Chinny Sharma ‘19
Good morning, Chinny! Welcome to the Hot Bench, where we’re happy to interview students at the time best for them, even if it’s 9:30 a.m. on a Sunday! Let’s get started.
Chinny, I hear that you wake up really early in the morning. How early is early?
Probably about five in the morning. I am a disgusting morning person. But on weekends, I sleep until a lofty six or seven. I would like to definitely throw W. Campbell Haynes ’19 under the bus, because he wakes up just as early if not earlier. Just gonna use the microphone while I have it.
Okay, but when do you go to sleep?
Sleep’s not a thing I’m good at, but I’m getting better at it. This semester I’m definitely trying to hit some grandma bedtimes, like around 10 p.m.
“Trying” as in “not succeeding”?
Not so much, but trying. Now that the Digital Democracy Symposium is over, I’m definitely going to try out this whole 3LOL thing.
So what’s the first thing you do at that god-awful time, five in the morning?
Take out my dog who I’m fostering. You know, it’s great to go home and have a bud who’s so excited to see you. But it’s a lot; single parenting is really hard.
Why did you decide to come to law school?
I used to be the founder of a tech start-up. I came to law school because, while I was really interested in coding, the question I was most interested in was whether we ought to be building the things we were building. At that point, I had gotten in to UVA and had been deferring. Eventually, Cordell was like, “Hey, are you going to come?” and I finally said yea, I think I have a reason to go to law school.
How long were you in tech?
I started off as a consultant on the analytics team at Deloitte and they were chill, but they didn’t teach me everything I wanted to know. I taught myself how to code, and at some point a friend and I broke off and started our own start-up, focusing on collecting data in low latency and low connectivity environments. The start-up went well, but there was a point when my bank account hit thirty-eight cents and I ate a lot of ramen.
At what point during the start-up were you considering law school?
About eight or nine months in, I started to realize that I wasn’t going to be taken seriously without better cards in my hand. I don’t think it was justified, at all, but when you’re a woman in tech, especially an English major, people just assume you’re punching above your weight class and that you’re probably on the sales team, and not an actual coder.
Where did you grow up?
New York; I never say Westchester because nobody likes Westchester.
It’s a pretty homogenous community.
What’s one thing you hope to accomplish here at law school?
Have LIST maintain its current momentum and have the club gain enough prominence that the school hires more tech-focused professors, or our current professors teach more classes about technology law.
Chinny points at my morning bagel; is that hummus on a bagel?
That’s freaking amazing. Hummus is like one of those things like carrots; there’s no such thing as too much of a good thing.
I think you can definitely have too many carrots.
No! I can eat an entire bag of baby carrots…is that weird?
No, that’s not too weird.
Yea, so half the bag I’ll eat with hummus and then the other half I’ll eat with peanut butter.
[Redacted – a conversation about whether peanut butter deserves to be called butter when hummus is not called chickpea butter…something something lipids.]
I’m gonna give up (on googling lipids). This is why I didn’t become a doctor like my parents wanted.
Were your parents set on your becoming a doctor?
Set, more like hanging their every hope and dream on it. Lawyers rank far below doctors in my parents’ eyes, but they eventually came around!
What is your favorite place in Charlottesville?
Ridge Road, it’s right off of Garth and it’s a four-mile dirt road that I run regularly. It’s all horse farms and big estates. The second-tier goal of my running is to come across a kindly old man who will adopt me and leave me his horse farm. It’s farfetched but it could happen.
Deepest, darkest fear?
Having net negative impact on the people I care the most about around me.
When somebody, over email, gets the Mr. or Mrs. wrong. We live in the Internet Age, look it up! (Also, when people try to talk to me when I have my headphones on. I’ve deployed the universal signal of leave me alone, people!)
What’s a movie that left an impression on you?
My Cousin Vinny.
I’m scared to ask, but what else do you eat with peanut butter?
What don’t I eat with peanut butter? It’s a versatile food that can be eaten with everything. Well, maybe not capsicum or potatoes––that would be weird. But I haven’t tried it yet, so maybe it wouldn’t be weird.
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Wyoming…yea, I feel good about that.
Fire crackling…in Wyoming.
If you could ask yourself a question 10 years in the future, what would you ask?
If you could tell yourself something on the first day of law school that you know now, what would it be?
You should have listened to the best advice you ever got, which was from George Carotenuto, who said, “Just say no to everything.” I think as law students there are a lot of things we think we should do, and we end up being too busy to do the things we really want to.