Our Lawyer Spotlight series highlights Illinois lawyers who are demonstrating the ideals of professionalism in their daily lives.
Radhika Lohia of Forde & O’Meara LLP in Chicago has been a litigator for the entirety of her career. Her work includes complex commercial cases involving contracts, business disputes, consumer fraud actions, and insurance defense cases in both state and federal courts.
Radhika also served as the President of the Asian American Bar Association from 2018 to 2019 and as a Trustee on the Board of the South Asian Bar Association of Chicago Foundation from 2014 to 2016.
How has your practice evolved during the last few years?
As a career litigator, I have always considered possible resolutions short of going to trial, but never hesitated to litigate any matter.
During the past few years, I have learned the value of spending even more time with my clients, talking through issues (even those that don’t seem relevant to the case), and zeroing in on what exactly my client wants to achieve. Can we come to a creative resolution, or is litigation our only option?
Due to the pandemic, courts are backlogged. Now more than ever, mediation or other dispute resolution procedures should be seriously considered. It can save attorneys and clients tremendous time and money.
What’s one tech tool you couldn’t function without?
Besides my cell phone, which helps me stay organized, e-discovery tools have been immensely helpful during the pandemic. I used e-discovery prior to the pandemic but became very proficient with these tools over the past few years.
An e-discovery service makes searching for documents and coding them much easier. If you think ahead, you will never have to go through voluminous batches of discovery again because you can tag and code all documents for future motions or trials the first time you view them.
How do you manage your well-being?
I try to keep my work and personal life organized. I record everything in my calendar, sometimes putting reminders 7 or 14 days before a submission is due. This helps me keep my stress low.
As most attorneys, I struggle with setting boundaries and separating myself from work when I’m at home. I like to respond to emails immediately (if I can) and sometimes that adds to my stress.
How do you remain civil in tense situations?
I’ve never struggled with remaining civil in even the most intense situations. Reminding myself that most of us are trying to do the best for our clients or that sometimes people are having a bad day, makes remaining civil in tense situations easy.
How can attorneys advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in the legal profession?
Having someone with diverse experiences on your firm hiring panel is an easy way to engage diverse candidates. Similarly for corporations, having someone with diverse experiences who can onboard diverse outside counsel is a great way to be inclusive.
Joining a bar association program on diversity, equity, and inclusion is also a great way to educate others about what it means to adopt those principles in their own practices.
Becoming a mentor with a diversity lens is another good way to advance DEI principles in our profession.
What is an attorney’s role in furthering public confidence in the rule of law?
I strongly believe our role is to encourage an open dialogue about the rule of law. We’re in an era where information is at everyone’s fingertips. We should all use this to our benefit.
As attorneys, we should be more sensitive to listening to other views on the rule of law and having open discussion about those views.
If you could offer one piece of advice for young lawyers, what would it be?
Don’t judge a book by its cover. Listen, read, and educate yourself about issues that matter to you before you form an opinion. Be open to engaging in meaningful conversations without passing judgment.
What is the biggest challenge impacting lawyers today?
Keeping up with all the technological advances in this digital age.
What do you do for fun?
Read fictional literature and watch Sunday night football with my family.
Our Lawyer Spotlight recognizes attorneys throughout Illinois who are admired for their professionalism and civility. Check out more interviews with attorneys here.