I think it’s extremely important to expose yourself to many different types of practices in your field so that you can learn from as many people’s perspectives as practicable.
Since being admitted to the bar nearly twenty years ago, Sarita Kedia has practiced exclusively as a criminal defense lawyer. A graduate of The Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania, and Tulane University Law School, Ms. Kedia started her own law firm in 2002. She has successfully defended individuals and businesses charged with both white collar and non-white collar crimes in a broad range of complex criminal cases at the trial and appellate levels. She has represented clients investigated or charged with various types of financial fraud, insider trading, money laundering, embezzlement, health care and insurance fraud, murder, racketeering, public corruption, immigration fraud, mail and wire fraud, internet gambling, tax evasion, Hobbs Act violations, narcotics distribution, arson, rape and sexual assault, among other things.
Considered one of New York’s preeminent criminal defense attorneys, Ms. Kedia has obtained numerous acquittals at trial, has been successful on copious appeals and other post-conviction litigation, and has negotiated hundreds of favorable dispositions. She has been profiled several times in the media. An article in The New York Times described her as a “lioness” with “an eye for pivotal issues” and a “passion for the defense of her client.” Ms. Kedia has also repeatedly been selected for a listing in New York Super Lawyers, a publication that honors the top 5 % of attorneys in their respective areas of practice based on professional achievement and peer recognition.
Sarita Kedia has been repeatedly selected for a listing in New York Super Lawyers, a publication that honors the top 5% of attorneys in their respective areas of practice based on professional achievement and peer recognition. She has taught several continuing legal education courses on the topics of criminal trial practice, appellate practice, federal criminal litigation and sentencing litigation and is often invited to lecture before numerous groups as a criminal defense expert. Ms. Kedia serves as a faculty member for the trial advocacy program at Cardozo Law School and has frequently been invited to lecture on various criminal law topics at law schools throughout the area.
She also serves on the Rules, Ethics and Legislation Committee for the New York Council of Defense Lawyers and is a member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the Federal Bar Council and the New York Women’s Criminal Law Group.
How do you bring ideas to life?
It is always case-dependent. If I think a jury will be receptive to an argument, I try to figure out how to best get it across, whether through visual effects, oratory or otherwise. I generally try ideas out on various people from all walks of life (resembling a jury) to see how they are perceived.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
I have always strongly believed in visual effects before a jury, so I am happy that it has become so much easier to design graphics using modern technology.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
If possible, I try diligently to get things done well before their due date or delivery date in order that I can perfect my arguments or submissions (and recognize where they may be flawed or need work) in a timely manner.
What advice would you give your younger self?
As do many young people, I thought I knew a lot more than I did when I was younger. I would tell myself to spend as much time as possible observing the experts in my field. I would also tell myself to slow down a bit and let things take their course.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on?
Innocent people often enough plead guilty. The vast majority of people have no understanding of — or even familiarity with — the criminal justice system. The reason that innocent people often choose to “make a deal” is to minimize their exposure. Sadly, prosecutors routinely overcharge people so that they are exposed to substantial penalties and therefore extremely frightened. If sufficiently nervous, people often choose to plead guilty to something they didn’t do rather than risk the punishment they may face if convicted at trial. Unfortunately, not enough judges, prosecutors or ordinary citizens recognize this institutional problem. Even many criminal defense lawyers are so jaded that they do not see this.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I think it’s extremely important to expose yourself to many different types of practices in your field so that you can learn from as many people’s perspectives as practicable. It’s so important to understand the various ways you can improve the service you provide clients and the best ways to grow your business to your desired extent without compromising the work.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.
Since I was a new young lawyer, I have already tried to develop good relationships with colleagues, including adversaries in many situations. When I began my own practice, I began instantly receiving referrals from colleagues. It was not something I realized would happen (indeed, I did not contemplate starting my own practice until I felt I was truly ready to handle it), but it was a natural consequence. If people recognize you to be bright and also like dealing with you on a professional and social level, it helps tremendously in the success of your business.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I don’t know that I would call it a failure, but at one point I let my overhead get higher than it should have been. I was getting plenty of business, but the bottom line was not where I felt it should be. I think this is a significant problem in all kinds of businesses, both small and large. It is really important to understand what your overhead costs are in relation to the size of your business.