In Conversation With Shivaarti Bajaj, Founding Managing Partner, RSD Bajaj Global

In this candid conversation with BW Legal World, Ms. Bajaj talks about her journey in the legal profession, her role as the Head of Practice of intellectual property rights, data privacy, TMT and Emerging technologies at RSD Bajaj Global and much more

How has been your initial reaction after joining the elite club of BW Legal World 40 Under 40 Lawyers and Legal Influencers? How was your experience interacting with the Jury and of the event? 

Receiving accolades and awards is always encouraging . More so for young lawyers in general, especially a ‘first-generational lawyer’s’ such as myself. Towards my contribution in the last 15 plus years to the field of IPRs (Intellectual Property Rights) & Data Privacy and TMT (Technology, Media, Telecom) amongst others. As well as for my legal entrepreneurship journey of scaling a law firm, in capacity of being the Co-Founding Managing Partner, RSD Bajaj Global Law Firm. 

Having covered the ground of knowledge, an imperative and on-going exercise in this filed, and with few years of experience by virtue of pure hard work, one is able to “break the ceiling” on multiple fronts by way of such recognition/s. A profession wherein recognition and success is many a times measured more so with “years/time spend”. Awards like ‘BW Legal 40 Under 40 Awards’ carry the credibility  to highlight young legal talent.  

Regarding my experience of interacting with the jury and of the event for this award, the whole process of conducting and the shortlisting process and the interview, Q&A session/s is very transparent and meritorious which has been inculcated by way of the BW team in terms of the process and an equal strive on part of the learned panel of Judges both in terms of effort and time extended by the Jury. To have a Jury from the likes of Late Mr. Rajiv Luthra, Pinky Anand, Dr. GV Rao, Ms. Sonal Basu, Mr. Mohit Saraf, Dr. Anurag Batra himself, amongst others. To keep strict discipline on its merit, transparency of the process and credibility of the jury, and in my experience makes me believe that ‘BW Legal 40 Under 40 Awards’ because of its current discipline on merit, transparency of the process and credibility has all ingredients for this award becoming a ‘legacy award’ for recognition of young talent in legal field.  

Lastly, since we are on the jury, would want to add that this ‘BW Legal 40 Under 40 Awards 2022’ will always remain in my memories, since this also gave me the unique opportunity of interaction with  Late Shri Rajiv Luthra, probably one of his last jury award that of BW 40 under 40, 2022. He, was  an eminent jury member amongst others very eminent members at my panel. At the Q&A session held by BW he asked few very thought provoking questions on IPRs (Intellectual Property Rights) & Data Privacy considering this is my subject matter expertise and he been part of various leading policy initiatives in this field of law. At the end of that, his endorsement on my talent & blessings will be special. May his soul rest in peace.  

Please walk us through your journey in this field of law? When did you first realize that law was your life’s calling? 

Having Done my Masters in Biotechnology and allied Sciences, and coming from an Indian Air Force (defence) family background, and as a first generational lawyer, pursuing law and to build our firm has been an experience of immense learning. With always a keen interest in the language of law, debates, history and a penchant for reading and analytical reasoning, having to progress into becoming a full-fledged lawyer was a natural one post that.   

From this to being recruited directly and to begin my journey in the field of law, with the guidance and mentorship of Dr. Vidya Sagar, Founding Managing Partner, Remfry & Sagar and the Father of Intellectual Property Rights in India, was truly a turning point in my journey to becoming a lawyer. It was this fine amalgamation of the knowledge & experience of science with that of law that contributes in the field of IPR and emerging technology as a practice area. Thus, the contribution to the filed of law.  

There is a lot to do as the journey has just begun but I always feel that one has to take bold steps to make a difference for themselves. For us as a generation, we are at a cross-raid of  a economy and times wherein if you have merit, it shall prevail with the right kind of hard work and perseverance to back it with.  

If I have to summarize my journey until now, which although I feel in the words of Robert frost, “I have miles to go before I sleep.”   

But I uphold this to the another very veracious lines, again by Robert Frost, which state that -  “Two roads diverged in a wood and I – I took the one less travelled by, and that has made all the difference.” 

