Name: Arty Rajendra
Organisation: Osborne Clarke
Role: Partner and UK Head of IP disputes
Trained at: Rouse
Year qualified: 1997
What’s your most vivid memory from being a trainee?
I had the dream training contract. I basically did 18 months of IP litigation, so lots of trips to court, cons with counsel and interviewing witnesses (well, carrying the bundles and making notes). It was also fun – there were several Fridays when the whole team would go out for lunch and not go back to the office until Monday.
I was 22, London was buzzing, and I was having the time of my life.
What is the wisest thing anyone ever said to you (and who said it)?
Adrian Speck QC: “Keep your job in perspective”. My job is often all-consuming, and this was said to me at a time when I had lost sight of the important things in life.
Looking back at that time, I think I did miss out on quite a bit of my daughter’s early childhood. Obviously the pandemic has meant that nowadays there is increased working from home, and while that has its downsides, I am glad of the chance to spend more time with my family.
Who (for better or worse) has been the most influential person in your career? Why?
Tony Willoughby. I could not ask for a better mentor; he is wise, generous, fun and remains a close friend. Tony was a highly respected IP litigator (now retired) and persuaded Sir Hugh Laddie to join the firm, who I shared an office with and was another important influence on me.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to get to where you are/do the job you do?
When you discover the role or aspects of the job that you enjoy, say to your boss “this is what I love and this is what I want to focus on”. Grab every opportunity – I did, including being asked at 5 years PQE to run a trial on my own, while also being one of the witnesses being cross-examined! We won, by the way.
I love my job, but that’s not surprising as I’m comfortable around conflict. However, being a robust litigator doesn’t mean you can’t also be likable and courteous – which has many advantages.
What’s your best friend from law school doing now?
I have two close friends from law school. They both became partners at their respective City firms, but then gave it up; one to be a primary school teacher and the other to be a stay-at-home-mum. We have been successful on our own terms.