2019.
Manisha Singh is the Co-Founder and Partner at LexOrbis, India's premier Intellectual Property law providing end-to-end IP services and solutions starting from ideation to monetization including, procurement, protection, maintenance, and enforcement of all forms of IP rights and assets and other legal services. She has been advising and handling dispute resolutions for global technology and pharmaceutical companies, public sector companies, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, the Government of India, the Indian Oil Corporation, the Department of Non-Banking Companies, and the Reserve Bank of India.
She founded LexOrbis in 1997 to bring an international perspective to the Indian intellectual property right laws, that were in the process of being integrated with the International IP systems post-signing by India of TRIPS Agreement. She worked closely with the policy makers and judiciary to establish a level playing IP regime in India and she continues to work on critical and high-stake policy-related cases.
Routinely invited to author articles and commentaries on contemporary IP issues, her work appears in Managing IP, World Intellectual Property Review, Indian Business Law Journal, IP Frontline, Marques, Mondaq, Asialaw, etc.
An alumnus of Campus Law Centre, Delhi University of Delhi and LLM in Economics from Patna,
Manisha is ranked amongst the top and leading lawyers in IP and dispute resolution segments of Indian legal practice and is a member of many significant IP forums and professional bodies. These include the International Trademark Association, International Association for the Protection of Intellectual Property, American Intellectual Property Law Association, Intellectual Property Owners Association, Licensing Executives Society International, European Communities Trade Mark Association, and Pharmaceuticals Trade Marks Group.
Nandita Gera is the Director - Legal, Risk Management & Compliance, India Subcontinent at DB Schenker. Her areas of expertise include Commercial Contracts, Corporate Governance, and Risk Management.
Advising multinational corporations and Indian conglomerates across a varied spectrum of legal practice, Nandita has contributed to help businesses win in complex environments while guiding them to operate within the parameters of the law.
She currently heads the legal, compliance, and risk management function for DB Schenker in India. Her responsibilities include guiding the senior management of the company on legal aspects related to the business including corporate and commercial matters; compliance matters; structuring legal documentation and commercial contracts; supporting complex transactions including JVs and M&A; litigation management to develop and implement case strategies and recover losses to the company, etc. She also ensures the company's compliance with applicable laws and internal policies, and risk management to anticipate and guard against legal risks facing the company.
She has also worked with InterGlobe; Titus & Co., Advocates; Schlumberger, and PepsiCo.
Nandita has graduated in Law from Symbiosis Law School, Pune.
Neha Verma is the Company Secretary and Legal Head at Puniska Healthcare Private Limited. She heads the legal and secretarial department of the Company. Her responsibilities include carrying out due diligence on behalf of the Company and coordinating amongst all departments for due diligence and M & A deals. She coordinates for patent work internally and coordinates with outside agencies like lawyers, consultants, Registrar of Companies, etc. She drafts and vets legal documents for mergers and acquisitions, rent, lease and leave and license, immovable properties purchase and sale, and bank documents. She visits Courts and Tribunals, ensures the Company's compliance with statutory obligations, and manages the Company's subsidiaries in foreign countries like the USA, Kenya, Mexico, etc., and their compliances and filings.
Earlier she worked with Aculife Healthcare Private Limited as Company Secretary and Legal Head. She handled all requirements arising from the demerger of Healthcare Division of Nirma Limited and transfer of the same to the Company. She dealt with all statutory authorities , third parties and modifying all licenses, approvals, registrations, etc. Her other responsibilities included drafting documents for the transfer of product registration of the Company in foreign countries; drafting Memorandum of Understanding, Joint Venture Agreements, Share Purchase Agreement, Shareholders Agreement, and Proposal for company acquisition; drafting License and Assignment Agreement for trademark purposes; handling due diligence of a foreign company, and preparing all documents for acquisition and correspondence with the foreign joint venture partners and target company.
Pooja Bedi is the General Counsel at Philips for the India Sub Continent. She leads the legal and compliance function. Her core competencies include Leadership & Management, Public Policy, Corporate Law, Board Governance, Competition Law, US FCPA/ Compliance Ethics Expert, IPO/Listing, Sexual Harassment/ Employee dispute resolution, Commercial Litigation/Dispute Resolution, Regulatory Policy, Captive Global Back office/ Process outsourcing, High-Value Contracts, Government Relations, APAC Region Compliances, Investigations/Forensics, Commercial Law, Mergers, Legal ops, Market Entry, Technology / Data Privacy, Union/ Labour laws, Direct/Indirect Tax, Consumer Disputes, International Arbitration & Mediation, Government Affairs.
