Women’s History Month Spotlight Series: Urjita Sudula

March 27, 2024

As part of our Women’s History Month celebration, we’ve asked our colleagues to reflect on the significance of this month.

Cleary Gottlieb associate Urjita Sudula shares some of her thoughts below.

Tell us a bit about yourself and your role at Cleary.

I am a fifth-year antitrust associate, and my practice covers a wide range of antitrust matters, including merger review, criminal and civil government investigations, and civil litigation. I was born in Hyderabad, India, grew up in central New Jersey, and lived in Washington, D.C., New York, New York, Cambridge, Massachusetts, and New Orleans, Louisiana before moving back to Washington, D.C. after joining Cleary. I am the first in my family to attend law school and to pursue a career in the legal industry. At Cleary, I am a co-liaison for the Women’s Working Group (WWG) and a member of the Diversity Committee, Diverse Associate Group (DAG), and South East Asian/South Asian/Middle Eastern (SESAME) Affinity Group.

What does Women’s History Month mean to you?

Women’s History Month means, to me, a time to recognize, learn about, and celebrate the achievements of all women. It gives us the opportunity to reflect on how much women, past and present, have accomplished, and to look forward to the future.

When you’re underrepresented in your chosen field, why is it important to have mentors and sponsors who are invested in you and your career?

In any work environment, it is important to have mentors and sponsors who are invested in you as a person as well as in your career. When you are underrepresented in your field, it is especially crucial to have mentors and sponsors because they serve an important role in supporting you and advocating for you, even if they do not share your background. I am fortunate that in my time at Cleary I have found and connected with numerous mentors, both formally and informally, who are invested in me and my career. I can turn to them whenever I need advice, feedback, and guidance. I am also trying to pay it forward by serving as a mentor myself to junior associates, women associates, and diverse associates.

What are the benefits of joining groups that focus on women’s topics and issues?

The benefits of joining groups that focus on women’s topics and issues at Cleary include finding a community of people who might better understand the challenges you face and who can offer you guidance, advice, and support. WWG, for example, puts on programming that ranges from lunch talks led by women partners to associate-only conversations about topics that matter to us. Being a part of WWG has also allowed me to meet and connect with women of all seniority levels with whom I might not otherwise have had the chance to interact.

Are there any programs at Cleary that you have been part of that have contributed to your professional journey and feeling included at the firm?

Being first a member and now a co-liaison of WWG and a member of DAG have both played a significant role in me feeling included at the firm. They are communities that accepted me with open arms and serve as spaces where I can go for advice or guidance from other associates for my professional growth and development. As part of my professional journey, I have served as a mentor and leader in these communities as another way to give back.

What is your favorite thing about working in the legal industry, and why did you choose to work at Cleary?

My favorite things about working in the legal industry—and in antitrust specifically—are being able to represent clients on a variety and breadth of unique issues, learn about a wide range of industries, and interact with clients, government officials, and other law firms on a daily basis. I joined Cleary for two main reasons: because of the opportunities it afforded me to engage in substantive and meaningful antitrust work, and because of the people who I would be working with every day. Cleary has enabled me to work on interesting matters surrounded by a community who supports me.