© Emmanuelle Bodiot
As a specialist in complex international M&A cases for Skadden, Arash Attar-Rezvani has become a master in the art of balance.
Mohamed Ali, glancing over the ring. It’s impossible to miss the beautiful black and white print hung in his office. “My father is a photographer. He used to take us to museums and galleries every Saturday,” recalls Arash Attar-Rezvani. This artistic appreciation is displayed sparingly on his walls and occupies a prominent place on his shelves, where monographs by Martin Parr and Josef Koudelka sit alongside legal publications and codes. What could seem at first sight like a large and somewhat incongruous split between two worlds which are poles apart is in fact a way of life for the lawyer, who has made this search for a balance in life his mantra.
A skilled juggler
Born in France to Iranian parents, close to his brothers of Jamaican origin and married to a Colombian woman, Arash Attar-Rezvani has learnt to juggle various cultures and four different languages. It was this openness to the world which naturally predestined him to an international career. He simply had to identify his route. “While I was still in high school, an advisor guided me towards law. I’ve been counting my blessings for it ever since,” he explains. It was a choice which seemed out of place in a family of artists, but one which presented him with the advantage of combining an intellectual challenge with a practical mind. Always this famous balance. Listening to him, more than just a high-flying education, his studies in Paris, Leiden, Oxford and Columbia have allowed him to quench a thirst for meeting new people. “There I rubbed shoulders with intellectual authorities, olympic champions, the true alliance of body and mind. It really was an unparalleled profusion.”
Proving them wrong
Arriving as an intern at Skadden at the age of 23, he continued his learning, sometimes the hard way. “The law firm made us aware of our responsibilities straight away. With another junior, we managed to successfully see through an IPO in the field of new technologies.” The all-nighters which characterized the seven months of this first experience would surely have discouraged many. Arash was, on the contrary, convinced he had found his place. It’s an intuition which has been proved right after more than 15 years working for the firm, especially coming from a generation renowned for hopping from one job to another. He likely owes this longevity to his ability to know when to break off all ties and leave behind his hectic and highly connected Parisian lifestyle. “Isolation is an awakening,” confirms Arash, who never hesitates to spend his holidays in the most remote locations, the Amazon rainforest or Eastern Siberia for example. “After long walks, finding oneself right in the middle of the taiga, singing the Marseillaise beneath the Milky Way, all while protecting ourselves from the bears, it’s simply unimaginable.”
Despite the rhythm of his work, Arash Attar-Rezvani wouldn’t change his job for anything, he’s too attached to the independence it affords him. He does concede that a career allowing him to spend more time with his family could tempt him. Is he interested in politics? “Yes, of course.” And he clarifies that his true commitment is only political in the etymological sense. Logical for an ancient history enthusiast also heavily involved in voluntary work. With so many different things on the go, it’s difficult to believe that he is still able to allow himself a few evenings dedicated to Netflix. But Arash is upfront about this, finding himself regularly struck down with “Avengers syndrome.”