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How Life, Liberty And The Pursuit Of Happiness Became The Indian Corporate Lawyer’s New Mantra

A toxic cocktail of favouritism by partners, poor work-life balance, inadequate compensation, mental health issues, burgeoning ambitions and the lure of leadership roles have led to a massive churn in the legal profession. Here’s the lowdown.

October 12, 2022 / 09:09 PM IST

"I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become,” says Chris Gardner (a role essayed by Will Smith) in the 2006 inspirational Hollywood hit ‘The Pursuit of Happyness’.

Sixteen years later, it would not be a stretch to say that many Indian corporate lawyers have undergone the Chris Gardner metamorphosis after the Covid-19 pandemic set in.

That metamorphosis has led to them joining rival firms (sometimes in hordes), taking up in-house roles at corporates, setting up their own outfits, and in some cases, quitting the profession altogether.

A toxic cocktail of favouritism by partners, poor work-life balance, lack of adequate compensation, mental health issues, questionable promotions, and no say in decisions impacting the work environment have left legal eagles in corporate law firms a jaded lot. These factors emerged as key sore points in the Best Law Firms To Work Report – 2022 by legal recruiting and consulting firm Vahura.