Murthy Online: The Preposterous Idea of Giving Information Away

150 150 Sheela Murthy

It wasn’t really the plan when it began, but MurthyDotCom has become a massive pro bono project spanning more than 20 years. It is populated by an online community of thousands of immigrants and employers, and consists of an enormous, easily accessible trove of information about the U.S. immigration process. One of the first law firms anywhere to take the onramp onto the information highway, MurthyDotCom ( was launched a few months after the Murthy Law Firm (then the Law Office of Sheela Murthy) opened in 1994. It was unmapped territory, particularly for a field in which knowledge IS the commodity. But the Murthy name was soon synonymous with helpful, free information. MurthyDotCom proved instrumental in building a client base that allowed the Murthy Law Firm to speak directly to a rising generation of technology workers who wanted to bring their talents to the United States. It was a showcase for the breadth and depth of knowledge on immigration matters possessed by Sheela Murthy and the other attorneys on her team that built the confidence and loyalty of the immigrant community.

In August 2005, Murthy learned her firm’s website had more than ten times the hits of the world’s top 10 law firm websites combined. Word came after an article was published on her firm, written by an expert in the field of search engine strategy and digital marketing. A list of the 50 most popular law firm websites in the world, compiled by, was released February 14, 2013, and again MurthyDotCom topped the list. [See Murthy vs. the Goliaths: The Power of Search at Work,, Gord Hotchkiss, 09.Aug.2005, and Law Web 50: Law Firm Website Traffic Rankings,, 19.Feb.2013.]

The MurthyBulletin was begun as an eNewsletter with articles on the latest developments in immigration law. It could have been reserved for clients only, but Murthy and her growing team instead answered hundreds of immigration-related questions in articles that were all added to the website. It was a mission – a chance to empower people by demystifying the process. It was a way to give back, and the website grew to host an interactive forum with Murthy attorneys providing regular feedback, the weekly MurthyChat with an attorney clarifying immigration laws for participants, podcasts and teleconferences on a variety of immigration topics and hot-button issues, and blogs offering Op/Ed commentary on immigrants, immigration, and the Murthy Law Firm.

When she had earned her Master of Laws (LL.M.) at Harvard and was living in the United States for less than a decade, Sheela Murthy seized upon the long-held dream of starting her own law firm and controlling her own destiny – something almost unheard of in her native India. Even in the U.S., many would have seen such an effort as daunting, beginning with three strikes against her as an immigrant, a woman, and of a racial minority. But Sheela believes passionately in the strength of women, and in the immigrant heritage of the United States. She wanted to become a part of that legacy, and to help others do the same. For 20+ years, Sheela Murthy has been doing that and more; supporting her local community and the global community; giving generously of her time, talent, and treasure to worthy causes in the U.S. and India. Doing well in business has enabled her to do good in the world, and she couldn’t be happier.


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Vasant Nayak

All stories by: Vasant Nayak