Dr. Shrikant Hathi delves into the unique perspectives gained through his dual qualification as an Advocate in India and a practicing solicitor in England and Wales – Dr. Shrikant Hathi’s as Managing & Practicing Partner at Brus Chambers

This interview has been published by Namrata Singh and The SuperLawyer Team

Dr. Shrikant Hathi, it’s an honor to have you for this interview. Could you share some insights into your remarkable journey from being admitted to the Bar Council of Maharashtra & Goa to your current role as the Managing and Practicing Partner at Brus Chambers, Advocates & Solicitors, and the recognition you’ve received from prestigious legal entities?

Certainly, it’s my pleasure to share insights into my legal journey. My legal odyssey began with my admission to the Bar Council of Maharashtra & Goa as an Advocate in India then completing my master’s in law and my doctorate. This was followed by acquiring the qualification of Solicitor from India through the Bombay Incorporated Law Society. Subsequently, I expanded my horizons by successfully completing the solicitor’s examination through the Oxford Institute of Legal Practice (OXILP) (Oxford University and Oxford Brookes University), enabling me to be enrolled with the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), United Kingdom, as a practicing solicitor. This dual qualification, coupled with my admission as an Advocate on Record with the Supreme Court of India, has provided me with a unique perspective on legal matters across India and the United Kingdom.  Mr. Charles J E Grundy played a pivotal role in shaping my career as a shipping professional. As the Managing Partner at Little & Co, Solicitors, he served as my mentor, imparting invaluable knowledge and expertise. I owe a significant part of my understanding of shipping to his guidance and leadership during that time.

My journey to becoming the Managing and Practicing Partner at Brus Chambers, Advocates & Solicitors, has been shaped by a blend of unwavering dedication, continuous learning, and a passion for legal excellence. Over the years, I have honed my expertise in shipping, projects, and dispute resolution, particularly in ship arrest matters. This expertise has been recognized by esteemed legal entities, including Legal 500, which has consistently ranked me as a Leading Individual for shipping work in India since 2005. I am also part of the Legal 500 Hall of Fame for my contributions to shipping law

Throughout my career, I have strived to provide exceptional legal counsel to my clients, consistently exceeding their expectations. My commitment to integrity, professionalism, and client-centricity has been instrumental in building my reputation as a respected legal practitioner.

Here are some key highlights of my journey:

Admitted to the Bar Council of Maharashtra & Goa as an Advocate in India

Acquired the qualification of Solicitor from India through the Bombay Incorporated Law Society

Successfully completed the solicitor’s examination through the Oxford Institute of Legal Practice (OXILP) (Oxford University and Oxford Brookes University)

Enrolled with the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), United Kingdom, as a practising solicitor

Admitted as an Advocate on Record with the Supreme Court of India

Managing and Practicing Partner at Brus Chambers, Advocates & Solicitors

Consistently ranked as a Leading Individual for shipping work in India by Legal 500 since 2005

Inducted into the Legal 500 Hall of Fame for contributions to shipping law

I am grateful for the opportunities and recognition I have received throughout my career. My journey continues, and I remain committed to providing the highest quality legal services to my clients while also contributing to the advancement of the legal profession.

Your expertise spans shipping, commercial arbitration, infrastructure projects, and more. How has your dual qualification and experience as an Advocate in India and a practising solicitor in England and Wales shaped your approach to handling diverse legal matters?

My dual qualification and experience as an Advocate and solicitor in India and a practising solicitor in England and Wales have been instrumental in shaping my approach to handling diverse legal matters. This unique blend of legal expertise has provided me with a comprehensive understanding of both Indian and English legal systems, enabling me to navigate the complexities of cross-border transactions and disputes effectively.

Broader Legal Perspective:

Dual qualification has equipped me with a broader legal perspective, allowing me to identify potential legal issues early on and advise clients on the most strategic approach to minimize risks and maximize their interests. This in-depth understanding of both Indian and English legal systems allows me to provide seamless legal advice to clients operating in a globalized marketplace.

