Growing up in India, Arohi Kashyap wanted to become a doctor — until high school, when her mother Abha started law school and gushed about it.
“She’d talk to me about the cases, the material, the professors,” Arohi recalls. “One day, she took me with her — I learned about my right to freedom of speech, how to differentiate between direct and circumstantial evidence … I saw the passion my mother had and started to feel it myself.”
Mother and daughter now work together at Kashyap Partners and Associates LLP in New Delhi — and in January they began another shared legal experience as students in Berkeley Law’s LL.M. Program. While pursuing different curriculum paths (Abha is focused on intellectual property law, Arohi on business law), they strike a common chord describing their new adventure.
“I was apprehensive about taking classes on Zoom, but the experience has been incredible so far,” Abha says. “The professors are extraordinary — truly the top in their field but so down to earth, approachable, and dedicated to make this a fulfilling experience.”
For Arohi, “no other program had a chance — Berkeley was it.” Citing the school’s “incredible courses, professors, LL.M. Program staff members, pro bono opportunities, and journals,” she says, “I’ve learned more in this short time than I could have ever expected.”
Now her firm’s managing partner, Abha — a UC Riverside graduate with business degrees from the University of Massachusetts and Harvard — sees the irony of not taking an optional computer class back in high school.
“I thought I.T. was a fad which would pass. Why waste my time on it?” she says. “Now, over 35 years later, I’m working online, and studying for my Berkeley Law LL.M. online, on a computer, to learn more about technology and IP law. Who knew?”
These days, her firm helps expand client corporations through cross-border mergers and acquisitions between India and the U.S. During the pandemic, more clients have wanted to establish online pharmacies, add online functionality to existing pharmaceutical operations, and branch into telemedicine.
“Providing medical services or pharmaceuticals over the internet is a nascent legal area in India that involves several overlapping statutes and regulations,” Abha explains. “We must keep updating ourselves regularly with the multitude of e-commerce, e-pharma, and telemedicine legislations.”
Arohi also enjoys the international nature of her firm’s work — and of her new LL.M. experience. Taking classes with students from all over the world, she says, “expands your thought process and the way you approach problems, and also makes you understand the impact of every global action.”
Any mother-daughter competition along this academic journey together?
“Our competitive behavior is mostly reserved for who drinks the most coffee in a day,” Arohi says. “I am proud to say, I’m losing by an excess of about seven large cappuccinos.”
— Andrew Cohen