Priti Shetty, General Counsel, ICICI Bank UK
How long have you been working for your current company?
I have been with ICICI for the past eight years.
Briefly explain your career history and what led you to your current position.
Law was initially not my first option. I was an Honours degree holder in political science and all set to do a further degree in international relations at the LSE. However, purely on a whim, I had applied for law school and was as surprised as my family when I passed the entrance interviews. I subsequently did a Masters degree in law with a specialization in criminal and environmental law. I interned with the Advocate General’s office in South India for a brief time before moving into private practice and then in-house with ICICI.
What is your proudest professional achievement and why?
There are far too many to single a particular one out. To be the first in-house general counsel at the Bank’s UK subsidiary has given me opportunities to be involved in and advise on structured finance, corporate finance, restructuring, treasury, e-commerce and the retail business of ICICI Bank and also advise on the strategic initiatives of the Bank including its joint ventures, mergers and acquisitions, and new business initiatives. These have brought with it challenges so numerous, which when overcome have brought moments of immense pride and joy and also a sense of gratitude for working with immensely supportive teams both internally and externally.
What are the greatest challenges that you face in your current role and what do you do to overcome them?
Demonstrating the value of external counsel to business teams and achieving cost reductions whilst maintaining the quality of legal services.
How difficult is it for you personally to attain work-life balance and how do you endeavour to do this?
It is difficult but not impossible to achieve. Taking short breaks from work and not carrying work home on the weekends helps.
Did you have a mentor or role model in your career or while you were studying law? Who were they and how did they help you?
I have been fortunate to have a number of friends who have inspired and mentored me over the course of my career. Each in their own way has inspired me to excel and instilled me in a strong work ethic and responsibility towards the organization and support for the people I work with.
How effective do you think corporate diversity initiatives are? What methods do you think are most effective and why?
I think if they are meaningful and sustained, then they can be very effective and should be encouraged.
Were there any points in your career when you felt you were at a disadvantage or at an advantage because you were female?
I have never felt this and especially never at ICICI. However I may well be the exception and not the rule!
What do you think have been the most significant changes for women in the legal industry over the past five years?
A greater recognition of the contribution that women make to the legal services as is reflected in the number of senior women in leadership positions.