Sonal Mehta, 31,
Weil, Gotshal & Manges
It's extraordinary that Mehta made partner by the time she was 30, but an early start she turned 21 just weeks shy of graduation from UC-Berkeley School of Law is only one of many reasons for her success. A seasoned litigator, she has experience in federal district and circuit courts and before the International Trade Commission. She represents tech industry giants in patent disputes involving a wide range of technologies. For clients Amazon.com Inc. and Yahoo Inc., she and her team recently scored a favorable jury verdict successfully challenging the validity of two high-profile patents that were alleged to cover the modern "interactive web." When she isn't persuading judges, she's presiding over patent litigation workshops for them at the Federal Judicial Center. She is also the co-vice chair of the Federal Circuit Bar Association's patent litigation committee.
Word that best describes you?
Kind of law would you least like to practice?
Family law. I have the utmost respect for those that practice in that area; I don't know if I would have the strength to be able to deal with the tough emotions that are involved and still remain objective enough to serve the client.
Most interesting place you've traveled?
I went to Istanbul last year. It was such an interesting crossroads of culture. Amazing that a city can be simultaneously so modern and so deeply tied to so much history. Also an amazing crossroads of East and West, both geographically and culturally.
Name a guilty pleasure.
I have the TV-watching habits of a 14-year-old girl.
What do you do for stress relief?
How many hours a week do you work?
Best advice you ever got?
Hard to narrow this down. But my Dad always said don't settle for being ordinary, which is something I carry with me.