She has worked with Argentum Law as Counsel; Juul Labs as Director – Legal; AB InBev India as Legal Compliance & Corporate Affairs Director- India/South East Asia; and Pernod Ricard as Senior Manager – Legal. While at Pernod Ricard, she advised on Seagram take over by Pernod Ricard India & FDI/RBI Compliance Consolidation of Indian entities through 6 mergers, slump sale, and business asset sale. She also worked on Land acquisition, divestment, property title clearances and successfully created a supply footprint by sub-leasing license in 7 States of India. She has handled Direct & Indirect Tax matters and litigation and led the Corporate Social Responsibility Agenda.
Pooja Sehgal Mehtani is the General Counsel, Sun Life, Asia Service Centres, India and Philippines, and Company Secretary of Asia Service Centre India. She spearheads the Legal and Corporate Secretarial affairs for the organisation and leads the Knowledge Services Legal Vertical within the organisation, providing legal services to various geographies on technology contracts.
Pooja is a core member of the India management team and various internal committees. Leading the legal strategy and working closely with the business, she is a key contributor to organizational strategy and the corporate decision-making team. At Sun Life, Pooja set up a Legal Centre of Excellence for under Knowledge Services Vertical and was responsible for Digitization and Automation of processes within the Legal and Secretarial department.
Her professional journey began as a CS management intern at DCM Shriram Industries. She spent the first three years with Sanspareils Greenlands Pvt. Ltd. a leading manufacturer and exporter of cricket gear, managing their Corporate and Secretarial Affairs. She spent the next 11 years as the Legal Counsel, Company Secretary, and Ethics & Compliance officer with the French infrastructure and environmental services group, Suez.
A law graduate and certified Company Secretary, Pooja has also undergone various leadership programmes and an Executive Management Programme at the Department of Management Studies, IIT Delhi.
Pooja was featured in the 'Trailblazers-India's finest In-house Counsels' 2017 by the Indian Corporate Counsel Association in collaboration with the Ministry of Law and Ministry of Commerce, Government of India, and also in the 'GC Powerlist -India 2018' recognising the top 100 General Counsels in India by Legal 500.
Priya Menon is the Executive Director & General Counsel at 3M Limited. She is responsible for the overall Legal & Secretarial function of 3M India. As a member of the leadership team and Invitee to the 3M India Board, she is a partner to all growth initiatives of the Company and is responsible for overseeing and advising on all key projects of the Company.
She also provides a strong partnership with the Company's compliance programs to mitigate risk. In Corporate Governance, she is responsible for the relations between the Board members and stakeholders.
The Subject Matter Expert in India for Employment Law, Data Privacy, Competition Law and Corporate law, Priya is also responsible for cross-collaboration with finance tax and HR team for effective day to day management of all activities and provides ongoing support to Real estate, Public relations, and Government affairs teams, and to Global teams on IP and Brand protection compliances.
Before joining 3M Limited, she worked with WeWork India Management Private Limited as their General Counsel. She was part of the Executive leadership team. She has also worked with Nike India Pvt. Ltd. as Director Legal & Head of Office; Genpact India as Assistant Vice President & Legal Counsel; AOL Online India Private Limited as their Senior Counsel; Britannia Industries Limited as Manager – Legal; and law firms such as Poovayya & Co. and Mulla & Mulla Craigie Blunt & Caroe.
Priyanka Chaudhari is the Director-Intellectual Property, Litigation & Content Grievances at Netflix. She heads the IP vertical for India and the other south Asian countries. She is responsible for production clearance of content, advising on legalities and risks involved in creation and production of controversial content, due diligence of chain of title documentation for rights acquisition deals, handling claims, enforcement actions, and title clearance and trademark-related work.
When Priyanka joined Netflix in 2019, she was hired to be the 1st content lawyer in the Intellectual Property team of India with an extraordinary opportunity to launch and build a specialist IP team for Netflix India. Today, her team leads all things related to Media & Entertainment laws for Indian content creation, production and exploitation end to end.
As a Counsel, she manages the legal affairs of the business and legal affairs team, the content and production teams, the marketing legal team, the litigation team, and the public policy team.
In 2020, few copyright infringement suits were filed against Netflix for which Priyanka and her team managed to get favorable orders in their favor.
