Sheetal Khera is a partner in the Global Finance practice. Since joining the firm in 2007, she has worked on numerous asset-backed securitization transactions involving a variety of asset classes, including auto loans and leases, auto floorplan accounts, equipment loans and leases, and student loans, where she has represented both issuers and underwriters in public and private securities offerings. Sheetal has also represented issuers and underwriters in private offerings of residential mortgage-backed securities, as well as purchasers and sellers of residential mortgage loans.
“I’ve spent my entire career [at Sidley], and from the outset it was clear that the partners here are among the best in what they do. I wanted to be a part of that.”
What attracted you to the practice of law and what aspect of your practice do you enjoy the most?
When I was younger, I always loved to read and had a mild obsession with Law & Order, and thought the law would be a good fit. A short stint as an intern at my local DA’s office made it clear to me that I would never be the next Jack McCoy, but it exposed me to the puzzle aspect of the law – pulling various facts together to make a case – and that piqued my interest even more. And that puzzle aspect is still the aspect that I enjoy the most in my practice – working with complex deal structures, cashflows and multiple deal parties, and working through tax and regulatory considerations.
Tell us about a professional goal you are proud of achieving, and what (or who) inspired you to go for it.
Making partner at Sidley. I’ve spent my entire career here, and from the outset it was clear that the partners here are among the best in what they do. I wanted to be a part of that.
What is the most memorable deal you led and what made it so memorable?
There have definitely been some memorable deals throughout the years, but one of the most memorable periods of my career has to be my junior associate years. Working in a structured finance practice during the height of the financial crisis, I was reviewing documents and sitting in on calls that related to deals that were frequently being discussed in the news. I learned so much in those years, which built a great foundation for my practice, and those years continue to serve as a reminder that things can change in an instant.
On a personal note, what has been your go-to self-care activity in this remote work environment?
A lot of FaceTime with friends and family, exploring my interest in mixology, and developing a travel bucket list for the future to remind myself that our current situation, like all things, will be temporary.
Can you share with us a saying or quote that gives you inspiration or helps you stay centered?
“Becoming is more important than being.” This reminds me to always look for opportunities to learn more and grow professionally and personally, and that it’s ok to fail along the way.
“I have a lot to accomplish and nothing to prove.” I think as a woman and as a minority there’s always this sense that you have to constantly do better and be better. This quote reminds me that I earned my seat at the table, and my focus now can be on seeing what I can accomplish. And not just in terms of my practice, but in giving back, whether to our junior associates, to the firm, or to my community.
“One day you’ll leave this life behind, so live a life that you’ll remember.”