Arpita Bhattacharyya, Ph.D.  is a partner who has been recognized as a WIPR Influential Women in IP  Trailblazer. She focuses on patent litigation, post-grant proceedings at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), and client counseling. She holds a bachelor's degree in electronics engineering from the S.V. National Institute of Technology, India, a master's degree in bioengineering from Clemson University, a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering from Boston University, and a J.D. from Northeastern University School of Law. Arpita was a student associate at Finnegan, working full-time, while attaining her law degree.

Can you tell us about your practice when you were a student associate and your current practice as a partner?
My practice has changed a lot over the years. As a student associate, I mostly did prosecution and counseling work. While I still maintain a counseling practice, 80-90% of my work currently is district court litigations and PTAB proceedings.

What were the best aspects of being a student associate and what are the best aspects of being a partner for you?
The best part of being a student associate was attending law school (I loved law school!). The best parts of my role as a partner are the opportunities for client development and growing my own practice. 

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Arpita as a student associate

What are some of the most important methods or initiatives for advancing partnership diversity and inclusion?
I think the biggest challenge in advancing partnership diversity is retaining diverse talents at the firm. Mentorship and leading by example can go a long way towards retaining associates with diverse backgrounds and experiences and thereby increasing partnership diversity. 

As a woman leader, what are some challenges you overcame during your career path?
Early in my career, I often used to worry about communicating my ideas or concerns for fear of not being heard. I had to overcome that fear and learn to be assertive in a diplomatic way as I advanced in my roles at the firm. 

"I am inspired most by the women attorneys who came before me who successfully navigated the complicated legal world and smashed the misconceptions and myths about women lawyers, and in doing so have created more opportunities for the next generation of women attorneys like me."

What do you want or need to learn?
In addition to growing my legal skill set, I'd like to learn how to successfully build consensus and collaboration within any team I am involved with, both at the firm and outside.

Who inspires you and why?
I am inspired most by the women attorneys who came before me who successfully navigated the complicated legal world and smashed the misconceptions and myths about women lawyers, and in doing so have created more opportunities for the next generation of women attorneys like me.

What advice would you give the next generations of women in intellectual property and current student associates?
Accept challenges and say "yes" to projects that may seem difficult at first. Don't let opportunities pass you by because you are afraid of failing. 

Where will we find you on a Saturday morning at 10:00 a.m.?
Out on a walk on the hills of my hometown of San Carlos, CA.

Introduction by Shannon Yi