Before joining Netflix, she worked with Balaji Telefilms Limited as Vice President and Senior Counsel. She has also worked with Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited; Star India Private Limited; Bharti AXA Life Insurance Company Limited and law firms such as Deval Patel Associates, Advocates and Solicitors, and Vigil Juris, Advocates and Solicitors. She is an Alumnus of Rizvi Law College, Mumbai.
Priyanka was awarded the prestigious title of "40 UNDER 40 RISING STARS-2020" for India by the Legal Era Magazine and the "BEST YOUNG ACHIEVER- INHOUSE 2019." She was mentioned in the list of "Powerful Women in IP India: 2021" by the World Intellectual Property Forum. She was also awarded under the "GENERAL COUNSEL- ENTERTAINMENT (CATEGORY) 2018" by Indian National Bar Association.
Rajeshwari Hariharan is the Founder and Managing Partner at Rajeshwari & Associates.
She handles the entire spectrum of legal matters in this field including patent, trademark, copyright, design, information technology law, plant variety, regulatory affairs, information technology, entertainment, technology transfer, and allied fields representing clients from India and all around the world, including large business houses, multinational companies, and individuals.
Rajeshwari has negotiated patent licensing transactions; obtained the initial patents in India for genes and micro-organisms; won numerous patent oppositions for Indian and foreign clients; acted in the first-ever challenge to EMR (exclusive marketing rights) on behalf of NatcoPharma Limited in India; won the Basmati and Neem revocations filed by Government of India at the US Patent office, and won the first-ever compulsory license granted to an Indian company.
She has won many landmark cases such as Microfibres v Samsonite on trade dress and design infringement; Novartis V MeherPharma on patent infringement concerning imatinib mesylate (Glivec); Merck V Glenmark case on patent infringement; Ikea Vs Aikya on trademark infringement; and Bayer Vs Natco on the scope of section 107A.
LLB and Master's Biotechnology, Rajeshwari is a prolific IP issue writer and speaker and has been rated by Chambers and Partners and Intellectual Asset Management magazine as one of the leading patent lawyers in the country.
Roop Loomba is the General Counsel and Head of Ethics and Compliances India and South Asia at Rolls-Royce India Limited. She is responsible for setting up the Legal and Ethics and Compliances for the Company in India and South Asia, and setting up the Legal Processes, standardization of contracts, leading training, and negotiating high stake contracts.
Roop is well versed in Civil, Criminal & Commercial Laws, Corporate Laws, Food Laws and Constitutional Law of India, Legal Metrology Laws, Labour Laws, Sales tax Laws, Competition Law, etc. She holds the distinction of administering legal operations across the Indian sub-continent including South Asian countries Like Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Bhutan.
With extensive experience in drafting legal & commercial documents and appearing before courts and tribunals, she provides strategic, commercial, and pragmatic advice to the management. Her core competencies include handling cases pertaining to legal and statutory matters; attending the legal proceedings of the cases; vetting and handling Product claims and Product manuals. Her other responsibilities are interfacing with various internal departments of the company and customers to resolve issues and ensure collections and supporting the Field Collection Team.
Roop was also the Managing Partner & Co-Founder, Loomba Legal Services. She has worked as Legal Retainer for Philips India Limited, Whirlpool India Limited, Louis Dreyfus Commodities, Hindustan Unilever, with Castrol India Limited as Regional In-charge of Intellectual Property Rights, and with Amarjeet and Associates as an independent legal counsel.
Roop has served as Guest Faculty for the Bureau of Police Research and Development under the Ministry of Home Affairs for IT Laws and Intellectual Property Rights Laws. Her legal articles were published on TRIPS in International Legal Conference and leading English newspapers. She has received the CEO Award for Best collaboration in 2014 and two CEO awards in 2015.
Sandhya Tolat is the General Counsel at Aarti Industries Limited, a leading Indian Manufacturer in Chemicals & Pharmaceuticals. With expertise in legal drafting and execution of local and cross-border transactions, Sandhya has extensively focused on corporate organic and inorganic growth initiatives covering Legal Strategy, Contract Drafting and Negotiations, Dispute Resolution and Litigation, Regulatory and Enterprise Risk Management, and Advocacy. Her network of relationships with the legal fraternity also plays a role in accelerated resolution to issues.
While Sandhya leads the legal function at AIL, she is also responsible for developing in-house legal talent; IPR, Real Estate & Brand protection & commercialization; enterprise risk management; legal compliance; business partnership; specialist advice & strategic guidance across chemical and pharma businesses on organic/inorganic growth transactions, dispute resolutions, advocacy, and regulatory compliance; and Institutionalizing, Centralizing & Digitizing legal systems and processes.
