An interview with Smita Rajmohan

 
The International Jurist enjoys profiling foreign attorneys who do remarkable work. Here we interview Smita Rajmohan, an attorney with Cooley LLP in Palo Alto, Calif. 
 
You were born and raised in India. Tell us about your journey to becoming an international technology lawyer in the United States?
 
I started my legal practice as a junior litigator under a senior advocate at the Supreme Court of India. As I got exposed to intellectual property related cases, I realized IP and technology was my calling. I decided to apply to grad school in the United States and before I knew it, I was pursuing a masters degree in law and technology at Berkeley Law, possibly the best school for technology law in the world (Go Bears!) After graduation, I started in the IP transactions group at Kirkland & Ellis in San Francisco. I never looked back.
 
Can you please describe your day to day legal practice?
 
I work as a tech lawyer in Silicon Valley. The focus of my practice is intellectual property, technology transactions and privacy. I advise global clients on commercial transactions, intellectual property licensing and cross-border data protection, and often end up acting as outside general counsel for many of my smaller clients. It's really fun!
 
What do you find to be the most rewarding part of your practice?
 
My experience has included some of the biggest technology companies in the bay area, which has been really rewarding. Dealing with challenging legal issues and keeping up with advancements in technology has been very exciting. My job constantly keeps me on my toes and I'm never bored.
 
Do you find that your experience practicing in a foreign country helps you provide better service to your US clients?
 
Absolutely! Having a wide range of experience in litigation and corporate transactions across jurisdictions has been a phenomenal asset to my practice. Its been particulary useful when I do India facing commercial deals. Being able to speak the language (both literally and legally) of opposing counsel makes it easier for me to connect with them and align our business objectives. 
 
Do you have any advice for young lawyers that are looking to transition to another country or establish a global practice?
 
Keep at it! Get knowledgable about the foreign laws that may apply to your practice and speak to as many people as you can about their practical experience about the subject matter. The world is getting smaller. Privacy is an excellent example. The world is following Europe's lead by enacting more stringent laws around privacy. Here in California, we've just had the California Privacy Protection Act (CCPA) go into effect. India is also in the process of passing a new data protection law. As a privacy lawyer, I have to keep myself abreast of updates to international laws around the world. 

 

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