When Abhishek Sharma arrived at UNH Franklin Pierce Law School in 2005, he brought with him a determination to elevate his bachelor’s degree in law from India onto the global stage and satiate his thirst for knowledge in the field of intellectual property laws. Before joining UNH Franklin Pierce School of Law, Sharma had already earned an LL.B. (Hons.) from the Vivekananda Institute of Professional Studies at Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University in Delhi.
Hailing from New Delhi and now living in Bangalore, Abhishek was eager to immerse himself in the American legal system and culture to better connect with those he aspired to work alongside.
"After my first week in a U.S. law school, I realized there was a lot of personal development I should be doing," Sharma explains. "I started working on my accent, paid attention to American culture in general, and interacted with people, attending almost every lecture the law school arranged to seize all opportunities."
Abhishek cultivated a habit of regularly engaging with his professors, seeking their guidance on how to build a successful legal career. He extended his network by connecting with local business owners in Concord and becoming a regular at various shops and restaurants, gaining insights into the American ways of working through casual conversations.
Over a decade and a half later, Sharma's focused and planned approach to legal education has borne fruit. The interactions during law school, he reflects now, "helped me understand how people work here, what kind of communication skills I needed to have, what kind of language, what kind of vocabulary I needed to build." Presently, he is a successful IP attorney in India with an impressive portfolio of international clients.
Sharma shares that his decision to take certain classes made his resume more market ready. He attributes a lot of his communication and writing skills to the Legal Writing class that he took. “The first assignment of the Legal Writing class was very interesting as it gave me a major reality check. I really thought I knew how to write, until I got graded on my first Assignment,” Sharma laughs. “And of course, there was Trademark Law class that taught me the black letter law, however, the course titled Trademark Practice and Procedures, got me a job. I was instantly useful in an IP law firm as I knew how trademarks are searched and prosecuted,” Sharma recalls. Till date he recommends these courses, along with World IP, Copyright Laws, and IP Licensing to all those who wish to practice IP.
In 2006, relentless in his pursuit of a post-law-school job opportunity in the U.S., Abhishek secured a position with the Mountain View, California-based firm, LegalForce RAPC Worldwide. Although the firm was renowned for patent law, he was hired to spearhead the growth of their trademark and copyright law practice. Unfortunately, when his H-1B visa was denied, Abhishek proposed to manage LegalForce’s practice in India.
From 2009 to 2014, he served as a Partner at the firm’s India offices, handling global intellectual property and technology transfer issues. In 2015, Sharma, along with his brother Mayank, founded their law firm, Pulastya Legal, where he assumed the role of Managing Partner. In this capacity, he advises clients on a spectrum of intellectual property, trademark, copyright, and design, IP transfer, and licensing issues. Through offices in Mumbai, Bangalore, and New Delhi, the firm also offers pro-bono legal advice to entrepreneurs and small businesses, aiding them in identifying their IP needs. Over the years, they have expanded into Corporate and Commercial Law, Media and Entertainment Laws, Laws dealing with Start-ups and a bit of Family Laws.
“My bread-and-butter practice is still intellectual property law, which is a testament to my specialization during law school,” says Sharma. He incorporates elements of corporate law and media and entertainment practice, owing to their presence in Mumbai, a significant hub for the Indian film and entertainment industry.
Undeterred in his commitment to building connections, Sharma travels to the United States almost every year, ensuring he meets existing clients in person and explores potential collaborations. He even recently acquired a new client during a flight to the U.S., underlining the importance of personal connections in the legal profession.
Sharma places a strong emphasis on in-person client contact, despite the convenience technology offers to limit travel. He believes trust in the legal professional always arises from interpersonal relationships, and his efforts have not only brought in new clients but also maintained long-term business ties with established ones.
"UNH Franklin Pierce has played a pivotal role in connecting me with people," he emphasizes. "I continue to feel confident in assisting everyone across the globe and serving their legal needs."
In addition to his professional strides, Abhishek actively participates in networking events, including reunions at UNH Franklin Pierce. He attributes his ability to forge his own path to his time at the law school and considers his fellow UNH Franklin Pierce Alumni as family.
"I don’t want to see myself as just an Indian attorney anymore; I’m constantly working towards establishing myself as a global IP attorney," he asserts. “I am glad that I still wake up every day with the same zest and zeal towards my profession and hope to serve my clients for as long as I can make a difference to their lives," he concludes.
To learn more about how Abhishek leveraged his LLM to build a global IP practice, register here for the #Meet the Powerhouse virtual alum chat on January 18 at 7:30pm IST.
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