Before joining AIL, Sandhya worked with Aditya Birla Group-Hindalco Industries Limited as General Manager and Corporate Legal Vertical Head. She led the legal setup of the first-ever start-up and new business venture of Hindalco namely "Eternia."
An alumnus of Government Law College (GLC), Sandhya has received a Letter of Appreciation from Mr. Kumar Mangalam Birla and four PRIDE AWARDS by Hindalco (Performance Recognition in Delivering Excellence). She has been Mentor at Aditya Birla Group-World of Women and the Chairperson-Internal Complaints Committee-POSH at Hindalco. She was a Member of the Corporate Business Value Committee at Hindalco and the Apex Sustainability and Compliance Committee at Hindalco (2016-2019). She had also been the Legal Risk Champion for legal function at Hindalco. Previously, she has worked with Dhruve Liladhar & Co- Advocates Solicitors & Notary and Vimadalal & Co-Advocates & Solicitors.
Sanjit Kaur Batra is the Regional Legal Director of Greater Asia at International Flavors & Fragrances. She leads the legal, secretarial, and compliance functions for the organization. And as a part of the corporate and business leadership team, she provides strategic inputs to facilitate business growth in a complex regulatory environment, improve legal processes, and lead policy advocacy efforts.
Sanjit's core competencies include Intellectual Property, Corporate Advisory, M & As, Divestiture, Contracts, Litigation, Policy Formulations, and Advocacy, Ethics and Compliance, Competition and Anti-Trust, Corporate Governance, and Government and Regulatory affairs.
A graduate in Law from Kurukshetra University, Sanjit has diverse experience of working in international agencies, law firms, and as in-house counsel. She has worked with DuPont as Legal Head (South Asia) and APAC Counsel (Nutrition & Biosciences); as a Commercial Specialist for Intellectual Property (South Asia) with U.S. Patent and Trademark Office; with Nucleus Software as Associate Manager – Legal; and even with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
Sanjukta Kulkarni is the Vice President and General Counsel at Larsen & Toubro Infotech Limited and is responsible for the global legal portfolio. Her responsibilities include providing end-to-end legal support for LTI and subsidiary companies across services, software, and global delivery. She is in charge of all legal issues of LTI globally – commercial contracts and contractual compliance, employment issues, statutory and government investigations, and litigation including managing class action suits. She advises on the whistle-blower investigation process, M&A integration and general policy matters, HR function on recruitment, termination, rebadging and policy matters, and Corporate Communications on important matters. She is also a member of the Risk Operating Committee.
Sanjukta was previously Country Counsel at Hewlett Packard Enterprise where she was responsible for legal function across four major HPE entities in India. Hewlett Packard Enterprise India Private Limited, Hewlett Packard GlobalSoft Private Limited (now EIT Services India Private Limited), Hewlett Packard (India) Software Operation Private Limited & Global eBusiness India. She was also an advisor to the Managing Director and Boards of all the above entities on all strategic and sensitive matters.
She has also worked with Capgemini India Private Limited as Deputy General Counsel, Tata Consultancy Services Limited as Senior Corporate Counsel, and Head Legal at TCS eServe Ltd.
Sanjukta is a regular Speaker at the TCS Leadership program 'Ambassador Corps', and the continuous learning program 'Pragati'. She leads and conducts Engagement Manager Legal Training for Delivery Leaders in Capgemini, India.
Shalini Saxena is the General Counsel at Pine Labs. She is responsible for business targets and growth of the organization, oversees compliance and secretarial support across the Asia Pacific, evaluates digital technology challenges, and advocates a business enabling regulatory framework. Investments, acquiring, and strategic investments both in and by the Company is the other key deliverable.
Shalini has dabbled with commercial transactional work and M&A across multiple jurisdictions such as Bhutan, Nepal, Georgia, Vietnam, Malaysia, China, South Africa, and Dubai.
She was General Counsel for GE Renewables, ASEAN, a Tier 1 business in GE, comprising Wind and Hydro products and services where one of her key projects was implementing a Turnkey solution for WIND business comprising of multi-dimensional risk. She has previously worked with MIH Web, a South African-based company part of the Naspers Group. She had been Manager Legal with erstwhile GE Countrywide, a business unit of the General Electric Company, USA, and worked with Kundra & Bansal law firm as a litigating and corporate associate.
