Name: Gautam Bhattacharyya
Job Title: Partner and Executive Committee member, Reed Smith LLP
Backstory: Grew up in North West London. Legal education – LLB, LLM and Law Society Finals – in London. Qualified as a solicitor in 1993. Partner at Reed Smith since 2000. Founding managing partner of Reed Smith’s Singapore office from 2012-2015. I specialise in international commercial arbitration and litigation and also co-chair my firm’s India Group.
Who or what influenced you to train as a lawyer?
The sacrifices my parents made both for me and my sister.
If you didn’t pursue a legal career what would you be doing now?
I was always fascinated at the prospect of being an airline pilot, flying to all corners of the world. On a less serious note, I continue to love disco and soulful house, and mixing the music, so still dream about being an international DJ and remixer like Louie Vega, David Morales or Opolopo.
Which fictitious lawyer would you compare yourself to?
I really would not want to besmirch anyone!
A great mix of the challenges of problem-solving, in a range of industries, on a global platform, the teamwork, and combining legal principles with a focus on clients’ commercial objectives.
What does success mean to you?
Happy clients. Knowing my team and I have done everything we can on a case and what we as a team have learnt from each one. Seeing colleagues progress and achieving promotion. True diversity, equality and inclusion.
What would you say is a common misconception or misunderstanding aspiring or junior lawyers have about the legal profession?
The fear of rejection. Do not be scared of it. Embrace it. Believe in yourself and dare to dream.
Imagine a time when you felt like giving up. What helped you bounce back?
In 1989, during my course of training contract interviews I came across rejection from some firms and some regrettable interviewers. I owe a huge amount in equal measure to all the fabulous interviewers I encountered, as well as the rejection and negative experiences, which all turned out to be very helpful learning opportunities.
What careers advice would you give to your younger self?
Get to grips with IT skills properly when you’re starting out.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learnt about life and / or work outside of a formal education setting or away from the office?
Enjoy what you do and keep grounded. The legal profession graces us, we do not grace the legal profession.
If there was one skill you could’ve excelled at during your formative years as a lawyer what would that be?
Too many to mention! I’ve already referenced IT skills, so I’d say better time management.