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Sharmila Jaipersaud

Sharmila Jaipersaud, a partner in the health care and corporate and business law practice groups at Schenck, Price, Smith & King in Florham Park, ascended quickly to counsel, and then to partner, at the firm—making each elevation in two years’ time. She currently serves as South Asian Bar Association of New Jersey president, and is co-diversity officer of the New Jersey Women Lawyers Association. She was on Gov. Phil Murphy’s transition team, advising on diversity and inclusion.

What’s your single best piece of advice for handling a crisis?

Stay calm. Once you learn about what is wrong, if time allows, take a walk, get some fresh air and then think about the best way to address the issues. Have a plan and seek advice of trusted mentors when needed.

Name a mentor or someone you admire, and why.

It is very difficult to name just one person. I greatly admire so many women in this profession that are successfully juggling a busy practice, raising children, taking care of extended family, and so many other things that come along with it. These women then go even further by making themselves accessible to other women in the profession for moments in transition, difficult times or advice for professional decisions.

Best advice you ever got…

We are lawyers, not magicians.

What has the #MeToo movement meant to the legal profession?

As with many other professions, the #MeToo movement has given women in the legal profession an opportunity to openly discuss the challenges that we have faced in our journey, but mostly just with other women. So many women in this profession have faced harassment solely because we are female. It is still a challenge to have women come forward and be publicly vocal about the indecencies they face.

In 50 words or less, what does the legal profession need to do to improve opportunities for women lawyers?

Women need to be promoted to positions of power. This means adding women to management, promoting them to equity ownership, having flexible hours, and examining the current structure to ensure that the firm or company is doing the most it can for retention, inclusion, and promotion of commendable women lawyers.

David Gialanella

David Gialanella, Bureau Chief, has been with the New Jersey Law Journal since 2010, covering business of law, litigation, legislation and various other topics. In his current role, he is responsible for the Law Journal's print and web products. Reach him at dgialanella@alm.com.

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