Some of Shalini's significant achievements include participating in ASSOCHAM Committee matters on Renewables industry; lesioning with commercial customers to drive localization and standardization of process and contracts; and advocacy on SCOMET/Data Suppression with export/custom authorities. She was involved in setting up an R&D centre in India to evaluate risk on tax, legal, commercial issues; and put on the ground a strategy for solar companies to map the risk and mitigate with workable solutions.
Shalini has also been instrumental in blogging to help employees understand and find their voice in this "Me Too" era. She has assisted in formulating company policy and advising corporates/Institutes in matters of harassment.
Swati Sharma is a Partner at Anand & Anand. Her core expertise is in Intellectual Property prosecution and contentious, advisory and litigation in India and the SAARC region, privacy and internet laws, mergers and acquisitions, advertisement laws, and contractual and commercial laws.
She has extensive experience in intellectual property laws, the entire life cycle of brands, advising on brand selection and protection process involving trademark searches, office actions, hearings, contentious matters in India and SAARC regions. She is currently managing several portfolios aggregating to more than 15000 files. She has argued and got TCS declared as a well-known trademark.
Being an active interface between the Government and legislature, Swati was part of the working group constituted to make suggestions to the Trademarks Amendment Rules, 2017. She was involved in drafting The Commonwealth Games Protection of Intellectual Property Act, 2010. She has taken a leadership role in the Unreal campaign of the International Association of Trademarks to educate students internationally on counterfeiting issues.
An articulate professional, Swati has been a Speaker at the International Franchise, Retail and Licensing Show, the MIP India IP and Innovation Forum, the World IP Forum, and the International Trademarks Association at Seattle in 2018.
Tahira Karanjawala is the Principal Associate at Karanjawala & Co. While she primarily practices litigation before the Supreme Court of India, she also regularly appears before the High Courts of Delhi and various other Courts, tribunals, and arbitral tribunals across India.
Tahira has catered to an impressive and diverse client roster. That includes some of the country's leading corporate houses such as Tata Sons, MSD Pharmaceuticals, Google, Bloomsbury, GVK, GMR, SMS, and Noida Toll Bridge Company. She has also represented and advised several reputed individuals and families including Mr. Nusli Wadia, Mr. Jyotiraditya Scindia, the erstwhile Baroda Royal Family, the erstwhile Holkar Royal Family, Mr. Rajdeep Sardesai, and Ms. Karishma Kapoor
An active participant in the pro-bono practice and public interest initiatives undertaken by Karanjawala & Co, she furthered the interest of a reformist section of the Dawoodi Bohra community which suffered as a result of ex-communication. She has also taken up cases aimed at safeguarding the fundamental rights of members of the hearing-impaired community and the LGBTQ+ community.
An alumnus of Amity Law School, New Delhi, and LLM from Columbia Law School, New York, Tahira is also registered as an Attorney in the State of New York. In 2020, she qualified as an Advocate on Record in the Supreme Court of India securing Rank 1 in the AoR Examination receiving a Gold Medal from the Board of Examiners of the Supreme Court, a Certificate of Honour from the Mukesh Goswami Memorial Fund, the P.R. Kumaramangalam running trophy and the O.P. Malhotra Award.
Tanvi Kumar is a Partner in the Corporate Team at Khaitan & Co. Her practice areas include Mergers & Acquisitions and Corporate & Commercial. She specializes in mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, inbound and outbound investment from India, and general corporate advisory, across a broad spectrum of sectors. Tanvi has in-depth knowledge and expertise in providing day-to-day corporate advisory, commercial contracts, stock acquisitions, private equity and venture capital transactions, business/asset transfers, financing documents, internal reorganization/restructuring issues, and secretarial matters.
Being a transaction lawyer, Tanvi has successfully led teams on numerous transactions from start to finish. And while doing that, she has developed working relationships with firms like Kirkland & Ellis LLP, Clifford Chance, Sheppard Mullin LLC, Debevoise & Plimpton, White & Case, London, Weil Gotshal & Manges, and Bennet Jones, LLP.
Tanvi has represented leading Indian corporates, foreign companies, and private equity funds. She has advised City Football Group in its landmark entry in the Indian football space; Sealed Air Corp on its joint venture with Kris Flexipacks in India; SIS Prosegur Holdings Private Limited/Prosegur Compañia De Seguridad S.A. concerning their India operations; GE Mauritius Infrastructure Holdings Limited in its acquisition of 67% stake in Advanced Sys-tek Private Limited.
