Thu, April 18, 2024

'I consider diligence in my work to be non-negotiable'

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Nida Doon Malla

Consultant, NDM Corporate Solution

Nida Doon Malla is a legal professional whose journey has been defined by a deep-rooted commitment to making a meaningful impact on people’s lives. Raised in Chandigarh in India, Malla hails from a family with a rich tradition of public service and legal expertise. From an early age, her ambition was crystal clear; she aspired to be a lawyer. A significant source of inspiration in Malla’s life is her father, a dedicated public servant whose unwavering commitment to service has not only shaped her values but also honed her critical thinking skills. Raised with a conscious emphasis on asking the right questions, she learned from her parents the importance of approaching challenges with a discerning mind. 

In her pursuit of a legal career, she found an anchor and role model in her elder sister, also a lawyer, who constantly reminds her to navigate the male-dominated legal profession with unyielding integrity, consistency, perseverance and diligence. While the conventional wisdom for women in professional roles often suggests the need to distance oneself from emotion, Malla recognises the importance of balance. She emphasises the development of keen observation skills with emotional intelligence as a vital component. Her journey has been enriched by the people she has met along the way, reinforcing the idea that we are the sum total of those we encounter. This philosophy underscores the importance of surrounding oneself with individuals who foster growth, both professionally and personally. 

She pursued her legal studies from the National Law University, Delhi, and has also read courses at renowned institutions such as Leiden University in the Netherlands and Harvard University in the United States. Over eight years of dedicated practice in the prestigious Supreme Court of India, Malla’s specialisation lies in legal risk management across various industry sectors. She is well-versed in alternative dispute resolution methods, including arbitration and mediation. 

Her professional journey in Nepal began as a Consultant at Pioneer Law Associates and she has now gone independent with a dedicated team at NDM Corporate Solutions. Not content with her remarkable achievements in the legal field, Malla also actively has been engaging in policy reform as the Communications and Network Chair of the Confederation of Nepalese Industries Young Entrepreneurs Forum. 

In this edition of Business 360, Malla talks about the five things that have impacted her life and work. 

A Life of Purpose

A mentor once shared a perspective that has had a profound impact on both my work and my life. He conveyed the idea that the purpose of life is to have a life of purpose, and this notion has resonated strongly with me. However, I don’t believe one should embark on a quest to discover a predetermined purpose; instead, life is a journey and we should keep our eyes open to what strikes us as meaningful. Throughout my life, I have come to realise that economic empowerment serves as the foundational cornerstone for a life of dignity. Economic empowerment, to me, means the ability to take ownership of one’s social security and financial well-being. I firmly believe that this concept applies universally to all individuals, regardless of their gender or background.

When I reflect on my work, I do so from the perspective of how it contributes to the broader economy and, in turn, how that economy provides for the people it should serve. I often find it helpful to simplify this perspective, especially during challenging days. Like doctors are responsible for their patient’s physical well-being; in my case, as a lawyer, I see my responsibility as contributing to people’s social well-being. I have come to understand that an unexpected setback in someone’s business endeavours can have a significant impact on their ability to provide for their family and fulfil the responsibilities they’ve taken upon themselves. 

This could affect something as crucial as their capacity to provide their children with a meaningful education. Therefore, I consider diligence in my work to be non-negotiable. It’s this belief in the interplay between economic empowerment, legal work, and the greater social good that drives me to strive for excellence in my career, ensuring that I play my part in contributing to a society where everyone has the opportunity to lead a life of purpose and dignity.

Integrity means accountability

Before I came to Nepal, I was practicing law at the Supreme Court of India. It was during my time there that I learned the true meaning of integrity, and I can’t stress enough how significant it has been in shaping my work and life. The Supreme Court of India is one of the most competitive platforms for practicing law, and in such an environment, excelling becomes a necessity just to survive. While it might be utopian to claim that only individuals with integrity succeed, it’s not untrue to say that those who combine success with integrity truly stand out. To me, having integrity goes beyond merely holding others accountable; it also involves the crucial task of holding oneself accountable.

When I speak of holding oneself accountable, I mean adhering to the values one articulates and staying true to the goals one sets, all without compromising one for the other. This can often feel like a heavy burden to bear, and it’s essential to find balance in this journey. Jim Morrison’s words, ‘No eternal reward will forgive us now, for wasting the dawn,’ always resonate with me. I firmly believe that there won’t be any ultimate redemption for squandering our opportunities and our potential. In the pursuit of integrity and success, it’s also vital to be selective about whose criticism you heed. 

I have learned that you should only be open to criticism from individuals from whom you would genuinely accept advice. Opening yourself up to be a punching bag for someone, be it in your professional or personal life, is a surefire way to hinder your own progress. Constructive criticism is invaluable, but not all criticism is constructive. My time at the Supreme Court of India has instilled in me a deep appreciation for integrity, a commitment to holding myself accountable to my values and goals, and the discernment to choose whose input I value. These lessons have had a profound impact on both my work and my life, and I carry them with me on my journey here in Nepal.