Ajay Jindia recalls the day his father approached him with the kind of advice the scion of an economist from the Indian subcontinent wouldn’t normally hear: Don’t be a doctor. Don’t be an engineer. I don’t think you’re going to be happy doing it. Although many Indian parents push the sciences on their children, Jindia’s father saw something else in his American-born son: He could seriously discuss politics and economics from the time he was 10. “I see you … as a lawyer,” his father said.
Today Jindia, 36, is making a name for himself as an Atlanta attorney, though not as a litigator. His talent, both as counsel and — in the classic sense — as counselor lies in bringing people together. “He is one of those guys who’s willing to help anyone,” says Anita Goklaney, Jindia’s friend and an associate with Atlanta’s Gomel & Davis law firm. “He is very connected, but he is not like a schmoozer.” Later in the conversation she adds, “He has integrity.”
Despite his father’s prediction, it was a circuitous route to the bar. During his teens, while his father did agricultural research in Africa, Ajay attended schools in Rome and Baton Rouge before finally graduating from high school in Massachusetts. Because of money problems and wanderlust, he repeated the pattern in college — bouncing between Atlanta’s Emory University and Louisiana State University before finally earning a B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin in 1992. Law school saw fewer frequent flier miles: just Georgia State University College of Law, 1997.
At such Atlanta firms as Altman, Kritzer & Levick and Gambrell & Stolz, Jindia showed particular talent advising budding business leaders to iron out partnerships, make acquisitions and finance debt. “The client development I had was coming out of the start-up, entrepreneur and technology side, just because a lot of the people I knew were from India,” Jindia says. He was recruited to his current job as general counsel for CompuCredit after representing the company.
Early on, Jindia noticed that many of Atlanta’s young South Asians needed help with professional networking and so he cofounded Professional Indian Leaders of Tomorrow, a group that later morphed into the Atlanta chapter of the national Network for Indian Professionals. Later, he co-found the Georgia Indo-American Chamber of Commerce, which encourages trade between India and the southeastern United States.
Finally, he created IndusBar of Georgia, an association that helps local South Asian attorneys network and forge contacts, while supporting legal services for the South Asian community. In 2003, IndusBar combined with 11 South Asian bar associations scattered throughout the United States, forming the North American South Asian Bar Association. Jindia was the national group’s initial vice president of affiliate relations and remains on the board.
He takes particular pride in IndusBar. Earlier groups existed in Atlanta, he says, but their focus was on pro bono work — which isn’t what firms prize in ambitious young attorneys. “The majority of people we were looking at were first-, second-, third- and fourth-year associates who were trying to get ahead, do their jobs right, impress their bosses, make it as partner,” he says. Today, he can point to several success stories, young South Asian attorneys who have landed good jobs as a result of his matchmaking.
Goklaney is among them. “He knew someone who knew someone,” she says. “I’ve been here about two-and-a-half years.”
Jindia downplays his matchmaking. “I just put two people looking for the same things in the same room.” Thankfully, that’s often enough.