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Breaking the Ice: Supporting diverse attorneys through board posts

Todd Nelson//September 21, 2023//

Navita T. Lakhram

Navita T. Lakhram

Breaking the Ice: Supporting diverse attorneys through board posts

Todd Nelson//September 21, 2023//

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Fredrikson associate Navita T. Lakhram is working to support diverse attorneys and community organizations through service as a board member of Twin Cities Diversity in Practice (TCDIP) and an affiliated organization.

Lakhram joined TCDIP as a law student and, in addition to her appointment to its board of directors, continues to co-chair its Emerging Leaders Group. TCDIP, an association of more than 50 law firms and corporate legal departments, aims to attract, recruit, advance and retain attorneys of color in the Twin Cities.

“I’m focused on giving back and making sure that attorneys have the same or even better options than I did,” Lakhram said. “I want to make sure that my peers and colleagues are doing well, staying in this market and feeling fulfilled in their career.”

Lakhram also received appointment to the board of Wanton Injustice Legal Detail, a platform for TCDIP lawyers and members to combat racism through efforts with community organizations.

Name: Navita T. Lakhram

Title: Associate, Fredrikson

Education: B.A., sociology, University of Minnesota; J.D., Mitchell Hamline School of Law

Q: Best way to start a conversation with you?

A: Ask me anything about traveling. Ask me anything about “Harry Potter.”

Q: Why law school?

A: I graduated with a sociology degree. While getting that degree, I worked with a clinic in St. Paul, where we essentially prepped immigrants for permanent residency applications and citizenship interviews. I thought I might go to law school and become an immigration attorney. It did not work out that way. I’m in corporate transactional work and love it, but still try to take on pro bono cases. My middle name is Teixeira, after Gail Teixeira, a politician in the country that my family’s from, Guyana, South America. My parents spoke about her — you speak like her, you speak just as much as her, maybe you want to be a politician. It wasn’t my calling but the idea of someone in government making a change spoke to me and law school was my playground to be able to do that.

Q: What are you reading?

A: I just finished “How to Be a Bawse” by Lilly Singh, an Indian comedian. She brings a comedic element to building women empowerment.

Q: Pet peeve?

A: When I was in law school, we still took notes on paper. It really irked me when you ripped pages out of notebooks and the fringes were still on there. I will take off every bit until it’s a nice clean piece of paper.

Q: Best part of your work?

A: Meeting people from all walks of life, both my co-workers and clients. The best part of what we do is speaking to people, learning about their experiences and delivering services that are meaningful and helpful to them.

Q: Most challenging?

A: The hours. We want to make sure we’re being efficient and that can create an environment where it’s a lot of hours and a lot of stress and it’s very fast paced. But that’s why I also enjoy my job because things move quickly.

Q: Favorite activity away from work?

A: My husband and I have the travel bug. Half my family lives in Canada, so any time I can have in Canada, I will take that opportunity.

Q: Where would you take someone visiting your hometown?

A: In Guyana, where I grew up, we’d go to Kaieteur Falls, which, I’m told, is the tallest single-drop waterfall in South America, maybe the world. In Minnesota, we enjoy going up to Grand Marais and the drive up the lake.

Q: Legal figure you admire?

A: Justice Ginsburg. She had this drive, this compassion that I want to emulate.

Q: Misconception that others have about your work?

A: With M&A attorneys, TV sort of sensationalizes what we do and it’s not necessarily our reality.

Q: Favorite book, movie or TV show about lawyers?

A: “The Lincoln Lawyer.” I don’t practice in criminal law and certainly not criminal defense, so it’s interesting to see how an attorney on TV manages his practice.

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