In-depth Knowledge of Multiple Legal Areas:

My expertise in shipping, commercial arbitration, and infrastructure projects stems from my diverse legal practice in both India and England. This specialized legal knowledge enables me to provide tailored advice to clients operating in these sectors, ensuring that their specific legal needs are met effectively.

Cultural Sensitivity and Global Understanding:

Dual qualification and experience have instilled in me a deep appreciation for cultural sensitivities and global perspectives. This understanding is crucial when handling cross-border legal matters, as it allows me to build trust with clients from different backgrounds and communicate effectively with international legal teams.

Ability to Adapt to Different Legal Systems:

My experience in both Indian and English legal systems has honed my ability to adapt to different legal frameworks and procedures. This adaptability is essential for handling cross-border transactions and disputes, where legal requirements and practices can vary significantly.

Network of Contacts and Relationships:

Dual qualification has enabled me to build a strong network of contacts and relationships with lawyers, arbitrators, and industry experts in both India and England. This network provides me with valuable insights into the legal landscape and facilitates collaboration on cross-border matters.

In essence, my dual qualifications and experience have provided me with a unique toolkit to handle diverse legal matters effectively. I am able to navigate complex legal landscapes, provide specialized advice, and build strong relationships with clients and legal professionals across borders. This combination of expertise and global perspective allows me to deliver exceptional legal services to clients operating in an interconnected world.

Your career spans across India and the United Kingdom, with impressive credentials in both jurisdictions. How do you balance the legal landscapes of these two countries, and what unique perspectives do you bring to your role as Managing & Practicing Partner at Brus Chambers?

Balancing the legal landscapes of India and the UK:

Having practiced law in both India and the UK has enriched my professional journey and equipped me with a unique perspective. Balancing the legal landscapes of these two diverse countries requires an adaptable and nuanced approach. Here’s how I navigate this:

1. Maintaining a deep understanding of both legal systems:

I continuously update my knowledge of legal developments in both jurisdictions through ongoing research, engagement with legal professionals, and participation in relevant conferences and seminars.

I actively cultivate relationships with legal experts in both countries to access local insights and ensure my advice is tailored to the specific legal landscape.

2. Identifying common grounds and leveraging comparative law:

While the legal systems of India and the UK differ significantly, there are often common threads and underlying principles. I strive to identify these commonalities to devise legal strategies applicable across both jurisdictions.

My familiarity with both legal systems allows me to leverage comparative law, drawing on relevant precedents and legal principles from one jurisdiction to inform my approach in the other.

3. Building cross-cultural understanding and communication:

Effective legal representation necessitates understanding not only the legal system but also the cultural nuances of each country. I actively engage with both Indian and UK legal communities to stay attuned to cultural differences and ensure culturally sensitive communication with clients and colleagues.

My ability to navigate both cultures facilitates seamless collaboration with teams and clients across both jurisdictions, fostering trust and effective communication.

Unique perspectives brought to Brus Chambers:

This combined legal expertise allows me to offer clients a unique set of advantages:

1. Strategic guidance across jurisdictions:

I can advise clients on legal matters spanning multiple countries, providing a holistic and integrated perspective.

I can identify potential legal challenges and opportunities across different legal systems, enabling proactive risk management and strategic decision-making.

2. Cross-cultural expertise:

My understanding of both Indian and UK cultures allows me to build strong relationships with clients and stakeholders from diverse backgrounds.

I can effectively navigate cultural differences in communication and collaboration, ensuring a smooth and successful legal process.

3. Global legal network:

My experience and connections in both countries have allowed me to develop a strong network of legal professionals across the globe.

This network enables me to access resources, expertise, and support beyond the boundaries of India and the UK, further enhancing the value I can provide to clients.

In summary, my experience in both India and the UK has equipped me with a unique blend of legal expertise and cultural understanding. This allows me to navigate the complexities of international legal matters and provide clients with strategic guidance, effective representation, and a global perspective, all hallmarks of my role as Managing & Practicing Partner at Brus Chambers.

You are a co-author of the book ‘Ship Arrest in India and Admiralty Laws of India.’ What motivated you to contribute to the literature, and how do you believe such resources benefit both legal professionals and the broader community?

