Sukhi Kaler is a partner in international law firm Fasken Martineau, specialising in litigation and dispute resolution. She is married, lives in London and has three daughters aged 16, 14 and 11.
TELL ME ABOUT YOUR ROLE
I have just emerged from a [15-year] case that was the longest-running litigation ever in the Commercial Court, worth over $1.2 billion (£750m). We’re a small team and most of my career has been spent on it. It was full-on and meant long hours away from my family.
WHAT MOTIVATES YOU TO WORK SO HARD?
My mum had five children, worked full-time and always had a home-cooked meal on the table: that’s a tough act to follow. The Asian work ethic is too ingrained to stay at home and staying at home isn’t an easy option either – after every period of maternity leave I’ve been desperate to get back to work. As much as I feel guilty for working, I know I would feel equally guilty if I didn’t work.
My older sister also drummed into me the importance of financial independence – she was stuck in a difficult marriage for far too long and told me never to rely on your husband’s income.
WHEN DID YOU QUESTION YOUR DECISIONS?
Missing out on key events – like their first steps – was heart-breaking. Breakfast meetings were also tricky because that meant not seeing the girls at all on those days.
I once dropped my eldest at school at the age of five despite suspecting she had broken her finger. Her teacher suggested that she should be in A&E, which was a wake-up call, as well as very embarrassing. We did go to A&E and I missed my meeting and the sky didn’t fall down around me as a result. I learnt from that.
This article originally appeared on Management Today.co.uk. Read More…