Kalpana Kotagal, a partner with Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll.

What’s the best lesson you learned practicing law?

I’ve been fortunate to learn the practice of law from Joe Sellers, Christine Webber and others at Cohen Milstein, who demonstrate daily that practicing law is no different than the rest of life—integrity is paramount. Go to work every day with your clients front of mind.

What’s the biggest challenge women lawyers face and how have you surmounted that challenge?

Ruth Bader Ginsburg reflected recently on the significant challenge lawyers who are parents face, juggling work and family. She’s right. While women have been disproportionately affected, to fix the problem we must see that all lawyers are impacted. My goal—I haven’t accomplished it yet—is to be honest about what it takes to do this work and be engaged in my family life, and create the space for others to find their own paths.

How would your peers describe your impact on the profession?

I hope my peers would describe my impact in how I have sought to bring the values that animate my work as a litigator on behalf of my firm’s clients—a commitment to fairness and equality of opportunity—to bear on our profession, by working within my own firm and throughout the bar, challenging us to confront our own shortcomings and seeking out creative ways for us to do better.