Businesses fighting class actions or enforcing arbitration agreements face fewer obstacles to both because of the strategic drafting and litigating skills of Archis Parasharami. Co-chairman of Mayer Brown's consumer litigation and class action practice, Parasharami, 35, laid the early groundwork for the business community's major victory last term in the U.S. Supreme Court — defeating a challenge to an arbitration agreement's class action waiver provision in AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion.
The AT&T case, which Parasharami considers the "signal achievement" of his past seven years with the firm, is a classic example of his work. "We helped the company think through how to create a fairer alternative to class action litigation," said Parasharami, whose parents emigrated from India in the 1970s. "We advised it on how to draft the arbitration agreement and then litigated the issues all over the country. The experience of handling a portfolio of cases, having an eye on potentially obtaining Supreme Court review and being part of a superb team here that obtained that success has been a fantastic experience."
A 2001 Harvard Law School graduate, Parasharami has contributed to the development of class action law through briefs submitted in other key Supreme Court cases, such as last term's Wal-Mart v. Dukes, but most often finds himself in federal district courts. "What I view as part of consumer litigation is to try to problem-solve for our clients by a combination of brief writing, talking about strategy, how to handle a case pretrial, and often seeding the issues for appellate review," he said.
He also does a variety of pro bono work with a current focus on human rights issues. Parasharami "is literally firing on all cylinders," said partner Evan Tager.— Marcia Coyle