Mr. Anshuman Pande is a Partner at Archeus Law and has been with the firm since its inception. He has been practicing law since 2009. He is enrolled with the Bar Council of Delhi and holds a B.A. LLB (Hons.) degree from the National Law Institute University, Bhopal, India (NLIU, Bhopal). He previously held a position within HSA Advocates’ Infrastructure and Dispute Resolution team for 7 years. Before that, he worked in the corporate litigation team of S.N. Gupta & Associates, New Delhi. Mr. Pande is primarily involved in matters relating to project management, corporate, commercial transactions, dispute resolution and insolvency in the fields of mining and infrastructure – predominantly in construction, environmental, clean development mechanism and renewable energy matters. He has also been a part of transactions for the acquisition of infrastructure and mining assets (both domestic and international), drafting and vetting of various agreements, and general advisory services for compliance requirements in the field of industrial, labor and environmental laws since 2009.
In this interview to Bar and Bench, Mr. Pande, talks about his journey as a lawyer, the challenges posed to lawyers in the area arbitration, what skills students can develop to become better arbitration lawyers and mistakes students can avoid while pursuing their career. He ends the interview with advice to students interested in arbitration laws.
Please tell us about your journey from being a law student to the partner of such a reputed firm?
After graduating from NLIU, Bhopal in 2009, I worked with SNG Legal for a short while, before joining HSA Advocates, where I worked for seven years. Thereafter, I joined Archeus Law as a Principal Associate and was later promoted to its partnership in 2018. I was fortunate to not only work with some great colleagues and seniors, but also get in-depth exposure on many aspects of commercial disputes (including arbitration and litigation). This held me in good stead as I was able to gain enough knowledge and experience to be able to make a steady progress.
What made you to pursue your career in the commercial litigation and arbitration?
Disputes practice is dynamic! Almost every matter brings with it, a fresh bundle of challenges, uncertainties and learning opportunities, which can be very rewarding from a professional and personal standpoint. All available facets of a legal practitioner’s professional career – research, drafting, advise and analysis, argument and strategic thinking, run hand-in-hand, frequently in one matter itself. For these very reasons, working in commercial disputes was quite exciting, though I must admit that initially, I was unsure on whether I would make a career out of it.
At the same time, I must say that I have also done a considerable amount of non-dispute, pre-dispute and even, non-commercial litigation work. This resulted in my knowledge and skills being enhanced considerably. This is an approach I have always favoured and something we encourage at Archeus Law.
What do you think are the challenges that a person meets while pursuing a career in the arbitration?
With arbitration specifically, one has to appreciate that it is a transitional law in our country. So not only does a person have to navigate arbitration’s substantive and procedural nuances, they also have to understand that these nuances themselves are in a somewhat fluid state at the moment – that what is correct today may not be so, tomorrow.
That apart, the array of demands required from a professional (relating to case management, drafting, arguments, research etc.), can be quite disorienting for a fresh, young professional. Since litigation is a bit more taxing in this regard, I have always personally found that persons who have worked in litigation adapt quite well to arbitration in general.
Other than research, what other skills should law students equip themselves with, in order to master the field of commercial litigation?
Quite a few for litigation, but if I had to pick one, I would say knowledge of procedural law and practice directions. A law student should never ignore these aspects. These may not be the most glamorous, but I have seen too many matters won and lost on procedure alone than I care to remember!
What mistakes did you commit while pursuing your career that you don’t want others to repeat?
From my mistakes, I would say that a practitioner must be a good listener and must perfectly understand the requirements of the client. This will, in-turn, help you in giving practical advice attuned to achieving the client’s needs, rather than your own line of thinking.
Any message for the young lawyers who have an interest towards arbitration?
You have an interest for a field that has really taken off and there are exciting new developments happening every day. Ensure that you are up to speed with them. At the same time, do not overlook the fact that young lawyers have to supplement their learning with practical application and this field, demands a lot from you in terms of strategizing, drafting and presentation. Work hard on these and remember that the learning will be a constant, no matter how far you go.
This interview was conducted by Campus Ambassador, Fahad Bashir Khan.