In the Mergers and Acquisitions and Private Equity arena, Tanvi has advised Ahead Global Holdings in its acquisition of Molson Coors India Private Limited; Sandvik Machining Solutions AB, Sweden on the acquisition of tools machining business of Ashok Piramal Group; Bertlesmann Nederland B.V on series C round of investment in Rupeek Fintech Private Limited; and Abu Dhabi National Energy Company in a distressed sale of its stake in Himachal Sorang Power Private Limited.
An alumnus of ILS Law College, Pune, Tanvi was recognized as a 'Notable Practitioner' for M&A, IFLR1000 in 2020.
Tejal Patil is the Senior Legal Advisor for INSEA (India and South East Asia) for OYO Hotels and Homes and a key member of the OYO Global leadership team. She is responsible for the company's legal function in the region. That includes managing regulatory, contractual, and legal compliance for the company, steering OYO's strategic initiatives, dispute resolution, and providing actionable counsel on strategic business decisions and operational execution.
With extensive legal, compliance, risk, and governance experience across Asia Paciﬁc, Tejal has provided strategic and risk advice to CEOs, senior management, Board of Directors, and assisted in accelerating growth and keeping the company safe.
Her previous experience includes Asia Pacific roles with GE's healthcare, consumer, and industrial and aviation businesses, as General Counsel based in Singapore and Tokyo.
Tejal is a qualified solicitor at both the Bombay Incorporated Law Society and the Law Society of England and Wales and a certified Six Sigma Green Belt. She has been recognized for her team-building, thought leadership, and contribution to the compliance ecosystem.
Tulika Jesrani is the Director – Legal and General Counsel at Kimberly-Clark (India). She heads the Legal Function and is responsible for Kimberly-Clark India operations - both Consumer and Professional businesses. As a part of the India Leadership Team and APAC Legal Leadership Team, she provides strategy and legal excellence towards accomplishing the India Team Objectives.
Tulika provides legal advice, leadership, strategy, and risk management in all legal matters. In the capacity of a General Counsel, she plays the role of a business partner and trusted advisor to the heads of the consumer and professional businesses of Kimberly-Clark. She is responsible for driving compliance in India and provides legal advice on employment-related issues. Also involved in Policy Formation and Knowledge sharing, she continuously assesses the impact of relevant legal evolutions and internal norms and advises the Management accordingly. She leads and manages legal disputes/ litigations and marketing claim challenges and advises and manages IP disputes including counterfeiting and infringement. In the Competition arena, she advises on pricing and competition law-related issues.
Before joining Kimberly-Clark, Tulika worked with L'oreal India Private Limited as the Associate General Counsel. She was responsible for all legal aspects of its diverse business divisions in India and Bangladesh. Before that, she has worked with Piramal Healthcare Limited, DSK Legal, and Crawford Bayley & Co.
An alumnus of Amity Law School, Tulika has developed and imparted multiple learning programs and training sessions on Advertising Claims, Packaging & Artwork Communication, Consumer Disputes, Contract Methodology, Competition Law, etc.
Twinky Rampal is a Partner at Anand and Anand. A part of the strategic initiatives team, she specializes in providing tactical advice to build a robust structure for identification, protection, enforcement, and maximization of IP through identifying value chains. She has extensive experience in handling global trademark portfolios, advising on brand guides, providing advice on brand adoption, monetization, protection, and enforcement, drafting and negotiating various contracts, advising on various commercial transactions, advertising law, and related disputes. Her most recent assignment involved working on the IPO of a leading hospitality chain raising INR 1000 crores.
Some of her recent publications include a chapter co-authored for The International Comparative Legal Guides and an article for the International Franchise Association. She is invited to share insights on various aspects of IP. Pinky conducted an IP Technical Session at Mehr Chand Mahajan DAV College for Women, Chandigarh; was invited to ICC-IPO IPR Awareness Program for Technical Institutes at JC Bose University of Science & Technology; YMCA Faridabad, to sensitize the students on the indispensability of Intellectual Property in technology. At the World IP Forum 2018, she shared insights on 'Building up an effective IP shield for a Multinational Efficiently'.
One of her assignments includes cracking concepts of Haptic Technologies, Artificial Intelligence, 3D printing, Virtual reality, Robots, Avatars, Business models et al. At a conference on "Disruptive Innovation" attended by over 150 CEOs, she conducted a workshop along with Safir Anand on "Sensory Trademarks."
Twinky is a member of ASSOCHAM and the International Trade Mark Association. She has also served on the Trade Marks Office Practices Committees of INTA in the past.
Urvashi Sahai is the SVP & General Counsel at One97 Communications Ltd. (Paytm).
