Monica Boța Moisin is an ambitious lawyer on the pursuit of professional excellence and spiritual growth. With a double degree in French and Romanian Law from the Faculty of Law at the University of Bucharest and from Collège Juridique Franco-Roumain, Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, she is currently a junior associate at Biriș Goran SPARL a Bucharest based law firm.

Having completed a master’s degree at the University of Bucharest with a focus on international arbitration, she is currently working in obtaining a PhD in Law, with an interdisciplinary focus, proposing a research subject at the very crossroads of law, art and cultural studies: ‘The Romanian Blouse – country brand: national symbol – element of cultural property legally protected worldwide’. 

At the same time, with the support of the online community ‘La blouse roumaine’, Monica is coordinating the drafting of a legislative proposal on the recognition of IA (the Romanian Blouse) as a national symbol of Romania and country brand. How did you decide you wanted to be a lawyer? 

MM: I chose law because I wanted to step into my grandmother`s shoes. I didn`t know exactly what her job was all about but I wanted to be like her. My grandmother was the head of the Bihor Bar until she passed away in 1992. I was too young then to learn professional lessons from her, but her determination, sharpness, skill, and elegance are legendary. She`s been my inspiration and motivation. What kind of law do you practice and why did you choose this area?

MM: Currently, I practice primarily corporate law and Intellectual Property (IP). I chose IP out of passion and corporate law is the legal alphabet of entrepreneurship - start-ups, joint ventures, investment rounds etc. Knowing about them is insufficient; Knowing how to implement them is essential. I believe in dual specialization when it comes to emerging fields of law. What is something you wish you had known about the work of a lawyer before becoming one?

MM: Looking back after two years of legal practice I realise I knew almost nothing about the work of a lawyer before I actually became one. I think everything I have learned so far is part of the process and I am sure I will rediscover this profession year by year. Being a lawyer gives you a lot of freedom, meaning that most times it is you that must set the boundaries. Bob Dylan had a saying: ‘A hero is someone who understands the responsibility that comes with his freedom’. In that sense I wish I knew that being a lawyer is not about fancy suits and corner offices but a story of heroes and villains. What do you like best about your job?

MM: The versatility. What do you find the most challenging in your job?

MM: Finding the area of practice that suits one`s personality and way of thinking. Law requires a constant work of the mind. If the mind is ‘unhappy’, the whole edifice falls down. What are some pros and cons of pursuing a masters programme right after graduating

MM: It depends very much on the individual. There is no right or wrong or pros and cons. For me personally, the LLM (n.e.d in International Arbitration with the University of Bucharest, Law Faculty) right after graduation was an excellent professional stepping stone. It did imply juggling work with lectures, long hours at the office with writing essays and preparing for exams, but got me two major advantages – it opened the door of opportunities for doctoral post-graduate studies and catalysed my career choice between litigation and consultancy. Big, small, or boutique law firms? Which one do you think is the best place for young lawyers to start their careers?

MM: This is not a ‘one size fits all’ kind of answer. You want a pole position at the start of your career but that pole position is not limited to the ranking of the law firm, the amount billed/hour or the number of practice areas covered. Numerous elements must be taken into consideration for making a career choice so the key is asking questions and looking for the place that best fits your expectations. You are aiming to pursue a PhD in Intellectual Property (IP) Law. Why a PhD and why did you choose this subject?

MM: This PhD comes from an internal need to build on the knowledge and experience I accumulated so far. It is time for sedimentation metaphorically speaking. IP is my area of interest since law school. My bachelor degree is centred on IP in cinema and, since the last year of university, I have developed a socio-cultural trademark - ‘ReaDress’ - focused on fashion and IP education of Romanian designers and creators. Your area of research will be country brands. Why do you believe it is necessary to create such a right under IP Law?

MM: Each community has a symbol, an autochthonous element that is not only specific for that community but encompasses traditional know-how, values of the community, and a set of unwritten lessons to be passed on to future generations. 

Such elements should be secured through a mechanism that ensures authenticity, encourages creativity and innovation with respect of national identity, and translates economically the cultural value of tradition. As a legal concept, the country brand, as I envisage it, is a sui-generis form of intellectual property protection which pertains to the field of cultural intellectual property. Following a similar logic to that of the right to self-determination, the country band as a mechanism of intellectual property protection, grants its holder, namely the people – a community, a cultural intellectual property right susceptible of monetization, as well as all prerogatives specific to intellectual property rights in general. 

In the new age of the mix of cultures, country brands will become cultural identity matrixes. Why start from scratch when we are so rich in cultural knowledge and tradition? How is the increasingly accessible and present internet affecting IP Law and how do you think it will continue to in the future?

MM: Interconnectivity is reality. In a digitalized world, IP is a constant presence in everyday life. From the photo you`ve posted on Facebook to the shopping you are now doing online everything has an IP component. And this is not the peak of IP Law. New niches will emerge and a myriad of questions will require solutions. People are shifting to digitized identity. I know people saying ‘If you`re not on Facebook, you do not exist’.  What do you think about that?

MM: In 11 years of existence Facebook only has generated a treaty worth of legal issues and case-law on intellectual property. IP is expanding at high speed. What advice would you give a Law student who is still trying to discover which career path they should follow?

MM: To keep looking. Never settle. And it is in moments of greatest distress that enlightenment comes. The best success stories start with ‘After failing …. I was devastated. But I was soon going to find out that it was the best thing that had happened to me’. I am not saying that failure is a prerequisite to finding the right career path. I am saying that failure is not a dead-end but an opportunity. Law will always be one step behind reality, as it is humans that make laws contrary to the divine law theory. And this means that if you`re well centred in reality, with your feet on the ground and your head in the sky, you can foresee the way things will turn out, and choose wisely. Wise for yourself. 


This interview was originally published in the ninth issue of the magazine, which can be accessed here. 


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