Sheela Murthy spent her formative years moving all over India with her family, since her father was in the Armed Forces. This gave her an appreciation and understanding of the subtle differences of the varied cultures within India. She learned to adapt quickly and make friends easily. The discipline so inherent in the military prevailed at home, also. Sheela and her two sisters were constantly motivated to excel academically; a grounding that proved immensely important in subsequent years.
While her siblings pursued the field of medicine, the traditional benchmark for Indian success stories, Sheela remained loyal to the humanities. She attended the prestigious Stella Maris College in Chennai (Madras) and completed her major in history, with a minor in political science, graduated with winning the Proficiency Prize (First Rank) in her class, and was selected the Best Outgoing Student of the entire college. She felt that the practice of law would be the ideal profession for her, with her strong sense of justice and fair play, and would provide an opportunity for her to interact with people and make a difference in their lives. She enrolled for the LLB program at the University Law College in Bangalore, and graduated with the First Rank from over 1,500 students at the entire Bangalore University. While still studying law, Sheela stood first in the Jessup Moot Court competition for law students from all over India. The Jessup Moot Court was organized by the American Society of International Law. She then was selected to represent India at the world level competition where she stood among the top three individual oralists and her team stood second in the written memorials at the international division.
Despite all the accolades and successes as a student, Sheela felt that she was the least accomplished of her siblings, since she was not inclined towards the sciences. Only upon gaining admission to Harvard Law School did her father share his pride in her accomplishments. With a dedication and commitment that, by now, had become a part of her, Sheela excelled at Harvard University.
Graduating with flying colors, Attorney Murthy began her career in corporate and real estate law, working twelve- to eighteen-hour days, often seven day weeks, at a large and prestigious firm in New York City. She moved to Baltimore, working for well-known firms there to escape the concrete jungle and build her immigration law practice. Continuing to work long hours, Ms. Murthy credits her attention to detail with the work ethos she has come to so admire in her adopted country. It was almost inevitable that she would build her own firm, to best achieve her ideals and goals, to providing a one-stop office for immigration law matters, with empathy and understanding from the perspective of fellow immigrants. She had been there and personally gone through the process.
The Law Office of Sheela Murthy came into existence in May 1994, thanks in no small measure to the consistent support and encouragement of her husband, Vasant Nayak. Ms. Murthy credits him with being her teammate and support system. It was Mr. Nayak who convinced her that the internet was the wave of the future. He has designed and built MurthyDotCom, dedicated to providing free services through a regular chat, online bulletin board, weekly eNewsletter, and numerous online services. Located in the more pristine environs of Owings Mills, Maryland, surrounded by woods and nature, the firm’s physical location in the Baltimore-Washington corridor serves only as a base for the worldwide operations of her firm’s immigration law practice.
Operating as the Murthy Law Firm since 2005, the firm has been the couple’s brainchild since its beginning, nurtured and cherished. Every client is a new milestone and every case is deserving of the attention it receives. After all, who would understand better that an immigration case is not just a case? Each file embodies the lives and dreams of a family like her own – a family that wants to participate and share in the American dream – adding to the dreams and aspirations of the immigrants who built this great nation.
The Murthy Law Firm has grown by leaps and bounds, supported by carefully selected professionals, passionate about being the best and giving nothing less to those who seek its services. To Ms. Murthy, every individual with whom she has come in contact has given her a new perspective and the inspiration to keep improving upon what has already been achieved – be it the amazing American dedication to work and results or the innate Indian ability to triumph over difficult odds. Today, Ms. Murthy, herself, makes an excellent ideal for those wishing to realize the great American dream. While cherishing her roots, which taught her to make the most rewarding use of each and every blessed opportunity, she also feels deeply attached to her adopted country, which respects perseverance over inheritance and limits an individual only by her dreams. In an act of giving back, Sheela Murthy and Vasant Nayak dedicate themselves to community service efforts in the United States and in India through the MurthyNAYAK Foundation.
To all those who wish her journey to be theirs also, Murthy considers herself fortunate to be, if not the philosopher, definitely the friend and the guide.
Murthy has been featured on ZeeTV’s Those Who Made It.