Leading the Legal and Compliance for the Group, Urvashi is involved in advising, strategizing, and supporting diverse matters. That includes investments, structuring, litigation, regulatory matters, commercial contracts, and liaisoning with Law Enforcement Agencies. Urvashi also leads the Compliance program.
Urvashi constantly deals with and strategizes around the extant and evolving regulatory regime in India. She also supports the Government Relations & Corporate Affairs team in engagements in the external ecosystem. She manages RE Legal, Litigation, Contracts, Corporate Governance / Advisory, IP portfolio, support and advise all Business Units and the Company Secretarial functions. She advises on a variety of issues ranging from daily operations to policy matters to complex matters requiring serious thought leadership.
In her career, Urvashi has navigated through complex regulatory interventions and actions in India and contentious litigation. She also coordinates international legal initiatives in the market and advises Asia and International Legal on legal and regulatory business risks and resolutions arising in India.
She has earlier worked with Wal-Mart India Pvt. Ltd., Amarchand Mangaldas and Suresh A. Shroff & Co., and Associated Law Advisers.
Urvashi has published articles on legal, economic, and social issues in leading dailies such as The Pioneer and The Economic Times and authored / co-authored articles published in international legal journals.
An alumnus of Campus Law Center, Delhi University, Urvashi is also registered as a Solicitor with the Supreme Court of England & Wales.
Valarmathi Selvaraj is currently the Associate Director - Legal at Accenture. She is largely responsible for all Employment issues relating to the entire life cycle of an employee, covering employment law disputes, drafting of policies and employment agreements, advising on employment law issues, disciplinary matters, POSH, etc.
Driven by the mantra "be open to new experiences and perspectives, turn work pressures into opportunities and maintain a healthy work-life balance," she has received multiple rewards from Accenture. Team A awards – Leadership DNA CHAMPION in 2020; COVID Response Management Project in 2020, Value Creator 2016, Individual Core Value Award in 2015, ER and ER in 2013, and Process Enhancements in 2014.
Valarmathi has experience as an Employment Law Counsel, a practicing lawyer, and an in-house counsel. Her other areas of practice of experience include civil litigation, arbitration, and consumer. She has also had an association with the lower judiciary as a part-time mediator, Lok Adalat presiding officer, and legal aid counsel. As a legal Aid Counsel, Valarmathi has helped the weaker sections of the society in the acquittal of innocent victims implicated in criminal cases.
Previously, she has worked with Kochhar & Co., Luthra & Luthra Law Offices, Pasrich & Co., Bhasin & Co. and was also practicing independently. An alumnus of Delhi University, Valarmathi holds a certification in Leadership and Change Management from XLRI Xavier School of Management.
Vandana Seth is the Head Legal at 1MG Group. She heads the legal and compliance vertical of 1MG Group. She manages the legal, compliance, secretarial, and fundraises. She is a part of the women leadership team at 1MG Group as well as for multiple entities/group companies.
Her key specialization areas include legal compliance policy/regulatory process validation and implementation IP, fundraise, acquisition telecommunication, legal process automation, POSH matters, and secretarial function.
Prior to joining 1MG, she worked with Deloitte India and Themis Group. She has comprehensive experience in all fields.
Vandana has completed her graduation, CS, and post-graduation and has post-qualification experience in managing the transactions and mergers/acquisitions streams.
Vandita Malhotra Hegde, Founding and Managing Partner, Singh&Singh | Malhotra&Hegde. An accomplished lawyer with legal advisory and corporate leadership experience, Vandita specializes in Media & Entertainment and Intellectual Property.
A well reckoned legal name in the media and entertainment industry for her strategic work and progressive advocacy in both fields of litigation and non-litigation work, Vandita has been at the forefront of advocating progressive copyright laws. She specializes in setting up robust legal systems and processes for many start-ups and business houses across industries and extensive documentation for content.
Previously, Vandita worked with Mulla & Mulla, Craigie Blunt & Caroe, Solicitors and Advocates. She has extensive in-house experience with India's leading media conglomerate Times Group where her last role was as Senior VP and Head of Legal, Entertainment Network (India) Limited (Radio Mirchi). Her most notable achievements have been successfully managing litigation for Times Group on issues of applicability of the most difficult compulsory and statutory license provisions of the Indian copyright law to radio and the internet business before the Supreme Court of India and various other Courts across India.
