Disputes and its Evolution: Learning from the learned

The practice of Dispute Resolution has seen a sudden emergence in past few years with an increasing importance by the day. But how did it come to rise to the said level of importance today even though the practice has existed since earlier times? Let's find out!

In conversation with

Faisal Sherwani

An Advocate-on-Record, Supreme Court of India and Partner in the Dispute Resolution practice at L&L Partners Law Offices, New Delhi.

With an experience of over a decade in the field of dispute resolution, he regularly advises and acts for clients on a range of subjects such as constitutional law, arbitration laws, corporate and insolvency laws, transport and motor vehicles laws, technology and gaming laws, and white-collar crimes and penal laws.

Most recently, he was named as one of the ‘Top Individual Lawyers in India’ by Forbes India in its Legal Power List, 2020; he has also been recognized as a ‘Future Legal Leader’ by India Business Law Journal. He has also featured in BW Legal World’s elite list of ‘40 under 40’.

Q. Dispute Resolution is an emerging career in law with an increasing popularity by the day. How would you comment upon the importance of this area of expertise from your personal experience?

Frankly, when it comes to the practice of law – dispute resolution is the oldest and most classical arena. Yet, as you rightly appreciate, it still is the most relevant. The history of the practice of law is indicative of the fact that it all started with the attempt to resolve disputes.
Lord Henry Brougham’s famous quote: ‘a lawyer must know everything about something and something about everything’, properly understood is in the context of a dispute resolution lawyer. Thus, for a dispute resolution lawyer, concentrating on a sole or particular area of law may be a luxury she can ill-afford.
Personally, I have no regrets at all. Rather the demands and requirements of the profession have helped me develop into a more well-rounded lawyer, I hope. And it is a continuous learning process.

Q. In your opinion, is there any niche which is still unexplored by many in terms of dispute settlement which you would like more law students to explore and pursue in the coming future?

Sadly, the history of human kind is a history of dispute. And, humankind has over the ages showcased an insatiable propensity to argue and dispute over most things. You and I, can have a dispute over almost anything. And therefore, properly understood, dispute resolution was never meant to be a subject or practice area by and of itself.
Much to the contrary, it refers to the process of determining a dispute. This can take any of the usual forms i.e., the traditional court-room litigation, arbitration, mediation or some other mode of facilitation that may help in arriving at a resolution of differences between parties in conflict.
So what this means for practitioners in this arena, is that while we are quite entitled to our preferences and inclinations qua certain or diverse subjects of law, our duties as general-lit lawyers demand that we be equipped to speak and be able to advise on most issues – rather than some.
And happily so, as a dispute resolution specialist and a court-room practitioner, my responsibilities extend (or are confined, if you like) to advising and acting for clients on a range of issues and subjects such constitutional law aspects, arbitration laws, corporate, commercial and insolvency laws, labour legislations, technology and gaming laws, white-collar crimes and penal laws.
As soon as there is a new emerging area of law, business or even an unexplored aspect of our lives and habits – soon enough, rest assured and sadly so, there will be a dispute. But I will leave the guesswork to the astrologers!

Q. Is there anything that you would want aspiring law students to be well-aware of in this field before they decide to pursue the same?

Just that a litigation and dispute resolution career may appear somewhat tough for first generation lawyers. But fret not, the satisfaction that you will derive from arguing a case before a court is most unlikely to be surpassed by any other rich experience. Most of you who will choose this path are likely to find it intellectually stimulating and academically rewarding.

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Liked what you read? Also check out these:

Dispute Resolution- An Emerging Career (towardslawcareer.com)

Aspects of Litigation | Towards Law Career

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