Alumni Spotlight: Reshama Patel (2016-2022; New York)

May 16, 2024

Cleary Gottlieb alumni often reflect upon their time at the firm with fondness and gratitude.

Reshama Patel (2016-2022; New York), Vice President and Assistant General Counsel at JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., shares some of her thoughts below.

When were you at Cleary, what group were you in, and why did you choose Cleary/the group?

I was at Cleary from 2016 to 2022 and in the Financial Institutions Group (FIG). I chose Cleary because the general reputation of the firm at my law school was that it was “alternative” and relaxed. I remember summering with the FIG group and thinking I had no idea what I was doing and had a lot to learn. That feeling never went away but it’s what kept me wanting to stay in the group and learn from the incredibly smart people in it.

What skills did you learn or experiences did you have at Cleary that have served you well?

I learned to question everything and issue spot, which helps in my new role as in-house counsel at JPMorgan covering digital asset initiatives. The law in the digital assets space is still emerging, so it’s helpful to know how to issue spot by drawing parallels/analogies to the traditional financial markets.

Do you have any favorite memories from your time at Cleary?

Members of our practice group went to a regulatory conference in Rome; it was a blast and a good way to get closer to folks in the group. Brandon Hammer gave us an epic one-day tour of his favorite spots (including Bonci pizza!). More generally, I made so many friends throughout the years at Cleary and will forever be grateful for those friendships made in the smaller, less distinctly memorable day-to-day moments.

After Cleary, you joined Gemini as Senior Corporate Counsel and transitioned to JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. as Vice President and Assistant General Counsel. In your current role – What do you enjoy most?

I love the people! The JPMorgan folks I get to interact with on a day-to-day basis are kind, smart and thoughtful and challenge me to be a better lawyer.

What’s the biggest misconception about your job?

I think I had the misconception of in-house roles as being super siloed. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by being able to work across many lines of business and constantly shift the type of work I’ve been doing here.

If you can share, what legal issues do you often need to consider?

The legal issues are similar to the ones that I considered as a FIG associate (commercial law, securities law analysis, product characterization, etc.) but my current role entails applying those same concepts and principles to a totally new technology and to new products/structures.

You currently work as digital assets counsel – have you always had an interest in working in this field or did your passion develop over time? What led you to enter this particular area of expertise?

I was in FIG as the practice around digital assets was growing pretty constantly and rapidly, so it naturally became more and more a part of my work over time. It was exciting to learn about the new blockchain technology, and so I kept following that desire to learn more about it.

What should associates consider when moving in-house?

For me, it was important to consider whether I’d be pigeonholed in the role or if the role felt broad and expansive. Fortunately, my role is the latter, and it’s been nice to cover a broad range of matters. Also, like any job (in-house or not), I think the quality of the people you will end up working with both on the legal and non-legal side matters the most!

What do you know now that you wish you knew as an associate?

I wish I didn’t get so lost in the weeds and made more time earlier on to learn about the broader financial markets. I didn’t start reading Matt Levine’s “Money Stuff” until I was a fourth year, but I wish I tuned into that kind of intel about what’s going on in markets earlier on.

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