“Like most Indian middle-class families, I come from a family where the thought of lawyers scared everyone and they wanted nothing to do with lawyers or courts. Little did they know that I would grow up to have other plans and would happily spend most of my days inside courtrooms.
I am a first-generation lawyer. Why I chose law is still a mystery to me, though I have always been fascinated by the profession, ever since my school days. When it came to choosing a career, I felt like this was my only calling. The other option for me was journalism, but we all know why that would not be my first preference. Much after law school, I got to know that my father had always wanted to be a lawyer but had never told me about it earlier so I don't feel any pressure of choosing it as a career.
I understand that this platform discusses struggles that we as female lawyers have faced, but to be honest, I really have no real struggle to share. I do not mean to sound privileged; I am not. I have had my share of ups and downs but that has nothing to do with my gender. I have worked very hard and have tried to do justice to my roles all along. I have been in various leadership roles in school and college and have enjoyed every bit of it. I have always tried to take up more responsibilities at work than most people of my age do, and I have tried my best to do justice to them. And needless to say, I will continue to do so because I enjoy what I do and look forward to growing every day.
But I must say, all along, I have been provided the same and sometimes better opportunities than my male colleagues or friends. I have been given the highest regard at my workplace, and have been appreciated for my work - without my gender being a consideration. I could possibly be called lucky or maybe an exception to how the industry is. But my mother likes to call it my hard work and discipline that has helped me get here in the manner that I have. I am still only starting out in this profession and there is still a long way to go. It is therefore very possible that I am yet to face the real struggles that may come my way as I grow. But that is alright, I will do what I can to overcome them because that is what life asks of you.
I have often seen female lawyers not being taken seriously enough in courtrooms and have also seen female attorneys not growing at the same pace as their male counterparts- so not for once would I question the fact that women in law face struggles, sometimes arising purely out of their gender. It is anyway a difficult profession to be in and it does take a lot from you. To add to it, if one’s gender becomes a hurdle, it can be extremely discouraging and maybe that is why a lot of women do not choose to be in it. But I am determined to rise up through any of it that comes my way. My parents raised a fighter (a cliché answer to why I possibly chose law), and I will not rest until I make them very proud of their daughter. I aspire to achieve something in life that makes me feel content- we will know what it is when we get there. Until then, I am just another happy and hardworking girl who is trying to give everyone looking out for her, a reason to cheer!”
- Khushboo Jhunjhunwala
Ms. Khushboo Jhunjhunwala is an alum of Government Law College, Mumbai, and is an Associate at Khaitan & Co., Mumbai, working with the Intellectual Property Team. She has a keen interest in Media Law, Intellectual Property Law, and Litigation.