— Robert Frost 

Who according to you has been your guide and mentor in this illustrious journey as a lawyer?

Albeit I truly believe that the journey has just begun, but I would like to mention here that the ‘Father of IPRs in India’, Late Shri Dr. Vidya Sagar has been a very strong guide and influence in my journey till now. Dr. Sagar’s guidance for the initial few years has been momentous in my journey to be a lawyer. 

Late Shri Dr. Sagar, was a personality of charm, grace and truly a visionary leader with an astute legal acumen , who actively professionally worked till the age of 80 years+ with the energy surpassing many a youth. Apart from being a learned lawyer and a top IPR (Intellectual Property) lawyer of India amongst other practice areas, he was one of the finest entrepreneurship minds that Indian legal industry has had. I had the good fortune of starting my career in the field of IPRs under his overall mentorship, and his active mentorship / guidance all the way along with the many of my senior learned partners and lawyers.  

Please help us understand the practice areas you deal in and the diverse array of work you handle? Which industries does your practice cater to mostly and which sector of the economy does your advisory service cover? 

Currently, I work in a dual capacity of being the co-founding managing partner of a leading emerging law firm (RSD Bajaj Global law firm), as well as being the Head of Practice of intellectual property rights, data privacy, TMT and Emerging technologies amongst others at the law firm.  

Our law firm RSD Bajaj Global Law is a full service law firm and has been awarded as the best emerging law firm in India in 2023 by BW Legal. The firm is in the new economy space and doing some cutting edge deals and advancement of jurisprudence in the new economy space, therefore, needless to mention that would be driving the same. Therefore, one tends to dabble between two hats, one that of a legal entrepreneur and the second that of a  lawyer.  

Apart from this, I had the good fortune to be at the helm of the policy making in the above practices of laws. For example, recently, I have contributed to the Digital Personal Data Protection Act, and the Digital India Bill. This Act, will also be part of process contributing to other significant upcoming legislations in this field, such as, the Digital India Bill which intends to replace the existing IT Act, the Digital Competition Law Bill and more. Furthermore, since we are a leading firm in the new economy space, therefore, we have a very strong M&A practice, Corporate practice, TMT practice apart from that we have also advised various shark tank deals and various companies which have turned into unicorns. Hence, TMT will be another area which I practice. 

Do you believe that AI and Technology will supersede the lawyering skills in the coming times, especially with the recent hype around ChatGPT and other AI softwares? 

As I mentioned that our firm is an emerging law firm with special expertise in AI and technology. Therefore, it really is a pleasure to answer this question since we have seen and understood technology deeply as well as the technology models & businesses and how the law has evolved. In my view is very clear on this that AI and technology will aid lawyers to increase their efficiency and productivity as well as law firms and to help them win. However, the contemplation of machines overtaking lawyers is an event where I would say if this is to happen that the machines start overtaking the world, then lawyers will be the last one to go because at the end of the day the legal system requires a human interface to enforce and discuss a matter or case at hand. But yes, it’s a tool that will empower and enhance the lawyering skills in general as long at they are developed in a fashion to be in line with the legal systems.  

What are you doing if not lawyering? What are your hobbies in general? And as  a parting note, would you please recommend a favourite book that left a lasting impression on you? What has been your most recent read? 

Hobbies entail a few creative passions such as writing amongst other things. A few sports & yoga blends also interest me a lot apart from spending time with family and friends.  

Being an avid reader there are a few books that have left an impression and on my list. One being zero to one by Peter Thiel, since it talks about risks and the fine tuning of life to take them and I think in this new India, anybody who is trying to grow, whether as a lawyer or as an entrepreneur or both, as I believe this book will leave a lasting impression, and; The art of thinking clearly by Rolf Dobelli, amongst others.  

My current read is not only an interesting one but also a book that walks one through the chambers and experiences of the times and life of the legal doyen, Mr. Soli Sorabjee. The read being, his biography - Soli Sorabjee Life and Times by Abhinav Chandrachud. 

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