Arthur J. Gajarsa

Senior Counsel

Arthur Gajarsa is a senior counsel in the Litigation/Controversy Department and a member of the Intellectual Property Litigation Practice. He joined the firm in 2012.

Prior to joining WilmerHale, Judge Gajarsa had a long and distinguished career in the judiciary. He was nominated to the Federal Circuit in 1996 by President Clinton, confirmed by the US Senate in 1997 and served for 15 years, retiring in June 2012. Prior to his appointment, Judge Gajarsa was a well-recognized litigator who also practiced corporate law, intellectual property, environmental law, securities law and general litigation with various law firms as a partner or principal officer in Washington DC. His career includes service at the Department of Commerce, Department of the Interior and Department of Defense.

Judge Gajarsa has represented Native American tribal interests for whom he made several appearances before the US Supreme Court. From 1972 to 1986, he was a Partner in several law firms based in Washington DC and New York City, including as a Managing Partner of the Washington DC office of the international law firm Marks & Murase from 1981 to 1986, where he continued his international, intellectual property and corporate law interests. In 1987, he joined the firm of Joseph, Gajarsa, McDermott & Reiner, P.C., where he continued his international and corporate law interests, including an expansive representation of Native American tribal interests.

After graduation from law school, Judge Gajarsa served as a law clerk for the Honorable Joseph J. McGarraghy of the US District Court in Washington DC. In 1968, he became an associate in the office of the General Counsel of Aetna Life & Casualty. Secretary of the Interior, Walter J. Hickel, and Commissioner of Indian Affairs, Louis R. Bruce, subsequently appointed him in 1969 as a special counsel to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs at the Department of the Interior. He remained in that position until 1971.

Community Involvement

Due to his active participation in international affairs and his activities with the Italian American community, including his participation as one of the founders of the National Italian American Foundation in 1976, serving as its general counsel and as its president, as well as its vice chairman until 1996, Judge Gajarsa was honored by the Republic of Italy in 1995 with the Order of Commendatore for his extensive efforts to improve relations between the United States and Italy. He was also awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award by the National Italian American Foundation and the Sons of Italy Educational Foundation in 2010.

Professional Activities

Judge Gajarsa was elected to the Board of Directors of Supreme Industries, a public corporation in 2012. He has been a member of the Georgetown University Board of Regents and the Board of Directors of Georgetown University, where he chaired the Law and Audit Committees and was a member of its Executive Committee. He also taught courses in Constitutional Law and Intellectual Property Law as an adjunct professor at Georgetown University Law Center from 1997–2022. He is now the jurist in residence at the University of New Hampshire Law School teaching courses in Intellectual Property and Federal Indian Law. The American Inn of Court at the University of New Hampshire has been named in his honor as The Arthur J. Gajarsa American Inn of Court. Judge Gajarsa was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Law Degree from the University of New Hampshire in 2013.

Since 1994, Judge Gajarsa has served on the Board of Trustees of Rensselaer serving from 1998–2010 as the Vice Chair and since 2011 as the Chairman of the Board. In October of 2002, he was appointed to serve as a member of the International Relations Committee of the Judicial Conference by the Chief Justice of the United States. As a member of this Committee, Judge Gajarsa continued to pursue his interest in programs for the Rule of Law and participated in numerous international judicial education programs in the US as well as Europe and the far East. He was appointed to serve on the Advisory Board for the Federal Circuit by the Chief Judge of the Federal Circuit.

Judge Gajarsa has been active throughout his career serving on many nonprofit boards, including the American University of Rome, the Institute of Contemporary Culture, the Foundation for Improving Understanding of the Arts, the John Carroll Society, the Rensselaer Newman Foundation and Outward Bound, USA.


Judge Gajarsa has received many awards over the years. He is a recipient of the Jefferson Medal of New Jersey Intellectual Property Law Association for extraordinary contributions to the field of intellectual property law. He is the recipient of the Outstanding Public Service Award in recognition of his lifetime pursuit for the administration of justice presented by the New York Intellectual Property Law Association. He also received the Eli Whitney Award from the Connecticut Intellectual Property Law Association and the Boston Patent Law Association for his outstanding contributions to law and was also recognized as a National Merit Scholar with the Bausch & Lomb Medal, along with the City of Boston Benjamin Franklin Award.

In 1974, he received the John F. Kennedy award for his work with Native Americans. Judge Gajarsa has also received numerous awards from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, being recognized by his alma mater with the Sun & Balance Medal, the Key Alumni Award, the Albert Fox Demers award and the Distinguished Service Award—the highest honor bestowed by Rensselaer.

He has also received numerous awards from Georgetown University, including the Paul R. Dean Award and the 2016 John Carroll Award—the highest honor bestowed by the Georgetown University Alumni Association. He was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Law Degree from Georgetown University in 2012.

Insights & News


  • Education

    • JD, Georgetown University Law Center, 1967

    • MA, Catholic University of America, 1968

    • BS, Electrical Engineering, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 1962

  • Admissions

    • Massachusetts

    • District of Columbia

    • US Patent and Trademark Office

  • Clerkships

    • The Hon. Joseph McGarraghy, US District Court for the District of Columbia, 1967 - 1968



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