Team Educality was extremely delighted to interview one of India's leading lawyers in the field of Intellectual Property and Internet Laws. Mr Rodney D Ryder in this interview was very kind enough to answer our questions through email. Below are the questions the we put across and the answers that he wrote. It is pertinent to mention that Mr Ryder has also accepted our invitation to become a member of the Advisory Board of Educality.
Yes, I was born in Calcutta, a beautiful and warm city, though I have but a hazy recollection of the early time spent there. My family relocated to Allahabad from Delhi, when I was around three years old. I had an interesting childhood. Growing up in Delhi, Faridabad and Noida was immense fun! Wonderful memories! Many friendships from school endure! Great memories! Being part of a family that has its roots in Allahabad, I was fortunate enough to travel to the historical and beautiful city to visit my grandparents during the school vacations. Our home is very close to the High Court at Allahabad.
In the early days at medical school, I realized that medical career was not the one that enchanted me, even though I had worked hard and secured admission to a great programme at one of the top medical colleges. I left Medical college to pursue the liberal arts to the obvious horror of my family and those who knew me then! History has always fascinated me. It is an enduring passion. I was fortunate to gain admission at St. Stephen’s College. Interestingly, in many ways, those days were to shape the person and the lawyer I was to become.
The course at St Stephen’s College was a complete learning experience. I was fortunate to be taught by some of the finest minds in India. I obtained the first position in the course at the University – along with a gold medal! But studies wasn’t all, I did find time for my ‘other’ core interests like literature, art, medieval architecture and photography. Those interests continue till today and always will. I am lucky to have always managed time to pursue them.
Your journey in Law involved you writing books at an early age and also teaching. What made you decide to take writing and eventually into the exciting world of Cyber and Intellectual Property?
I started my career as a litigation and corporate lawyer, but was gradually drawn towards a specialiasation in technology and IP. I wrote and analysed core issues through law school and continue that approach through my years as a practitioner. Looking back, it was an important time in the evolution of technology law. I did take the opportunity to write a few books and participate in legal academic research but most importantly encourage others to write! I realize that I have been fortunate to have practiced technology, new media and intellectual property law for nearly two decades now.
Setting up the practice. How did you become a legal entrepreneur?
I have always believed that law is a profession that allows an individual to explore many paths, often simultaneously and contribute in many ways. Early, almost at the start of my career, I decided that I would explore every avenue available and contribute in every way that I could. Each facet of ‘legal practice’ contributes to the making of a ‘complete’ legal professional. Writing and teaching has made me a better legal practitioner and continue to help me to focus, as a student should. Conversely, as a practitioner, my contribution to educating and mentoring young lawyers has an academic and practical solution based focus.
What are your views on online legal education and our efforts in building an online legal ecosystem?
It is important that legal education is available to every one; especially non-lawyers. Legal awareness has a direct correlation to strengthening the rule of law and equality across every divide that exists in our society. The law should uphold every citizen’s right and function as a strategic tool for all, not just managers and lawyers. The powerful medium of the Internet is important for the dissemination of legal learning. I feel it is important for every institution to take advantage of the technology available today to reach out, connect and educate every Indian. Online education will empower many young people under the Digital India initiative launched by the Government of India.