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Heels of Justice

Jun 20, 2019

Welcome to Heels of Justice; these are the stories of women lawyers who are trailblazers in their field and paved the way for the rest of us.

Today, the Heels of Justice interview co-host Sarita Venkat. Sarita is a lawyer, Board member and diversity advocate. She has held various in-house roles heading up technology transactions at ServiceNow, litigating at Apple Inc. and at Abbott Laboratories. She is a registered patent attorney, has a B.S. in Biology and a minor in Psychology.

She is the co-creator and co-host of Heels Of Justice as well as one of the leaders of ChIPs, and serves as a Board member for the South Asian Bar Association and World Arts West. She has been named one of Recorder's Women Leaders in Tech Law, a Corporate IP Star by Managing IP and has been presented with the Corporate Counsel award by the South Asian Bar Association. She is admitted to practice in Illinois, California, and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.


Key Takeaways

[1:16] Katherine welcomes her co-host, Sarita Venkat to her own podcast, and launches the interview at the very beginning: where did Sarita grow up? From a rickshaw in the Ashram to riding her first escalator!

[5:52] Sarita talks about the journey that took her from integrating a new culture during her formative years to becoming a lawyer. Constitution day and becoming a U.S. Citizen was a key moment in sparking her interest in law.

[9:00] Katherine asks Sarita to unpack her highschool experience, when she began building her confidence back up from the low point it had hit during her first experience as a minority.

[11:02] From law firms to in house work at various multinational companies, Sarita shares the two key things she has found that great lawyers have in common.

[16:01] Sarita’s work ethic evolved through working with great attorneys worldwide and integrating their best practices into the way she works, bettering how she understands what the clients need from her as a lawyer.

[20:52] Sarita remembers the first time she remembers feeling like a minority and a woman in her journey in the Law and some of the eye opening moments that followed.

[24:11] Why did Sarita want to launch this podcast? She recounts when she looked for a podcast on the great people in law and the first 30 interviewees were men despite her being around great women lawyers all the time!

[26:14] Sarita answers the question everyone is asked on the podcast: how does she advocate for herself? It turns out asking that very question to so many great women through the podcast has encouraged Sarita to dig deeper. She shares a very emotional answer.

[26:36] One thing people don’t know about this interview is that it’s Katherine’s 3rd attempt at interviewing Sarita!

[29:50] What would Sarita tell her 11 year old self? She shares how her dad showed her the importance of relationships.

[32:16] Katherine thanks Sarita Venkat for sharing so much of her stories and expertise on the Heels of Justice podcast and she signs off until next time.


That’s it for this episode of Heels of Justice; if you like the stories we’re telling, please visit our website. You can join our mailing list, learn more about our guests, and see what we have planned for the future.

You can also follow us on Twitter, on Instagram, and on Facebook.

Disclaimer: The opinions you have heard are ours or our guest’s alone. They’re not the opinions of our employers, or our clients, or our bosses, and not our husbands, kids or pets, or anyone else’s.


More about the Heels of Justice hosts Sarita Venkat, and Katherine Minarik

Heels of Justice on the Web

Heels of Justice on Twitter

Heels of Justice on Instagram

Heels of Justice on Facebook


Sarita Venkat on LinkedIn

Katherine Minarik on LinkedIn

Katherine Minarik on Twitter

Katherine Minarik at cleverbridge


Personal stories

“I remember defending a really, really famous music producer, I was so excited and I had been waiting for his deposition for 2 months. I was sitting there with the counsel on our side, and on the other side and after a really short deposition he stands up and says “Y'all have boring jobs!” And I was so crushed because it was like the most exciting thing that had happened in my whole career at the time! But the thing is that usually people — like eventually he did! — will go from that perception to giving me a hug next time they see me or chit chatting or sharing their personal lives with me, because I don’t ever want to be that lawyer that walks in and is greeted with a groan: I work at not being that lawyer.”

“9/11 happened when I was in Law School and I remember the shock, like everyone else. But the next morning I woke up and my dad had put all these american flag stickers all over our cars because he was really afraid for our family that being brown in our college town may cause some backlash. Nothing happened, but it was another jolt to me that not everything is rose colored glasses, and what is being perceived about you is something that you have to understand and keep in mind.”

“I went to the place I grew up in, and one of my older cousins who played a big part in raising me, she looked over at me at one moment and she said “To go from here, to the place that you are right now it’s mind boggling to me!” So looking back at my journey sometimes, and figuring out how far I’ve come plays a big part in how I advocate for myself, and it’s not about advocating to someone else: it’s about owning and living up to my own story so that I can bring my best self and understand the value that I am bringing to the table from a legal, mental and emotional perspective.”