Self-confessed city and chocolate lover, Nikita Lalla is dynamic and purpose driven with every well-heeled step she takes. As CEO of LNP Attorneys Inc, which she co-founded, Nikita and her team are specialists in construction, Health and Safety, environment and mining and well known for the cradle to grave expertise in massive infrastructure, energy and natural resources projects.
Construction, infrastructure, energy and mining. These are massive, “hard core” industries. What lead you to become an expert in these fields specifically?
It was entirely fortuitous – and I am grateful every day. I worked for someone with whom I had a great connection and that was how it started. Not every lawyer is so lucky.
Congratulations on co-founding a specialist law firm who have recently been shortlisted for seven awards by the African Legal Awards, which include African Law firm of the year (small firm), Specialist Law firm of the year and for you, attorney of the year. What has it meant for you to co-found the firm and what do you believe sets you apart?
It’s been the most rewarding, amazing experience. The feedback from clients and colleagues has made it even more special. Being specialists in the areas we practice in, each and every lawyer in the firm is able to nimbly and practically provide advice because of their in-depth knowledge.
It also doesn’t hurt that we are (to our knowledge) the only law firm offering fixed fees on disputes!
This took a lot of background work and honestly, a massive leap of faith, but it has worked out and we have had a great response from the market.
Being a stylish, modern woman, you have proven the antiquated notion wrong that femininity has to be sacrificed to be successful in the combination of two tough worlds: litigation and construction. It must, however, be an uphill battle sometimes. Do you have any pointers in how to achieve and maintain the balance?
It was and continues to be. If I am frank, which I always am, I don’t get this right all the time. I would say find a sense of security in yourself, your strengths and your abilities.
Key to that, however, is not buying into the generalisation of what constitutes ‘strengths’ and ‘weaknesses’ in females. Effectively, whoever and however you choose to be as a woman in corporate South Africa, if it feels right to you, is the balance.
You have broken all sorts of barriers, in the construction as well as legal industries. What advice do you have for young women who are at the brink of commencing their careers or who are contemplating career choices?
Stay strong, stay brave, stay sane! It’s a tough world in corporate South Africa.
Choose your mentors well and your sponsors even more carefully. Work as if the barriers don’t exist and if confronted with them, be honest and open about their impact. And, finally, if having tried everything, if you aren’t happy, then don’t stay because conventional logic dictates so.
What are your top 3 golden inspirational nuggets on how you managed to achieve the success you have thus far and how to maintain the momentum.
Work hard and when that’s done, work harder.
Don’t ever give in or give up on what you want.
Be kind to yourself.
Copyright © 2018 by Natalie du Preez.
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