LexTalk World interviews Dikshat Mehra. Dikshat is a Principal Associate working with Rajani Associates, Advocates & Solicitors in their Commercial Litigation & Alternative Dispute Resolution Team. Dikshat graduated in 2012 from K.C Law College, Mumbai. Dikshat has over 9 years of extensive experience on advising clients on a variety of Corporate & Commercial Litigation disputes, Insolvency/Restructuring & Bankruptcy related matters and IP related disputes, majorly Trademark & Copyright related matters.
Host: Please brief us about your journey as a Legal professional so far and brief us about you expertise?
Dikshat: I always wanted a career, where I could make a difference. After completing my Second Year College, I applied to a Pune Law College with great enthusiasm, but due to some technical glitch I could not get into the College. I was very disheartened and quickly concluded that Law was not for me.
I then did my Bachelor in Management Studies and simultaneously started working in my own family business of Textiles. But sometime in my second year of Management, I still felt that I had inclination towards Law and hence made another attempt for the same.
My parents and my best friend pushed me and supported me with my decision and helped me to find and recognise my passion and strength and thus, my journey in the legal field of especially being a first generation lawyer started and there was no looking back. I am truly humbled and grateful to God, my Guru and my family to having found my calling and realised that Law was always meant to be.
I was fortunate in my early years to get the opportunity to work across various facets of law like Commercial Litigation, White Collar Crimes, Securities Market litigations, Corporate Law, IPR matters, etc., but my expertise lies in Commercial Litigation, Insolvency and Arbitration which I enjoy the most.
I have been lucky enough to be mentored by the best in the industry ,including the partners at our firm (both past and present) and learnt various ropes and tricks of law.
Host: Tell us about your most memorable cases and what are your takeaways from there?
Dikshat: As a professional lawyer, the obvious answer could be where I argued the best on a particular case, or drafted the best document, but for me the Corporate Hijacking is one case which was very challenging and also time was of great essence as everything just happened overnight and we filed the case within 48-72 hours, winning that case was a highlight.
The fact that the above case could help me stand out in the industry makes it one of the memorable cases that I have worked on. It helped me to grow as an individual and adapt quickly as per changing situations.
Commercial Litigation and Arbitration have always been my strength.I cannot divulge a lot about my other cases due to confidentiality and nature of the case in Arbitrations , but I enjoyed working on the Franchise Agreement case and also the case of Enforcement of Foreign Judgment in India which is an ongoing case. It is very exciting to have this exposure, strategise and research at every step.
The essence of the cases is never to get enamored by the top line number of cases in terms of monetary value. I have worked with various clients on small ticket value matters to large ticket value matters, the thing that matters the most is to serve the client capably, honestly and responsibly. I always believe that being proactive is the key to success.
Host: How do you look at Commercial Litigation, IBC & Arbitration in 2021 and how its going to change 5 years down the line
Dikshat: India is one of the fastest growing economies of the world. Let’s first talk about the last 5-6years, where a lot of things have changed and the seeds are sown to reap the benefit in the years to come.
We as an economy are only going to grow onward and upward from here as the foundation have been built. Things are changing, If you look at acts like the Commercial Act, 2015, the Arbitration Act, 1996 has been amended a few times to keep up with international law.
We are all taking small steps and working towards the vision of making India the hub of arbitration. Streamlining the various facets of law, recognizing priorities and leading to quick relief for cases is the key. I personally want to improve and ease the appointment procedure for arbitration as this affects the tenure of the case. There have been amendments, where the arbitrator has to be appointed by the institution, but the amendment has not come into play yet, but once it comes into play, I believe the process will get seamless, streamlined and quicker.
And I also think Technology is going to play a huge role and things are shaping in the same direction. Having the luxury of using technology and being in front of various judgments all over India with a click has really helped us. While the culture and the market for litigation in India has traditionally been known to be slow and cumbersome when compared with foreign countries.
Internationally, people do not encourage trials because of the cost associated with it, while in India currently the trial procedure goes on for years and I think with change in commercial laws, things will change for the better. We will cross all the hurdles, learn and adapt quickly like we have always done and also survived the pandemic situation.
I also strongly feel that in our country, we should focus on mediation and it should be given more statutory recognition. This will help resolve things quickly. With growing technology and amendments across various facets of laws, the process will be faster in the years to come. There will be a different outlook and mindset change in terms of law and justice.
Host: If there is any element you would like to change in Indian Arbitration regime, what would it be as a part of the improving process?
Dikshat: The first thing that comes to my mind is the appointment of the arbitrator. Starting off with a scenario when two parties cannot decide on the arbitrator, they need to file an application before the High Court, or Supreme Court as the case maybe for appointment of an arbitrator. The application is then pending because of the backlog and things are not up to speed. This could take a year to commence and then it kills the purpose of going in for arbitration in the first place.
There has been an amendment that has taken place where you can have arbitration institutions to appoint arbitrators and you do not have to come to the Court. Hoping the amendment takes place soon here as well.
The second thing that I would like to say is the rules of evidence in arbitration. Arbitration being informal, is not when you are bound by the normal rules of the Court and this should be taken into consideration. Having worked on international arbitrations, I strongly feel domestic arbitration does require this change. Having said that forums like Indian Arbitration Forum are a step in the right direction. The lawyers are accepting such Forum rules in domestic arbitration and this will bring a lot of change in the landscape of arbitration regime in India coupled with growing technology.
Host: What are Important Skills for any Lawyer handling commercial litigation matters?
Dikshat: I believe skills are developed over years, but a few things that hold high regard are being a voracious reader and being updated. My mentors have always told me that law is vast like an Ocean and we should know how to grapple it and face different situations, we will be able to do only, if we are well read and updated with things to apply in different situations being thrown at us.
Read, learn, analyze and strategise are the key building blocks. Understanding clients problem and guide them to reach the best solution. One should be able to understand, relate instances, adapt as per the situation and apply their learning to give the best to their clients.
Also be abreast with all current scenarios, practical knowledge and amendments to be able to strike a conversation and advice the clients with best quick solutions. To stand out from the crowd, one needs to be able to manage time effectively, be a multi-tasker. Also having excellent communication, negotiation skills and an eye for detail is a must.
Host: What do you think about Artificial Intelligence in the law of field?
Dikshat: I would want to say that we should remove the fear that Artificial Intelligence will replace lawyers in next 10 years. Artificial Intelligence is here to complement lawyers and help us to make the process easier. Over the years it has always made things easier in terms of documentation and is further here to ease things. It is a complete boon, I must say. But, sometimes in disputes, emotions do play an important part where Artificial intelligence, possibly takes a back seat. Artificial Intelligence is going to do a job of a balancing act. Turnaround drafts, filing cases, proof-reading will become easier. Artificial Intelligence is here to stay and grow, but not to replace lawyers.
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