Over the next several weeks, we’re spotlighting emerging leaders in Boston law to highlight the work they do, their legal careers thus far, and their connection to the larger Boston legal community. We caught up with Laredo & Smith, LLP Senior Associate, Darshana Indira, to learn more about her work as an Employment & Business Attorney and involvement with the BBA and one of our affinity bar partners, the South Asian Bar Association of Greater Boston.
Boston Bar Association: What advice would you give to new lawyers entering the profession?
Darshana Indira: Talk to other attorneys whenever you get a chance. Get involved in organizations and find mentors. You’re not alone in this profession and talking to people who can relate to your experiences or offer you any wisdom is invaluable to your professional and mental health.
BBA: What do you enjoy most about your job?
Darshana: I know it’s cliché, but helping people, without a doubt. As an employment lawyer and counselor, I often meet clients at the most stressful times of their lives. Being able to reassure them and give them some peace of mind during a time of uncertainty is so fulfilling.
BBA: Why is it important to you to be involved in the broader legal community, like the BBA and South Asian Bar Association of Greater Boston? How has this helped you in your career?
Darshana: With law and justice being at the core of our profession, we have an inherent responsibility to recognize the inequities in the judicial system and find proactive ways to address them. We are tasked with representing individuals from diverse backgrounds and, in order to properly represent our clients, we must create a system that’s accessible to the clients we serve. Participating in the BBA and SABA GB has allowed me to actively work toward that goal.
As an immigrant and a South Asian attorney, I once felt like there were few lawyers that I could look up to that looked like me. The thought of becoming a successful lawyer in this prestigious legal community seemed like a daunting and almost impossible task. Participating in these organizations and connecting with diverse members of our bar was my first step toward feeling like a real part of this community. My involvement with bar organizations began as a member first, attending educational and mentorship programs. Currently, as the co-President of SABA and a BBA committee-member, I’m hoping to utilize my own experiences in order to grow these organizations while also making the judicial system more accessible to our members.
BBA: What have been the biggest challenges you’ve faced in the legal profession. What did you do to overcome them?
Darshana: Long-standing biases in the legal profession have undoubtedly contributed to my experiencing imposter syndrome. As a five-foot-tall South Asian woman, I have not always been taken seriously. For example, at times, when attending meetings with my male colleagues, assumptions were made that I was a legal assistant, present in the room merely to take notes. Having a more senior colleague step up and introduce me as an attorney and ensure that I played an active role in those meetings not only helped to establish my right to be in the room, but reminded me that I belong.
I wish I could say that I have completely overcome these struggles, but I have certainly made strides. My involvement in bar organizations has been extremely helpful, because it has allowed me to meet other women who have experienced similar situations. Discussing these issues openly and honestly has made me more confident in speaking up and has helped me figure out how to navigate situations that are unique to us.
BBA: When a client comes to Boston and they aren’t familiar with the city, where do you like to take them?
Darshana: Critical to this answer is knowing whether the client likes seafood. If yes, I would first take the client to James Hook or Barking Crab, before heading to the North End to grab desserts at Bova’s.