We had the good fortune of connecting with Shivani Honwad and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Shivani, is your business focused on helping the community? If so, how?
I started my law firm five and a half years ago with the goal of having more of a social impact, which I felt was lacking in most traditional pathways for attorneys. I strive to take on cases and work on matters that would have a deeply meaningful impact on the lives of my clients and that would allow me to use my skills for those who are underserved or may not have easy access to legal help.
As a first generation Indian American who represents clients from all over the world, I know the importance of having the right support and opportunity to achieve success, particularly for immigrants and entrepreneurs. In addition to assisting clients on their immigration and business legal matters, I dedicate my time to working on issues that I deeply care about. I advocate to end human trafficking and other human rights issues specifically related to women and children. In line with my advocacy work, I believe wholeheartedly that education is empowerment and I truly get joy from sharing my knowledge about the law and how our legal systems work.
When my clients hire me, I have two main objectives: 1) I impart my legal knowledge and provide the best possible legal counsel that I am able to offer and 2) I help my clients understand the legal process. Whether it’s a clause in a contract or the commercial implication of a decision, I want my clients to feel well-informed and empowered by the law, not intimidated by it. For example, I recently assisted a client with a contract which not only required my legal drafting skills, but also allowed me to teach my client the key provisions she would need to understand in every contract she signed for the rest of her life. Knowing that I was providing her with a life-long skill-set that would empower her as she grew her business gave me a perfect mixture of happiness and fulfillment in my work.
More recently, I have aimed to closely ally myself with those working to peacefully protest and find solutions to some of the issues plaguing our communities. I have been trying my best to share my understanding of the legal system, to donate, and to amplify the messages of grassroots organizers to help create systemic change. Having clerked for the Chief Judge of the Family Court of Delaware where we handled juvenile justice matters in addition to family law, as well as having worked at the Manhattan District Attorney’s office, and as a criminal defense attorney in NYC, I have seen all sides of the criminal justice system and am well aware of the shortcomings. With so many individuals, organizations and companies striving to make a difference in this moment, I am hopeful that we can all use our collective strength to bring about long-lasting and constructive change. As a lawyer, an American citizen, and as a human being I believe my work in empowering and enlightening my clients and supporting fellow community members is paramount. This is not only my passion, but my biggest contribution to having a meaningful social impact in my community and the world.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Since I run my own law firm, I have the prerogative to select who I work with in terms of my clients. I do not take on every matter which is referred to me. I think it’s important to have a connection built on mutual respect, so I will only take on clients where I feel this type of relationship is possible. Everyone is dealing with something, especially when they are contacting an attorney for help. Showing up with kindness and empathy is really important to me in my work and what I think sets me apart from my colleagues. My business has been built via networking and referrals and a shoestring marketing budget. This model has created more personal connections with my clients and led to more fulfilling working relationships overall.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There are so many people that I am grateful to have crossed paths with on this journey. I want to shoutout the work of Diana Mao and the Nomi Network for their incredible work supporting survivors of human trafficking. It inspires me to work harder for justice and to use the American legal system to protect and serve all those that come into contact with it.
Website: www.shivanilaw.com and www.shivanihonwad.com
Instagram: @shivanilaw and @shivani.honwad