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Society of Women Lawyers (SOWL) to launch and level playing field


An association of Indian women advocates, the Society of Women Lawyers (SOWL), will launch on 26 February in Delhi after two years of its conceptualisation aiming to further cause of women in the profession and in India.

SOWL was registered in May of last year with the governing council consisting PSA (Priti Suri Associates) founding partner Priti Suri as president, independent practitioners Richa Naujoks and Manju Oberoi as general and treasurer respectively along with four members including senior advocate Chander Mani Chopra, JSA partner Shivpriya Nanda, Barucha & Partner’s new Delhi head Kumkum Sen and Hyderabad-based J R Vakil & Associates’ partner Shireen Sethna Baria.

Advocates Pooja Yadava, L Maithili, Rinchen O Bhutia and Naina Krishna Murthy have also been the founding members of SOWL.

One of the society’s objective is to support women in the profession by providing them a platform to interact on the issues of personal and professional development.

According to its charter, SOWL aims to “connect members for mutual advancement of their professional relationships and referrals. Promote and assist women to obtain positions of influence and leadership within their workplace, the legal profession, the judiciary, and the community. Promote gender-sensitivity in the laws and administration of justice and lobby for improvements in the laws affecting women”.

The idea to start SOWL dates back to February 2009 during a conference in Delhi organised by the Women Business Lawyers Committee of the IPBA where the need was felt for an interactive forum for women advocates.

SOWL’s web site states: “Ironically, whereas Indian women lawyers have several fora to network with their international colleagues, such as the women’s bar or working groups within the IBA, IPBA, ABA, etc., there are few platforms where they can meet other women lawyers within India.

“This was highlighted by the first ever women lawyers conference organized in February 2009 in New Delhi by the initiative of the chair and vice-chair of the Women Business Lawyers Committee of the IPBA. Supported by several lawyers and law firms alike, the theme of the conference centered around three main topics: Increasing and Exercising Influence, Building and Strengthening Client Relationships and Achieving and Maintaining Balance. Attended by about 100 women lawyers, and few men as well, the attendees recognized the need for creating a platform for women lawyers to come together.”

SOWL’s launch will take place in the India Habitat Centre in New Delhi and its membership is open for individuals as well as law firms with varied fee structures and annual subscription charges.

SOWL's lauch programme includes a keynote address by Delhi High Court justice Hima Kohli and an discussion on the paper on "Women and 63 years of Indian Economy".

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