My motivation stemmed from two key factors:

1. Filling a critical knowledge gap: Admiralty law, particularly as it applies to ship arrests in India, is a complex and evolving field. Existing resources were limited and often scattered, making it difficult for legal professionals and academics to access comprehensive and up-to-date information. I saw a need for a comprehensive and authoritative work that would distil the complexities of the law and provide clear guidance on the practical aspects of ship arrest procedures.

2. Promoting informed practice: The consequences of ship arrests can be significant, impacting both maritime businesses and the broader economy. By contributing to this book, I aimed to empower legal professionals with the knowledge and tools they need to handle ship arrest cases effectively and responsibly. This, in turn, would contribute to a more efficient and predictable legal framework for the maritime industry.

How do you believe resources like “Ship Arrest in India and Admiralty Laws of India” benefit both legal professionals and the broader community?

I believe this book offers several key benefits for both legal professionals and the broader community:

For legal professionals:

Comprehensive and authoritative reference: The book provides a detailed analysis of the relevant legal framework, including the Admiralty (Jurisdiction and Settlement of Maritime Claims) Act, 2017 and applicable international conventions.

Practical guidance: The book offers practical guidance on various aspects of ship arrest procedures, including drafting applications, handling objections, and navigating court processes.

Case studies and precedents: The book includes real-world case studies and precedents, providing valuable insights into how the law is applied in practice.

For the broader community:

Improved understanding of maritime law: The book helps to demystify the complex legal framework surrounding ship arrests, increasing transparency and accountability within the maritime sector.

Enhanced predictability and efficiency: By providing clear guidance on legal procedures, the book can contribute to a more predictable and efficient legal environment for maritime businesses, facilitating smoother operations and reducing costs

Promoting fairness and justice: By ensuring that legal procedures are followed correctly, the book helps to uphold fairness and justice within the maritime industry, protecting the rights of all stakeholders.

Overall, I believe that “Ship Arrest in India and Admiralty Laws of India” is a valuable resource that can play a significant role in strengthening the legal framework for the maritime industry in India and beyond. I am proud to have contributed to this important work and hope that it will continue to benefit legal professionals and the broader community for years to come.

My book Shop Arrest in India is available on the internet you can download the book at free of cost. Very soon my book will be integrated with artificial intelligence and will continue to remain free for all.

Your career includes significant recognition, such as being listed in the Legal 500 “Hall of Fame” and as a “Leading Individual” since 2004. How do you handle the pressure and expectations that come with such acclaim, and what motivates you to maintain this level of excellence?

While I am deeply honored to be recognized in the Legal 500 “Hall of Fame” and as a “Leading Individual” since 2004, I don’t see these accolades as pressure or expectations, but rather as affirmations of the dedication and commitment I bring to my work. Instead of feeling burdened, I find these recognitions to be motivational forces, driving me to continuously strive for excellence and exceed my own expectations.

Here are some key strategies I employ to handle pressure and stay motivated:

1. Refocusing on My Core Values:

I ground myself in my core values of integrity, excellence, and client service. These values guide my decisions and actions, and remind me of the purpose and passion that drive my work. By staying true to these values, I feel confident and motivated, even under pressure.

2. Embracing Continuous Learning:

I believe that there is always room for growth and improvement. I actively seek out opportunities to learn new things, expand my knowledge base, and refine my skills. This ongoing learning process keeps me engaged, motivated, and confident in my ability to tackle new challenges.

3. Setting Realistic Goals:

I set specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals for myself. These goals are ambitious but attainable, and they provide me with a clear direction and sense of purpose. Achieving these goals fuels my motivation and reinforces my belief in my abilities.

4. Maintaining a Positive Mindset:

I cultivate a positive and optimistic outlook. I focus on the progress I’ve made and the opportunities that lie ahead. This positive mindset helps me bounce back from setbacks and stay motivated in the face of challenges.

5. Prioritizing Well-being:

I recognize the importance of maintaining a healthy work-life balance. I make time for activities that I enjoy, such as spending time with family and friends, exercising, and pursuing hobbies. This allows me to recharge and return to my work feeling refreshed and motivated.

6. Utilizing a Supportive Network:

I surround myself with positive and supportive individuals, including mentors, colleagues, and family members. These individuals provide me with invaluable feedback, encouragement, and support, which helps me stay motivated and on track.

