LexTalk World (ClickAway Creators) gets into a one to one tete` with Mr Sarosh Zarwalla, Managing Partner of Zaiwalla & Co, from UK. Zaiwalla & Co are renowned Solicitors based out of UK and they are also the Solicitors for the Indian High Commission, Government of India.
In this 30 minutes session with Mr Zaiwalla, he talks about himself, his early Bombay days as a student and his career progression having started in this profession with just 60 Pounds and established the prestigious firm with a Global client base with an impressive success rate of about 85% to 90% in all their cases making them the most sought after Solicitor Firm in UK. Mr Zaiwalla achieved all of that with sheer grit, a deeper understanding of the Legal profession, ingenuity, honesty and sincerity.
He worked with some of the most illustrated professionals, leaders yet he is a person who is extremely grounded and down to Earth.
Host: Welcome to Lex Talk World, organized by Click Away Creators. We have a very special guest with us today. He was the first Solicitor born outside of Europe to start a Law firm in the one square mile of the district of London in the year 1982. He has been named in GQ, UK's 100 most connected men in 2016. He's a former member of the International Court of Arbitration of the ICC Paris, 1990. In 2002, the Indian Prime Minister awarded him for his outstanding contribution to the field of International Arbitration Law.
Please welcome Mr. Sarosh Zaiwalla from Zaiwalla & Co. We are honoured to have you with us today.
Mr. Zaiwalla: It's equally my honor to be invited to speak in this forum. Thank you very much. Although I have lived in England for many years, I am an Indian from the core of my heart.
Host: Well, that is just great to hear. So to start with may I ask request you to give us a brief about your personal and professional journey?
Mr. Zaiwalla: My origin is from Bombay. I did my schooling from St Xavier’s High School and then went ahead to acquire a degree from the Bombay Government College. Taking lead from my Father, who was a Solicitor in England, I went ahead for a degree in Law at England to become a Solicitor too. I migrated with just 60 pounds and a reference of Late, Mr Batrawala, who was a Minister with the Maharashtra Govt. Here I am today, what you see of me now; life has been a cradle of great learning, experience and subsequent successes. During my Internship days I had the great fortune to meet, befriend and have as a mentor, Mr Cedric Bartlett, a very eminent English Arbitrator who persuaded me to start on my own after passing qualifying as a Law Professional. His version was that, if I would work for a big Law Firm, I wouldn’t get quicker recognition and rewards of my professional success, despite putting in the best. What followed after that is a quick turn of events and meeting the right people at the right place, starting with my association with Shri & Gopi Hinduja, of the Hinduja Bros. They were also new to UK and had just moved in from Iran. So I joined them on a part time basis as an unqualified Legal adviser, Interpreter and a Negotiator while doing training with Stock In & Co. Hence I started on my own from a very modest small office at 29, Museum Street at London.
Host: Amazing and very interesting. Please go on sir....
Mr Zaiwalla: During that time I met the then High Commissioner of India, Dr Syed Mohammed a brilliant, honest, and a very clean man. He was Kerala's advocate general and during the emergency period he was Mrs Gandhi’s Minister of State for Law. Dr Mohammed took a great fancy on me, as I was an Indian and a Parsi and appointed me as the Solicitor for the Indian High Commission.
I started representing cases for the Indian Govt. At that time India was going through a acute food shortage and President Johnson had donated free wheat under the PL 480 scheme. But India had to charter ships for two years at 250 to 300 ships a year and inevitably there were delays from the Indian Govt in paying the shipping companies and their accrued interests. As the Indian Govt’s Solicitor I had to fight those cases for India. Out of all the cases there was a case which went to the House of Lords, against a shipping line La Pintada and that was the first case won by me. Toni Blair, Ex PM of Britain was working under me at that time and it was considered very upmarket to be a Maritime lawyer.
Similarly in 1982 I won another case for a Dubai based company called Global Shipping, part of Al Shiraji Group. There was this Jumeira Beach resort shipment which was up for arbitration. Arbitrator, Patrick Bartlett transferred the hearing to New Orleans. And that was a great experience, too, because it was quite a famous case that these two cases give me a very lucky break. We had lots of work in those days.
We are on the verge of staring another case for the Venezuelan Central Bank which deposited huge reserves of Gold with the bank of England. It would be a 1.7 billion dollar claim.
Last year we won a claim against Her Majesty’s Govt for the Bank of Iran in which Bank of Malard was involved in the Iranian nuclear proliferation. And coach said; let the sanctions remain so the whole bank literally went out of business because of the international bank. After being challenged in the Supreme Court we won in that landmark case giving us victory of 1.6 billion dollars settled into a 9 figure claim. That case in itself made the headlines as it was a historic judgement.
These are my credentials. I was a member of the International Court of Arbitration of the ICC, where I represented for 8 years with Fali Nariman as the vice chairman of the ICC court.
Host: It just goes on to say that if one has determination, they can really achieve anything. You know, come to think of it with 60 pounds to what do you achieve today and on these fabulous claims, you know, working with such fancy people, all stars in the industry. So this really goes to say that if you have the determination, you can really achieve anything.
Mr Zaiwalla: Right values, ethics, honesty, integrity and being extremely polite gives a lot of things in return in this Industry. In Britain, that even in the courts, if you disagree, so long as you say things courteous, you can say the most horrible things, virtuously, despite no shouting, you will be recognized and respected.
Host: That is just great. I mean, it warms my heart so much to hear the story and the fact that you held on to the ethics and you still practice it with such honesty.
Mr Zaiwalla: People from different corners of the world come to me for help. In a Russian Yukos case, the matter was up for litigation in the Dutch Supreme Court and I was at the background where this Russian company, Yuko was fighting a 50 billion dollar reward case. They had gone to a big firm and after 5 years of international arbitration, they lost to the case of investment arbitration. The case was decided on the merit of an Indian case lead by the decree and award of the case led by Soli Sorabjee, an attorney at that time and former Attorney General of the Indian Supreme Court. And the Yukos case was thus won.
So in the pursuit of the six point case, participated in the Arbitration, the investment treaty was signed by the president of Russia, but it had to be passed by the Russian parliament, Duma, and that was not approved. Therefore, there was no contract, no treaty and no arbitration. So let's see what happens.
Host: What do you consider as the three most important and major aspects of the business, according to you?
Mr Zaiwalla: First major aspect of the business is that you must be sincere and honest. You must honestly advise the client and not just give a feedback to them. If it's a good case or even a bad case, you have to be sincere in your approach. So the most important thing is getting it right as because clients have come to you for justice.
Second, the most important thing for me is an innovative approach. The firm has made a name for innovative approach to law. There are 36 decided cases in English International Report, but a law was made by Zaiwalla & Co. All documented in my book.
Host: That is amazing. Now we know who to reach out to for any law related advice. This is really amazing. You mentioned honesty. Is there anything else that you would like to mention as the important aspects of this business, especially like this industry?