As you wend your way to Nicco House amid the mundane buzz of the Dalhousie office para to meet an advocate, you probably conjure up the image of some austere women you remember from the court scenes of Bollywood potboilers. So, you’re probably not prepared for Radhika Singh. Effervescent, articulate and friendly, Singh breaks all the stereotypes you associate with stern lawyers. The 35-year-old Symbiosis Society’s Law College graduate deals mainly in real-estate law and runs a firm of legal practitioners — Radhika Singh and Company. Singh started practising law way back in 1998, and decided to go independent in 2006.
“It’s important to learn the tricks of the trade under a senior before you decide to go on your own,” says Singh. “The best thing about going independent is, of course, calling the shots. And then doing things you want to do,” laughs Singh. Another good part of her work as the head of her firm is also sharing her experiences with her juniors. “When I see them fumble and trip, I am reminded of my days as a rookie. And it’s great helping them back to their feet and sharing my experiences with them,” says Singh with a smile.
An avid literature fan, becoming a lawyer was not Singh’s first career option. “I did my graduation in English literature before I went on to study law,” recollects Singh. In fact, she used to be an integral part of her school debates, quizzes etc.
“It was only later when friends pointed out that I was so logically argumentative that I could actually make a good lawyer,” says Singh. And that’s how her rise in the legal profession started.
Singh, who specialises in real estate and corporate laws, has handled the legal part of the development of a comprehensive township and several large residential and commercial complexes in and around Kolkata.
There were the initial hiccups in going independent. “When you are the boss, it’s your duty to keep a tab on every little detail of your office,” says Singh. So, even though she has a secretary, the going gets tough at times. “It’s like, if your fan is out of order, it’s your duty to get things fixed. No one’s going to do it for you until you give the go-ahead,” she says.
So, as an employee, the luxury one has of not taking work back home is something she misses the most as a boss. “There are times you hope things are a little more organised in Kolkata courts. But then, I’m now used to it,” says Singh.
While late nights and poring over official papers have become part of Singh’s life since she started her own firm, there are times when she does manage to do things she loves the most. “Like reading. I love John Grisham and I like legal fiction,” she says. But she does miss dancing at times. “I am a trained Manipuri dancer but it has all gone for a toss now,” says Singh.
But then, she’s not complaining. “Initially, there used to be apprehension about letting women handle important corporate and legal matters. It’s changed for good now,” she says. So, with a loyal client base to understanding, bright colleagues, Singh is all set to climb more rungs of the ladder to success.
“While the responsibility is mammoth, the challenges too are great. There’s hardly anything that can be more satisfying,” says the gold medalist in law from Pune University.