1. Hi Tejas, would you mind recalling us briefly your background?
I am a dual-qualified (Indian/French) lawyer. I work with the investment arbitration and public international law practice of Eversheds Sutherland, Paris.
I have a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degree from the University of Pune, India, and a Master’s in Economic Law from Sciences Po, Paris.
2. What are the benefits of being a dual-qualified lawyer?
The most obvious benefit of being a dual qualified lawyer is, of course, having the option of practicing in more than one jurisdiction. Lawyers qualified in multiple jurisdictions have the unique advantage of being able to advise clients with respect to different legal systems. This is especially useful in an inherently cross-border setting such as that of international arbitration, where you have contracts with different applicable laws, and enforcement proceedings in multiple jurisdictions. Which is why international arbitration practices are always happy to have lawyers that are qualified in multiple jurisdictions on board. On a more personal note, being a part of the Paris Bar has also been rewarding, as it has brought me in contact with French and other international lawyers practicing in different fields, whom I would otherwise not have had the chance to meet.
3. You are constantly publishing updates on Indian legal developments. Why is it so important and how not to lose ties with our home jurisdictions?
The arbitration landscape in India has changed vastly over the past few years. All eyes are on India, as it continues to introduce new arbitration laws locally, and revamp its bilateral investment treaty regime. It is certainly an exciting time to be an Indian qualified arbitration lawyer. I am frequently consulted by colleagues on developments back home, and it is important for me to keep abreast of these developments, which are certainly relevant to the work that I do here.
Publishing about Indian legal developments helps me to not only keep myself informed, but also connect with arbitration practitioners back home. I feel like writing and networking are the best ways to maintain ties with our home jurisdictions.
4. We have seen that you speak some rare languages. Does that help in your arbitration life?
I speak English, French, an elementary level of Spanish, and three Indian languages – Hindi, Marathi and Konkani. While I have not had the occasion to use any of the Indian languages for work per se, some of these languages have helped me break the ice with Indian clients. There was once a possibility of my interviewing potential witnesses who spoke only Hindi, but sadly that did not materialise.
5. We have noticed that you participated in a recent event organised by the mid-level associates. What do you think are the ways to improve age diversity in international arbitration?
The MIDS event organised by Delos was certainly a fantastic opportunity for mid-level associates to share their experiences with trainees and younger associates, in an informal setting. I think making an active effort to organise conferences/competitions/networking events where younger members of the community are targeted participants is the best way to improve age diversity. A number of young arbitration organisations ( a certain Paris Baby Arbitration comes to mind ;)) are already doing a fantastic job of bringing together the younger crowd. It would also be easier if the big coveted international arbitration events (which are often expensive to attend) had more scholarships for younger members to be able to present or attend.
6. Do you have any tips for young people who want to start their arbitration career?
Do your homework well – before applying for an internship or interview, be clear as to why you are applying to a particular firm or for a particular position. Choose wisely, look for opportunities that match your skill set (such as if you speak a particular language, or are specialised in oil & gas).
When looking for internships, have diverse interests and stay informed – opportunities relating to international arbitration are not confined to law firms. Third party funders, financial experts, market analysts often do exciting arbitration related work.
Invest in meaningful relationships and friendships at the work place – I have met the most interesting, and the nicest people in international arbitration – fellow trainees, colleagues, all of whom have become friends and mentors, and who have sent exciting professional opportunities my way.