Economic Insider

How Sunil Choitram Brings Humanity To Law

How Sunil Choitram Brings Humanity To Law
Photo Courtesy: Sunil Choitram

By:  Joshua Finley

Too often, in law, intellect and assertion take center stage, leaving humanity and connection in the shadows. Seasoned lawyer Sunil Choitram champions the importance of understanding humanity and fostering genuine connections in law, both to achieve a client’s goals and for personal development and fulfillment. He speaks about the significance of looking beyond black-and-white letter law to recognize the nuanced complexities that humanity brings to the table. 

Sunil’s tenure at Clifford Chance saw him emerge as a project finance lawyer, spearheading multi-billion dollar global developments, including oil and gas plants, airports, industrial complexes, etc. However, his transition to a senior in-house role indeed allowed Sunil to spread his wings. Working with a conglomerate that boasted interests in oil and gas, healthcare, aviation, and beyond, Sunil became the head of the finance legal department, immersed in a world of diverse challenges and opportunities. 

Understanding Humanity

At the heart of Sunil’s approach lies a profound understanding of humanity. In an industry often characterized by bravado, Sunil advocates for authenticity and genuine connection. “You get further in life with a handshake and a smile,” he says. “As a lawyer, there is a sense of wanting to dominate and take charge as people expect that of you – it fits the stereotype. While that certainly has its place, having the ability to be yourself, be authentic, and relate at a human level can be so much more fruitful for all concerned. Negotiating a deal becomes constructive and can lead to win-win outcomes in an environment that leads to longer term positive relationship benefits. Arguing tooth and nail for every point and trying to get the biggest slice of the pie for your client might be a pyrrhic victory as the relationship with a long-term counterparty will likely be compromised. If you find yourself on the back foot at some point in the future, having an ally rather than an opponent will always be beneficial.”

Balancing Work and Well-being

Sunil’s philosophy extends beyond professional success to encompass personal fulfillment. He emphasizes the importance of maintaining a sense of connection to one’s work while recognizing and respecting personal limitations. “Working non-stop until all hours for months on end can certainly build resilience,” he reflects, “but it is counterproductive in the long term as you are no good to anyone if you burn out. Learning to draw healthy boundaries is absolutely essential and better both for you and your client. Modern work practices mean being able to be connected from anywhere at any time so use that to your advantage and work to a schedule that suits you; don’t allow it to turn into ‘living at work’ for the sake of virtue signaling.”

Embracing Versatility

Sunil’s career trajectory embodies a departure from conventional norms, eschewing narrow specialization in favor of a broad-ranging practice. He positions himself as a versatile practitioner capable of navigating diverse legal terrain. Reflecting on his journey, Sunil emphasizes the need for adaptability and teamwork. “You can throw literally any problem at me or one of my colleagues,” he notes, “and while we may not initially know the answer, we can certainly find it out.” He adds that being resourceful is about being able to draw on the abilities of everyone in your network, underscoring the significance of collaboration and connection in legal practice.

Prioritizing Humanity in Law

Sunil Choitram offers a refreshing perspective on law that is rooted in humanity, resilience, and the power of genuine connection. As he continues to chart new territories and inspire others in the legal realm, his views and ideas inspire and spur others to pursue similar values.

Learn more about Sunil Choitram and connect with him via LinkedIn.

Published by: Nelly Chavez

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