An Interview with Urvi Shrivastava (Assistant Professor of Law at Symbiosis Law School, Pune.)

1. How would you like to introduce yourself to our readers?

Greetings dear readers!

In brief I would describe myself as a teacher by passion and profession. Originally, I hail from a small town in Chhattisgarh called Bilaspur wherein I finished my schooling. I pursued my Graduation and Post-Graduation degree from Bharati Vidyapeeth Deemed University, Pune and Symbiosis Law School, Pune respectively. Post my Law Graduation I was placed in Clutch Group, Bangalore through campus placement, I worked there as an Associate Attorney for 1.5 years, after that I worked with Credit Suisse India Services Pvt. Ltd., Pune as an Exempt Non-officer in the General Counsel Department. My role there involved drafting and negotiating Confidentiality Agreements with the clients and the investors. However, a nine-hour desk job was not suitable for me and my passion for academia made me quit my job and move to study post-graduation. I specialized in Innovation, Technology and Intellectual Property Laws and then started working as an Asst. Professor, at present I am associated with Symbiosis Law School, Pune.

2. What inspired you to choose law as your career?

I was a rebellious kid and would rebel against any gender based inequality since childhood, I never knew how did I learn the concept of equality at such tender age in sans social media era but I followed it. I read a lot of news about rape, sexual harassment, domestic violence and crimes against women which motivated me to do something about it, learn about the laws. It was not a cakewalk, I had no mentor to guide me into choosing a good law school, majority of my batch mates chose engineering/medical, my parents wanted the same for me but I convinced them somehow and landed up in the law school.

3. Tell us a bit about your study time during college life.

My college life was a mixture of fun and struggle. Since my background was Science based, learning and writing Arts subjects was a unique experience, however I worked hard and was a sincere student throughout my college life. My Graduation school provided me with lots of opportunities to intern with Courts, NGOs and Law firms. Towards my 3rd year I got intrigued by Intellectual Property Laws and I pursued the subject. My post-graduation taught me in detail about research and legal writing and trained me for my career in research and academia. Both the law schools were completely different in their approach and strategy but I learnt a great deal from both.

4. What areas of law fascinated you the most?

As mentioned above Intellectual Property Laws fascinated me, however the subject wasn’t taught till the final year in my law school hence, I started pursuing a Diploma in Intellectual Property Laws in the 3rd year of my law school, apart from that I interned in several Law firms practicing in IP to understand the practical aspect of the subject, I also took up the subject as my specialization in Masters which accorded me with an in-depth knowledge of the subject. Apart from allied IPR subjects, other subjects like Law of Contracts, Law of Torts, Family Law also interests me. I have been teaching these subjects also apart from IP laws as a professor. Other specific laws which have fascinated me are Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 and Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act, 2013.

5. How important do you think mooting or any co-curricular activity is in shaping one’s future career in law?

I think mooting or any other co-curricular activity is a crucial part of a law student’s life. Activities like mooting, parliamentary debates, Mock MUNs etc. hones the researching as well as debating skills of the students. Classroom based knowledge is 80% theoretical in nature, so to prepare yourself for future it is important that you participate in these activities. Apart from the aforementioned skills, it also promotes confidence, reduces stage fright and improves communication and articulation skills, these are the ‘must haves’ for a prospective successful lawyer. Further, there is one activity which is highly underrated especially during Graduation I.e. Research Paper Writing or Article Writing. I think that, the students should be guided as early as in 2nd year of law school to start writing a research paper and go for publications, as legal writing or drafting is vital skill in this profession.

6. Did you ever had an internship experience during your college and how much internship is important for a law student?

I have had various internship experiences during my law school. I have explored different areas too, in the beginning years I started with Internships under practicing advocates to learn the basic functioning of a court, duties and responsibilities of an Advocate, court mannerism etc. Then I slowly moved on to NGO based internship, it was a different but great experience, I think at least one NGO internship should be taken up by every law student to learn about and work on social issues. After I decided to pursue IP laws, I interned with various law firms practicing in the field of IP, the firms varied from tier 1 to tier 3 too, because I wanted to learn the whole process from registration to enforcement of Intellectual Property. During these internships I have been from trademark registry to High Courts and the experience was diverse but equally important.

7. What should be the prime concern of a law student?

Well, there cannot be one prime concern of a law student, they can groom themselves and learn in abundance throughout their student life that it cannot be contained in a single term. I know majority of students are chasing a decent CGPA which is helpful but not as much as being knowledgeable, a good articulator and an avid reader and researcher. If you read enough it will eventually result in a good CGPA, in fact majority of law schools have now moved on from traditional Q&A pattern to testing analytical and problem solving capacity of a student. These skills can only be achieved by holistic development, students should partake in all kind of activities from debate to extempore, moot court competitions to publications, internships to research, in short, seize all the opportunities, be active throughout your law school, in classes and outside the class too. Also, never forget to enjoy your college life because it is lengthy road ahead of you.

8. The best experience and success habit you would like to share with law students to encourage them.

I have had several good experiences during my law school, but my best experience was when I finally joined a College as an Asst. Professor. It was conducting my first class, since I am incredibly passionate about this field, teaching my first class was the best experience I have had, I was obviously nervous but post the successful conclusion of the class I felt elated and contented. The few success habits which students should attempt to pursue are: first is consistency, any work done with consistency will certainly lead to success, second is develop the habit of public speaking, if you can’t right away stand on a stage and speak, take smaller steps like involving in a debate/discussion with a group of friends and gradually move forward, third is ardent reading, like it or not, any profession you choose within the legal industry will require you to read a bunch. These three habits will certainly guide you towards victory, practice and preach them!

9. Lastly, what final piece of advice do you want to pass on to the readers of the Law Corner?

The final piece of advice I want to furnish to the readers is very clichéd, in simple terms I would say “love what you do”. You will only be good at your job if you love what you do, don’t just pursue the profession to earn money, love and dedication is the way to accomplishing the best. I would have never survived the corporate jobs as I wasn’t passionate but every class I teach imparts an adrenalin rush and this rush keeps me going. Also, do not get disheartened by small failures, it is normal and part and parcel of any professional life. Just keep going, be consistent with your efforts and always keep smiling.

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