Isheta T. Batra is an alumna of Symbiosis Law School, Noida and National University of Singapore. She is the founder of TrailBlazer Advocates.
She has been interviewed by EBC/SCC Online Student Ambassador who is currently pursuing law from HPNLU.
- Ma’am, could you please tell our readers a little bit about yourself?
Hello everyone, I am Isheta T. Batra. I have been an intellectual property (IP) professional for five years now. I did my graduation from Symbiosis Law School, Noida and then pursued an LLM from the National University of Singapore in Intellectual Property and Technological Law in 2017.
LLM was there on my list from the beginning, but the specialisation was something I had to decide and IP was something that rang the bell. Therefore, after my graduation, I decided to take a year in hand and worked at Scriboard [Advocates and Legal Consultants]. Working there helped me to be sure in my decision of being an intellectual property lawyer.
After my LLM, I joined S.S. Rana & Co. and stayed there for more than three years. And after that, this year I started my venture, the TrailBlazer Advocates.
- Ma’am, do you recall any incident that motivated you to choose law as a career?
There is one particular event that pushed me towards the law. I was in 10th standard, and like any other kid, I was figuring out my options for a suitable career. I come from a family of academicians but I wanted to do something different and my parents always gave me the liberty to make my own decisions. They have always been my strongest support and biggest critics. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank them.
One day, I met a friend of my father who was a successful advocate at that time. So that was the first time when I got a chance to closely know about the legal profession.
By nature, I am a curious person, who wants to know the how and why of everything and this was the career that would consistently challenge me to find my answers. Hence, I decided to pursue law.
- Ma’am, you hold LLM in IPR and technological law from the National University of Singapore, how was life at NUS?
My time at NUS was a blessing. I consider that the best time of my life. While pursuing LLM, I was not just learning about the law, but a lot of new things like international exposure, independent life, different cultures, etc.
At NUS how they teach is that they place all the students of bachelors and masters from different countries in a room. So it is not only about “learning law” but “learning law from the different perspectives” as the interpretations are coming from the different jurisdictions.
- Ma’am, do you consider that pursuing LLM from a foreign university has any advantage?
This would be very subjective. Let me share my experience. So when you choose LLM, the first question is which course to opt for and which university to go to? The question is not about India or abroad, it is about which university you want to go to. I had the offers for other universities in the US and UK as well, but then I chose NUS because the course structure of NUS in IPR was the best and close to what I wanted. The second question is about finances. LLM would be heavy on your pocket, hence one has to be careful about which place they choose. The third thing is exposure, I went to NUS because I wanted to widen my horizon.
- What is the process of admission at NUS and its requirements/qualifications?
There are some basic requirements when you plan for LLM from abroad. The NUS does not have a one-on-one interview system, it is only the documents on which your selection depends. The first thing is the letter of recommendations (LOR), NUS asks for two LOR. The second thing is the statement of purpose (SOP). It the most important document that you submit, because it represents you before the selecting authority. So your SOP should clearly convey why do you want to study law? How capable you are? Why should this particular university choose you? The third thing is transcript and degree. The final thing is your IELTS score. There are different English language examinations which you have to take when going abroad for studies i.e. TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) and IELTS (International English Language Testing System). Some universities accept TOEFL and some universities accept IELTS and some accept both. And the remaining requirements for the process of admission depend upon the university you are going to. It is important to check the website of the university that you choose to go to.
- Could you please tell a bit about your law school journey at Symbiosis Law School, Noida?
Those were the five most important years of my life. My batch of the year 2010-2015 was the first batch to pass out from the SLS, Noida. It was special also because I as a student and the college were growing at the same time. My law school had a distinct place in my heart. Our professors always told us to believe in what we are and be opinionated. Today I am an IP professional and much of its credit goes to the Director of my college, Dr Chandrashekhar Rawandale, whose guidance helped in finding the right path.
- Please share your experience at S.S. Rana & Co., which is a leading IP law firm, where you worked for a period of more than 3 years.
It was a learning experience. I got the chance to work with the senior management, which compelled me to work hard because many a times when I went with a solution, there was a better one waiting for me. I got opportunities to interact with people having years of experience, which helped me to groom myself. I also worked with the different departments which helped me add many skills necessary for my professional journey as a lawyer.
- Ma’am, when did you get the motivation to establish your own law firm? Did you face any challenges?
It is a common saying that behind every successful man there is a woman. In my life, it has been the opposite. All the strong and best decisions that I have taken till now, there has always been a man behind those decisions. When I decided to pursue law, my father was the push. Going for LLM and becoming IP professional, my college’s Director was the push. This whole idea of starting a venture was a push given by my husband Mr Tuhin Batra, who is also the partner in the firm. After working with S.S. Rana for a good time I wanted to take a step further, my husband suggested that instead of going for a new job, start your venture. It was his confidence that made me believe in myself and I took the plunge.
Starting your venture has its pros and cons. The best thing is you are your boss. But this comes with a responsibility, as now you will be directly responsible for your action. And as a lawyer, people will act as per your opinion. So you have to be very sure at each step you take. Every day brings a new challenge and new learning.
- What would be your advice to the law students regarding networking?
Although there are no rules to networking as such, my advice would be to do their internship properly. Most of the time students do not realise the importance of internships. An internship is the best time to network, to do mistakes, and learn from them. Law school can only teach you about the law but how to implement it in the practical world is what an internship teaches. When you are interning, you would be surrounded by lawyers, and so you can go and speak to different lawyers.
The second important thing is LinkedIn, give your opinion, talk about the issues, and write articles. Once people start noticing your work then you can connect to some of the best minds in the country. Mostly every professional is there on LinkedIn.
The third is to participate in the conferences and other events and talk to the people there.
- What is your opinion on Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021?
The intent with which these IT Rules, 2021 are introduced is great. While dealing with issues like fake news; misinformation; cybercrime against children and women on digital platforms; the rules are setting up stringent norms for intermediaries like setting up a dispute resolution mechanism for content removal, introducing compliance reports, etc.
However, the way it is drafted is ambiguous. Further, several concerns have been raised by the stakeholders which include – traceability and privacy issue, onerous compliance requirements, restrains on free speech, etc.
Intermediary liability has been a topic of discussion for some time now. IT Rules, 2021 have set the ball rolling and discussions are now happening at a larger scale. It will be interesting to see how its implementation unveils.
- What is your take on the compulsory licensing of the Covid-19 vaccines?
I think that compulsory licensing is the solution right now, looking at the debate around vaccine pricing and its availability. We have a less number of vaccines and a large population to inoculate. We are amid a pandemic and it is not the time to think about the investment that has gone into because there is a larger public interest involved.
But at the same time, there is another important issue that needs to be tackled which is counterfeiting, it has increased immensely during the pandemic. Hence, it has to be ensured that any step taken should not give a free hand to these counterfeiters to produce fake vaccines.