Back in May this year, Lawyer Monthly awarded and showcased hundreds of top professionals from the legal world, in its Women in Law Awards 2016. To follow up on the impact of the award, and gain a little more insight from our winners, this month we caught up with Karishma Vora, an outstanding barrister at 4-5 Gray’s Inn Square, and Winner of the ‘Rising Star of the Year’ Women in Law 2016 award.
Please tell us about yourself and your key achievements.
I am a barrister specialising in commercial litigation and arbitration. I am one of a handful of barristers dual qualified in India and England, with just three of us who practice in both countries. This niche is my biggest achievement. I practised litigation in India for six years before relocating to London seven years ago.
I came to London to serve the vast number of disputes for or against Indian clients, in which English courts have jurisdiction or where London was the seat of arbitration. Whilst I have worked a lot for clients of Indian origin in the UK as well as in India, I also work for clients who have invested in India.
I am now at a set of chambers called 4-5 Grays Inn Square in London that is well known for commercial law amongst other areas of practice.
I am an alumna of the London School of Economics, where I have taught commercial law, and am presently elected to the Gray’s Inn Barristers Committee for a three year term.
Could you tell LM briefly about your win and what your initial response was?
I was thrilled to receive the ‘Rising Star Award’ conferred by Lawyer Monthly: Women In Law Awards 2016. It felt great to receive acknowledgement and recognition for my achievements to date from within the legal field.
The award was well received and much appreciated. A bencher of Gray’s Inn congratulated me when the results were announced. She jested, however, that the challenge about being a rising star is that one must ‘arrive’ thereafter, and I am conscious of living up to the expectation.
What do you feel is your strongest quality, and that which attracts success?
I have been exposed to many cultures, which has given me level headedness that makes me resilient and approachable. I am conscientious and determined for everything I want in life for myself and for my clients. This, combined with the fact that I work hard, attracts success.
Clarity from the onset, not using confusing legal jargon, being abreast of commercial realities and being able to relate this directly to what is important to my clients, has been identified as a strength.
What legal work have you been involved with since?
My legal workload ranges from interim injunctions to cross border trials. My area of specialisation is business disputes such as shareholder disputes, directors duties, breach of general commercial contracts (such as franchise agreements, agreements for the sale of goods), loan defaults, guarantees, mis-sold swaps etc. I am increasingly being asked to advice on the impact of Brexit.
The value of claims has ranged from low value claims to claims worth $79 million, with instructions received from solicitors in both England and India.
I have also accepted instructions directly from lay clients under the ‘Public Access Scheme’ or under the ‘Right to Conduct Litigation’. This makes it easier for companies or individuals to access high quality legal services at comparatively inexpensive prices.
What are your goals moving forward with your practice and professional pursuit?
I want to transfer my international expertise to domestic English disputes. Over the 10 years I have practised as a lawyer, I have been instructed in cases before Tribunals, County Courts and the High Court, and I want my legal experience to hold greater value than my cultural background.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Winning the award has drawn praise from colleagues. The appreciation that I have received denotes people in England are now watching what I do, which is a tremendous responsibility to have.