Your date of birth:
20 June 1971
The name of the law school from which you received your first law degree:
National Law School of India
Current law firm and office:
Jayaram & Jayaram, Bangalore
Position within the firm:
Details of any past law firms that you have worked for:
Allen & Overy, London
The key practice areas in which you work:
IT/IP Law, E-Commerce, Media Law (Traditional And New Media), Data Protection and Privacy, Cross-Border M&A, General Corporate and Licensing, Aviation Transactions, Technology Transactions (Engineering Supply and Design Contracts)
Why you chose to focus in these areas:
I am fascinated by innovation and invention, by the human capacity to design and shape our environment and push the envelope of what is possible scientifically. Therefore, transactions that feature technology and design in some way are always rewarding and enriching, as I always learn something from my clients and the deals about gadgets, applications and systems, scientific methods and processes, and ways of thinking about the world. If I am not writing that novel, making that film, inventing that must-have gadget or coding the next big game, I can at least live vicariously through clients who are, and help them deliver their ambitions. Fundamentally, deals that involve these elements are just more fun, and the people who inhabit these universes are also endlessly fascinating. I am also interested in information as the new currency, and feel very strongly about privacy and data protection regimes attempting to balance various competing interests. I suppose the common thread is that I like dealing with the intangible, with the ideas that live in people’s heads and with bits of data whizzing around the ether, and I like giving them life.
Details of the matter that you have worked on in your career to date that you are most proud of, and why:
I am most proud of the first two acquisitions that I did for an Indian client (Dynamatic Technologies Limited) after returning to India from England. They acquired a hydraulics company in Swindon, and then an aero-structures company in Bristol, and both deals gave me a deep dive into the new India, the emerging economic shifts, and a world where Indian clients were looking outwards to do deals. They also situated me perfectly between India and Europe, and allowed me to draw on skill sets that were then quite unique in the market. As a dual-qualified lawyer, and one who also straddles the two cultures, I felt I contributed more than just legal skills, and helped hand-hold a favourite client through its first ever outward bound deals, while also securing the trust of the target’s lawyers. I also got to walk around the shop floors of both companies, get excited about their industrial facilities (I am an architecture and design nerd), and walk away with the gift of a part from Concorde – machined by one of the target’s employees. Those two deals, back to back, cemented my sense of myself in a truly international context, and reinforced the value I add by being able to talk about Arsenal and the Royal Ballet, in between indemnity clauses and liability caps.
The name of any more senior lawyers that you look up to or consider to be mentors:
Colleen Keck at Allen & Overy, for her sharpness and ability to unpack any contract to its essentials, and her panache in dealing with clients. Laurence Jacobs (then at Allen & Overy) for retaining his humanity in a large partnership, and understanding that people have lives beyond the office. Nigel Kemp at Citigroup, for being a team player and for his ability to defuse a tense deadlock with delicacy and a perfectly judged joke. Monroe Price, professor at the University of Pennsylvania, for his innovative efforts to use the law for important advocacy and freedom of speech work, and for having more energy and curiosity in his 70s than most jaded younger lawyers do. Richard Danbury, who showed me the importance of fundamentals and how to work on a PhD. And my parents, both lawyers, who warned me against being a lawyer yet loved it when I became one. My father, in particular, for his felicity with legal language, his ability to see the big picture, and his belief that clients sometimes pay us to learn new things and how grateful we should be for the opportunity to grow every single day.