PJ Chawla Wouldn't Mind Syncing Up with Tim McGraw or Mindy Kaling

Discovery with Pooja Chawla

Published in 2019 Mid-South Super Lawyers Magazine

My nickname is … PJ. I took out all the vowels from my first name so people won’t call me “Pooha” or “Pooya.”

I can’t go a day without … working out. Except for weekends, holidays, special occasions, conferences and whenever life happens.

My colleagues would be surprised to know that … I am a bourbon-and-beer, country-and-blues kinda girl. 

When I was a newbie lawyer I … may not have been right, but I sure sounded like it. 

The quality I most like in a lawyer is … humility. 

My career high point (so far) has been … clerking for the Honorable Eugene R. Verin, circuit judge, retired. I watched some of the great lawyers at their best and learned from some not-so-great lawyers and their mistakes. It gave me a bird’s-eye view of how judges’ decisions are made. Most of all, it gave me a mentor for the rest of my life. 

If I weren’t a lawyer, I’d be … a restaurateur and chef, specializing in Indian street food.

My courtroom walkup music would be … “Me Too” by Meghan Trainor.

I can do a pretty good impersonation of … no one. Impersonation is the sincerest form of intellectual property theft.

My motto is … “Any decision in your life that helps you move forward is an investment.” 

My favorite song lyric is … “When you get where you're goin’ don't forget turn back around/ Help the next one in line, always stay humble and kind,” from “Humble and Kind” by Tim McGraw. It reminds me that pride makes us artificial and humility makes us real.

The three people I’d invite to dinner are … Russell Peters, Gabriel Iglesias and Lilly Singh. Because our bellies will be full of laughter and I won’t have to cook dinner. 

If I had a morning show, my co-host would be … Mindy Kaling. I just hope she shows up on time. Because you know what Mindy says: “It’s 9:18, which is practically 9:15, which is basically 9:00. … I’m early.” 

The last TV show I binge-watched was … The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.

My guilty pleasure is … pimento cheese sandwich with fries. It’s the caviar of the South! 

I collect ... shot glasses. Because they are cheap, easy, and come in handy. 

The questions I’m tired of answering are ... “What part of India are you from?” and “Why Birmingham?” So let me put it out there: I’m from New Delhi. I grew up in one of the busiest cities in the world and love the simple life of Birmingham, which is also home to some of my favorite breweries: Good People, Avondale, Cahaba, Trim Tab, Ghost Train and Birmingham District. OK, time for a beer!

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