Vandita is a founding member of the Global IPR Protection Forum that propagates IP awareness and conducts various debates. She is the preferred choice of some of the biggest studios, internet companies, and media groups including broadcasters operating in India. She also serves on the board of a leading content producer in Bollywood.
An alumnus of Government Law College, Mumbai, Vandita has been applauded for her extensive contribution towards reducing music royalty rates for the radio and internet industry.
Varsha Jain is the Head – Legal, Nutrition at Hindustan Unilever Limited. Starting with litigation and moving on to corporate counsel roles in FMCG companies of increasing size and complexity and progressively higher levels of responsibilities, she has been part of the leadership team of Rs. 4000 Crore business vertical in HUL and is responsible for legal affairs, statutory compliances, risk and crisis management, and advising on strategic decisions.
When Unilever announced the acquisition of Horlicks and other nutrition brands of GSK in one of the largest deals in the FMCG sector in December 2018, as legal lead for integration from the GSK side Varsha supported the development of an integration framework. She worked on securing necessary regulatory approvals and completion of legal process, advised on transition and integration requirements for all aspects of the business, and collaborated with global and cross-functional teams at both companies for a successful merger and integration.
Post the merger Varsha is the legal lead for the merged business. Apart from partnering with the business for business growth, she ensured the completion of post-merger activities for the transition of all properties, contracts, licenses, and approvals and provided support to operations and people integration. She has also provided legal support for the successful launch of innovation and High Science products in GSK and supported the innovation for Emerging Markets in the OTC category.
Varsha was also instrumental in the transition of Amway into the new regime of food and nutraceutical laws.
She has worked with GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare Ltd., Amway India Enterprises Pvt. Ltd., Kohinoor Foods Ltd., H B Stockholdings Co. Ltd., India Law Offices, and Fox Mandal & Co.
Varuna Bhandari Gugnani is an Advocate & Mediator Proprietor. She is one of the first trained mediators of the Supreme Court Mediation Centre. She is a Senior Mediator in Supreme Court Mediation Centre, Punjab & Haryana High Court Mediation Centre, Delhi Dispute Resolution Society, Government of NCT Delhi, Delhi Mediation Centre, Patiala House, New Delhi and is also a Trainer with Mediation and Conciliation Project Committee, and Supreme Court Mediation Centre.
Varuna has successfully mediated more than 500 disputes between the conflicting parties in sectors such as Insurance Sector; Bank Loan Settlements; Disputes relating to Civil Rights Commercial/Business Disputes; Construction; Consumer Fraud; Contract; Employment; Entertainment; Non-profit Organizations; Partnerships; Personal injury; Intellectual Property; Landlord/Tenant Disputes; Medical and other Professional Negligence; Real Estate; Torts; Trusts; Matrimonial and other Family Disputes; and minor criminal matters where settlement is permissible under the Criminal Law. While working as Mediator at Delhi Dispute Resolution Society, Varuna settled more than 200 matters.
Varuna is a Fellow of the International Academy of Mediators, a Life Member of the Indian Council of Arbitration, and a Member of the International Centre for Alternative Dispute Resolution, and in the Governing Body of Mediators India.
She has participated in many international conferences including the Singapore International Mediation Conferences Asia Pacific International Mediation Summit organized by the American Bar Association, and the International Academy of Mediators Conferences.
An alumnus of Delhi University, Varuna also provides pro-bono services to needy and underprivileged individuals, non-profit organizations, matters referred by Courts, and Tribunals to the parties/litigants who are unable to reach the Mediation Centresdue to their financial and other compulsions.
Yashodhara Cran is the Head – Legal at Jio World Centre, Reliance Industries Limited. She is responsible for all legal compliances pre and post-opening of the Centre. Handling a team of Advocates and Solicitors in the legal department, she is directly involved in commercial negotiations and contract drafting; responsible for IP laws and compliances; policy formulation and implementation; Systems Operating Procedures; and MIS presented to the Board of Directors.
Previously, she worked with Raheja Universal (Pvt) Limited. She oversaw projects in the MMR region and Pan-India real estate projects from inception to completion. She has also worked with M/s. Kanga and Company as an Associate and was extensively involved in litigation, real estate law, and corporate law.
She has re-qualified to be a Barrister and Solicitor in Ontario after passing the Canadian LL.B. in and then the Bar exam conducted by the Law Society of Ontario. Upon being called to the Bar, she practised as an Associate with the law firm of M/s. Fernandez Davila & Associates in Ottawa, Ontario for 2 years and then as Legal Counsel for one of Canada's largest Energy Companies known as the Energy Savings Group.