Leila Seth’s story sounds impossible, even if it were being told today…
“It all happened 60 years ago. She was the first woman to top the UK bar exams, while she had a baby at home. A successful career in law, then rising up to become the first woman chief justice of a state court – all this while being a loving parent and spouse, and she always had time for others. We knew that this is a life that needs to be remembered, a story that should be told and re-told. But we also knew that Justice Seth wouldn’t want any empty memorialising. So, whatever we created had to honour her memory and keep her spirit alive in a proactive way.”
Shireen Irani, Founder and Trustee, iProbono
iProbono launched the Justice Leila Seth Fellowship (JLSF) in 2021 – to empower a new generation of lawyers committed to social justice.
Co-chaired by her children – Vikram, Shantum, and Aradhana Seth, and with her friend and Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen as Patron, the JLSF distinguishes the remarkable life and legacy of an advocate and judge. Justice Seth was a champion of human rights, and her work inspired many lawyers to dedicate their careers to upholding these principles.
This 18-month programme builds a cohort of exceptional lawyers who understand what it takes to create positive change in our society. Selected fellows join a wider movement committed to social justice while working at iProbono’s Delhi office, with secondments to partner organisations in India and mentoring by iProbono and our community of dedicated advocates.
The Short Film
In this short film, iProbono Founder and Trustee Shireen Irani and Managing Director of iProbono and Director of the Fellowship Mariam Faruqi tell us about the inspiration behind the fellowship.
The first Justice Leila Seth Fellow, Krishna Sharma, talks about how the fellowship will inform and influence his work going forward, and this year’s Fellows – Shalanki Prasad and Gowri Reghunath – tell us what they expect to gain from the program in 2023.
“I am looking forward to the litigation experience that I will gain through this fellowship. I plan to join the judicial services and the advocacy work at iProbono will help me understand how laws are implemented at the ground level. The exposure I gain through this fellowship will prepare me for the role of a judicial officer.”
Gauri Reghunath, JLSF 2023-2024
“I am keen on working closely on issues of child rights, criminal law and access to justice. The holistic exposure this fellowship provides not only to the workings of courts, but also other avenues of research and advocacy will initiate me into human-rights lawyering and enable my growth as an empathetic, aware and capable lawyer in the social-impact domain.”
Shalanki Prasad, JLSF 2023-2024.