In Conversation With Amit Mishra, Partner, P&A Law Offices

Disputes resolution lawyer Amit Mishra, Partner, P&A Associates attributes a large part of his success to his habit of never saying no to any work that came his way. However, merely taking on large volumes of work isn’t the end of the story; it is necessary that lawyers hold themselves to the highest standards of professionalism while doing their job he says.

How and when did you know becoming a lawyer was your life’s true calling?

Being a second-generation lawyer, it was only natural that I developed the urge to become a lawyer right out of school. 

Would you please tell us about your specialisation and the array of work you handle at your firm?

As the Disputes head of P&A Law Offices, I am engaged in and oversee a wide variety of matters covering various areas of the law. The Firm has a robust dispute resolution vertical which specialises in international commercial arbitration, bilateral investment treaty arbitration and domestic arbitration. On the other end of the spectrum is criminal litigation which also encapsulates matters relating to white-collar crimes. This is another practice area in which the Firm excels. I consider myself immensely fortunate to have been involved in matters related to all of the above-mentioned areas of the law. Due to my long and exceedingly fruitful engagement with the Firm, I have also had the pleasure of working on matters concerning private equity investment, anti-corruption and compliance laws; banking and finance; competition and anti-trust laws.

What are your predictions in the area of specialisation mentioned above? What are some of the upcoming trends of the industry? 

I believe that the legal profession is evolving to create space for ‘specialists’. We are now headed from a ‘jack of all trades’ to what can best be described as a ‘master of one’ paradigm. The onset of digitisation, artificial intelligence, the internet of things, the increasing access to digital technology and its widespread adoption in commerce, industry and various aspects of daily life have caused a paradigm shift in how our world operates. As the law becomes more and more technical, the need for individuals who are trained in these cross-disciplines between the law and the fields it regulates will increase. Therefore, the need for focussed technical training will increase with the passage of time. That said, the legal profession will always require well-rounded, holistic lawyering; however, the coming times will create a parallel space for super specialist lawyers. It’s a bold, new exciting world and I am sure that the legal profession will evolve to meet its challenges, as it always has. 

One recent landmark judgement that you’d like to share a word about. 

 There are many judgements one can read and marvel at but most of them are relevant to select legal propositions. However, two recent judgements that caught my attention are S. Kasi v State Through the Inspector of Police, reported at 2020 SCC OnLine SC 529 and Ministry of Defence v. Babita Puniya and Ors. reported at (2020) 7 SCC 469. Both these judgments are fine examples of the Supreme Court of India stepping in to safeguard rights and make for extremely informative reads.

As a new-age lawyer, what to your mind is the one thing in the current legal ecosystem at the Bar, Bench, or in the Law Firms that needs our attention?

While the litigation ecosystem in this Country has come a long way, I believe it still remains somewhat complicated. “What we really need are simpler procedures which would reduce the time between filing a case and its culmination. I believe it is time to take a fresh look at certain procedures as prescribed by the law, especially in light of the world as it stands today.” The law simply cannot afford to be outdated.

Many Congratulations on joining the BW Legal World Elite 40 Under 40 Club of Achievers 2021. What to your mind has helped you get to where you are and what advice would you have for others who want to set off in a similar direction?

 A lot of what I am today as a lawyer is attributable to my habit of never saying no. I have never refused work that has come my way save, in exceptional circumstances. I would never have amassed the experience and knowledge that I have in my time as a practising lawyer had I been selective about the work I accepted. Every new matter provides invaluable learning, and it is a lawyer’s knowledge and experience that makes him or her effective. However, merely taking on large volumes of work isn’t the end of the story; it is necessary that lawyers hold themselves to the highest standards of professionalism and rectitude while doing their job. Ensuring that no moral or quality compromises are made while taking on as much work as possible is exceedingly arduous, but the legal profession isn’t known for being easy; it is known for being rewarding.

My advice to younger lawyers would be to work as hard as they can and view every matter they do as a means of professional growth. Never say no and take things head-on. You’d be surprised at how capable you are; just don’t be afraid to throw yourselves into the deep end.

As a final note, would you please recommend to our readers your favourite book that left a lasting impression on you?  

As someone who considers and will forever consider himself a student of the law, I often find myself reading books which help me gain deeper insight into the core proficiencies a lawyer must possess. I recently read a book titled ‘Making Your Case: The Art of Persuading Judges’ by Justice Antonin Scalia and Bryan A. Garner. It is a wonderful read and I would recommend it to young lawyers and experienced litigators alike.

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