ACC Chicago is excited to publish Member Spotlights that feature a Chapter member in a creative question-and-answer format. ACC Chicago has more than 2000 members, and Member Spotlights are designed to help you get to know your fellow Chapter members better and enhance networking opportunities. We will also archive all Spotlights here so you can go back and access them at any time. If you are interested in being the subject of a Spotlight or know someone who would make a good subject, please contact Zack Raimi at email@example.com . We hope you enjoy this exciting new feature!
Divya R. Mehta, Sr. Counsel-Codes & Products, KONE Inc., Lisle, IL
Years In-house: 3
Law School: University of Minnesota
Undergrad: University of Illinois, BS General Engineering
Best thing about my current job: It’s hard to name one – the people, the work (combining law and engineering), and continually learning new things.
Most challenging thing about my current job: Codes & Products is a fairly new and emerging Practice Area within the Law Department that deals with issues arising from elevator and escalator safety codes. The Code & Product Team works on new product development, code interpretations and adoptions in jurisdictions throughout North America, product integrity issues, retrofits, and industry issues. The team has grown as the business need has become more prominent. My biggest challenge is managing the balance of the day to day whirlwind of activities while remaining focused on accomplishing long term goals. To address this challenge, we are putting total quality procedures in place for the Code & Product team. Once this is done, our team will be more efficient in responding to requests for support while developing a new focus area in the Law Department.
What I’ve accomplished as an in-house lawyer of which I’m most proud: When I started with KONE, my job was to mitigate risk associated with codes and products. As time progressed, it became clear that codes and products were an evolving business area that needed more resources and support. In three years, we have developed a Code & Product Practice Area within the Law Department and become a team with six people. We provide support to all parts of the business, from R&D to Supply Line to Front Line Sales & Installation.
Hardest lesson I’ve learned as a lawyer: Your advice is not always going to make your client happy.
Advice I would give to new lawyers, in-house or otherwise: Work hard and volunteer for opportunities outside of your practice area. You never know what you will learn and where it will lead you.
Most valuable life lesson that I still apply today is… Everything happens for a reason. Even if things are not going your way, continue to work hard and maintain a positive attitude.
Worst job I ever had: In high school, I worked for a financial planner and made cold-calls to invite people to financial seminars. Getting hung up on 99% of the time is no fun!
How I achieve work/life balance: As a working mom, it is challenging to balance everything. One of the things I try to do is find the right times to do things. When I am at work, I try to be efficient so I don’t have to work at home. When I am home, I try to be present and spend time with my husband and kids (two girls - ages 6 and 4). If I have to work when I am home, I try to do it when the kids are sleeping. Also, I firmly believe that “it takes a village to raise a child.” I am fortunate to have a supportive husband, parents, and other family, all of whom love my kids and are always willing to help out.
What I like most about ACC: Getting to know other in-house attorneys at CLEs and other great ACC events.
My favorite pro bono or volunteer activities are: I enjoy teaching so am active with Junior Achievement and Lawyers in the Classroom. KONE also has an elevator and escalator safety program for young children, which I have taught to my daughter’s classroom several years in a row.
People may be surprised to learn that I… have been to every U.S. state except for Alaska.
My all-time favorite movie is… Tommy Boy. It is one of those classics that never fails to make me laugh. I have many favorite scenes, but I love when Tommy Boy sings “Fat Guy in a Little Coat.”
What is currently on your music playlist: Pop, Dance, Country. Justin Timberlake is one of my favorites. I usually listen to music when I run so anything with a good beat.