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Meet Shivani Honwad

Today we’d like to introduce you to Shivani Honwad.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
Growing up as a first-generation American of Indian descent, I had it ingrained in me from a very young age that I should be a doctor. Until about my senior year of high school, I was set on becoming an orthopedic surgeon.

Then one day, after volunteering in the orthopedic ward of the local hospital for years, I realized that in medicine sometimes there’s only so much you can do to help a person, and there’s a degree of pain they may have to live with. That really bothered me because I was always a perfectionist and wanted to help everyone and fix their problems.

Not knowing what to do with my life at that point, my father convinced me to go to business school to learn some practical skills while I figured out what career path was right for me. My parents not so secretly held out hope that I’d still find my way back to the medical field. Thanks to a nice scholarship, I attended the Stern School of Business at New York University.

Coming from a small town in Pennsylvania, I learned a lot about life those first few weeks in New York City and Stern provided me with an incredible education. Most importantly, I learned that the world is massive and you have the power to reinvent yourself and become whoever you want to be if you are willing to put in the work.

I spent the Summer between my freshmen and sophomore years of college interning in Bollywood in Mumbai, India, where I witnessed first-hand the massive destruction of property and extreme devastation caused by the July 26, 2005 monsoon floods. That story is best told in person, but suffice it to say that my naive 19-year-old self was yanked from the protective bubble where I lived for most of my life and determined to “fix” the human rights injustices I saw that day. This event is what led me to pursue a career in law.

During law school, I was fortunate to experience a variety of different legal fields via internships and related programs. It was during my clinical program that I developed a fascination for the intersection of human rights and immigration law. Upon graduation from law school, I clerked for the Chief Judge of the Family Court of Delaware and then worked in public and private sectors in New York City before starting my own law firm in 2014.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
There were definitely a lot of bumps in the road but figuring out how to navigate those bumps is what turns you into a successful entrepreneur and a better human being. Two of the things I struggled with at the beginning (and full confession sometimes still struggle with today…work in progress!) were time management and staying true to myself. When you start your own business, you wear all of the hats all of the time with a to-do list that seems to get longer no matter how many things you cross off of it each day.

As an attorney, it is challenging to constantly shift focus from writing a brief to a phone call on a different topic to admin tasks. This is why time management is key. For me, block scheduling is what worked best. Two days a week are for calls/meetings, two and half days for researching and drafting casework, and half a day for administrative catch up. Of course, there is overlap as needed to accommodate deadlines, but this method helped me in not feeling overwhelmed and pulled in too many directions at once.

The other prominent struggle when I first started my firm was second guessing myself. A lot of people had their own advice and criticisms of what I “should” be doing. I tried to follow all of their advice since it often came from people I respected in my life. However, I realized that trying to do what everyone else told me to do made me really unhappy. I had to learn to embrace the unique value I brought to the table and follow what I felt was right for me, despite what the people around me said I should be doing. For example, my website isn’t a traditional law firm website. Many of my colleagues criticized it. However, most of my clients loved it. I realized that it’s more important for my clients to love my website than my colleagues since the clients are the ones who are going to hire me! This shift in my mentality and focus has led me to not only pursue the work I want to do but also to attract the clients that are the right fit for me.

Now, as I’ve built a niche for myself, I have the luxury of selecting who I work with, and I can say that I truly enjoy helping my clients build their businesses and turn their dreams into reality.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with The Law Firm of Shivani Honwad LLC – tell our readers more, for example, what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
My firm focuses primarily on immigration and business law for companies in the fashion, tech, wellness, and entertainment realms. We assist individuals seeking to live, work, or study in the United States and businesses seeking to establish a presence in the US or bring over foreign workers. We primarily handle artist and entertainer visas for models, designers and artists, employee work or transfer visas for start-up and tech companies, and all types of entrepreneur and investor visas. We also handle marriage-based immigration cases.

In addition to immigration services, we provide business legal services such as incorporating businesses, preparing partnership agreements, filing initial trademark applications with the USPTO, drafting business plans, and reviewing/negotiating a wide variety of contracts. Entrepreneurs and small businesses can think of my firm as their outside General Counsel.

I am most proud of my efforts in humanizing the practice of law. The compliment I receive most often from my clients is that I am actually a nice lawyer who cares. I love this compliment because that is exactly who I strive to be as an attorney. I want my clients to know that if something is important to them, it is important to me and I am going to help them through their situation as best as I can. The flip side of this compliment is that it saddens me that there are so many other lawyers out there giving the rest of us a bad reputation and not showing kindness to their clients. People go to lawyers for help; if they could do it themselves, they wouldn’t seek our legal expertise. Most people seeking legal help are confronting a stressful problem in their life and therefore need compassion along with their legal assistance. My family and friends often tell me that I care too much about my clients, but I think that’s exactly what makes me such a passionate advocate!

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
I have a few exciting projects in the works to hopefully launch in the coming months…so stay tuned!

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