Legal Luminaries

A. L. SOMAYAJI

A thinker, a philosopher and a lawyer! Sounds like a potent combination, doesn’t it? Well, what others words could describe A. L. Somayaji better? His profoundness of character comes from his innate interest in books, particularly ones on religion and philosophy.

Perhaps it was his deep inclination towards philosophy which guided him through the trying times in his life. “At a time when the country was facing sharp recession, I was unable to find work in my city of Tuticorin,” remembers Somayaji about his early days, which were quite trying to say the least. Instead of becoming despondent, he joined Law College in Trivandrum. After completion of Law in 1967 he enrolled with the Bar in 1968 and joined Aiyar & Dolia. With utter dedication, hard work and sincerity he created a niche for himself in the world of law which resulted in his being offered partnership in the firm.

His conscientiousness saw him through tough times and he rose to become a Senior Advocate in 1995. He then resigned the partnership of the firm. It was nearly a decade later that the Jayalalitha government appointed him the Advocate General of Tamil Nadu in 2004.

Somyaji’s belief in hard work is reflected by his wife Vijaya, whom he married in 1975. Vijaya, who holds a Master’s Degree in Political Science, says, “If you put in hard work you are bound to be successful.” Her piety is evident through her words: “The degree of success depends on the Almighty’s blessings.” Giving credit to Somyaji’s disciplined lifestyle, she says that “he is up at 5 a.m. every morning and goes for an hour-long walk.” He is also very particular about his dinner which he prefers to have at 8.30 p.m. every day.

A strong believer in discipline, Somyaji also believes as strongly in freedom and hence not forced his son, Venkat Narayan, to pursue law. In fact, Venkat Narayan is an accomplished computer engineer. He is married to Sri Vidya and the couple has three daughters. “Everybody should be allowed to pursue what they like – as long as they are doing it with dedication and devotion and not restoring to shortcuts for quick gains,” he asserts.

A true apostle of dharma and karma.


We acknowledge “100 Legal Luminaries of India” by Lalit Bhasin (Lexis). The multicolour coffee table book printed on art paper in Hardbound is priced at ` 5995/- and is available at Universal Book Traders, C-27, Connaught Place, New Delhi – 110001. sales@ubtlawbooks.com

Leave a Comment