The Networker

Raj A. Malviya believes in people power

Published in 2009 Michigan Rising Stars — September 2009

High achievement runs in Raj A. Malviya’s family. Practicing law does not. Hailing from a family of mostly doctors and engineers, Malviya began his college career following the path his family expected of him. Somewhere along the way, he switched gears.

“I wasn’t passionate about science or medicine, and it took me four years of college to realize that,” says Malviya, who practices probate, estate planning, real estate and tax law with Miller Johnson in Grand Rapids. At his college crossroads, Malviya tapped into a skill he began honing as a boy: networking. He would often talk things over with his siblings, friends and professors before making a decision. When they suggested he go into law, he listened.

“I took a leap of faith, and ultimately, I was right,” he says.

The networking skills have stuck with him. After joining Miller Johnson, Malviya, 28, whose father was born in India and immigrated to the U.S. for graduate school, helped form the South Asian Bar Association, recently acknowledged as a specialty organization within the state Bar.

“My mission is to not only lead but also to really continue to develop camaraderie among young professionals … also to share our knowledge with one another,” he says. “It’s not just about the social aspect.”

He’s also involved in organizations like the Economic Club of Grand Rapids, Hospice of Grand Rapids Leadership Council, Young Lawyers Section of the Grand Rapids Bar Association and the Porter Hills Planned Giving Committee.

“Whether I’m working on a matter with other attorneys within the firm, serving on a nonprofit board or attending a leadership conference, I am there to network and build relationships,” said Malviya, a Valparaiso University School of Law graduate who is married to Marta, a school psychologist whom he met at Hope College.

Despite his time commitments, Malviya opted to return to school last year at Northwestern University, where he is pursuing a master of law degree in taxation.

He credits his family with his motivation. Ditto for the networking.

“This mindset was honed to interact effectively with others,” he says. “We were taught to be engaging, polite, helpful and inviting. Posture and eye contact were important. So was a firm handshake. When we met someone new, we would invite them over for dinner and get to know them. … All of these teachings became second nature to me.”

And not a bad way to launch a career.

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