Finally, my greatest motivation comes from the satisfaction of helping my clients achieve their goals. Knowing that I have made a positive impact on their lives is truly rewarding and fuels my passion to continue exceeding expectations

In conclusion, I don’t view recognition as pressure, but rather as motivation to keep pushing myself and reach even greater heights. By embracing continuous learning, setting SMART goals, maintaining a positive mindset, prioritizing well-being, and relying on a supportive network, I am able to sustain a high level of performance and continue to deliver exceptional results for my clients.

You’ve been involved in various professional associations and committees. How does your role as the President of Shippinglawyers.NET contribute to your broader vision for the maritime legal community, and what initiatives are you passionate about in this regard?

I’m passionate about the maritime legal community and firmly believe in the power of collaboration and collective action to advance the field. My involvement in various professional associations and committees, culminating in my current role as President of Shippinglawyers.NET, allows me to contribute to this vision in several ways:

1. Fostering a Global Network: Shippinglawyers.NET is a unique platform that connects maritime legal professionals worldwide. As President, I strive to strengthen this network by:

Organizing virtual and in-person conferences and events that facilitate knowledge exchange and collaboration across diverse legal systems and jurisdictions.

Developing online resources and tools that support the professional development of maritime lawyers, particularly young practitioners.

Promoting best practices and ethical standards within the industry.

2. Advocating for Industry Interests: Shippinglawyers.NET plays a vital role in advocating for the interests of the maritime legal community. We actively engage with international regulatory bodies and government agencies to:

Promote sound maritime legislation and policies that balance economic interests with environmental protection and safety at sea.

Defend the rights and interests of maritime stakeholders in legal disputes and policy discussions.

Contribute to the development of a more efficient and sustainable maritime industry.

3. Shaping the Future of the Profession: The maritime legal landscape is constantly evolving due to technological advancements and emerging challenges. As President of Shippinglawyers.NET, I am committed to:

Preparing the next generation of maritime lawyers for the challenges and opportunities of the future.

Promoting innovation and technology adoption within the legal profession.

Ensuring that the maritime legal community remains agile and adaptable in the face of change.

Initiatives I’m Passionate About:

Several initiatives are particularly close to my heart:

Bridging the knowledge gap between developed and developing nations: I believe it’s crucial to ensure that maritime lawyers worldwide have access to the latest knowledge and resources, regardless of their location.

Promoting diversity and inclusion in the maritime legal profession: A diverse legal community is essential for fostering creativity, innovation, and effective solutions.

Advocating for sustainable practices in the maritime industry: We must ensure that the maritime industry operates in an environmentally responsible manner.

By focusing on these initiatives and leveraging the power of the Shippinglawyers.NET network, I believe we can build a stronger, more vibrant, and future-proof maritime legal community that serves the needs of the industry for generations to come.

Brus Chambers has been consistently recognized as a top-tier law firm for shipping work in India What, in your opinion, sets the firm apart, and how do you ensure excellence in delivering legal services to your clients?

Brus Chambers’ consistent recognition as a top-tier shipping law firm in India is a testament to our unwavering commitment to excellence in legal services. Several key factors underpin our success:

Specialization and Depth of Expertise:

Dedicated Shipping Practice: Unlike many firms with a general practice, Brus Chambers boasts a dedicated team with extensive experience and expertise in the entire spectrum of dry and wet shipping law. This specialization allows us to provide clients with in-depth knowledge and nuanced understanding of the complexities involved in maritime legal matters.

Recognized Leaders: Our team includes Dr. Shrikant Pareshnath Hathi, consistently listed as a “Leading Individual” for shipping work in India by Legal 500 since 2004 since few years am also listed in the Hall of Fame by Legal 500. This recognition reflects the exceptional skills and expertise of our individuals, which translates to superior client service Our firms other partners are also listed as Leading Individual; Rising Star ; Next Generation partner and are in the spotlight for shipping work in India. In this regard I would like a special mention of my wife and partner Ms. Binita Hathi who works alongside with me in shipping matters.

Client-Centric Approach:

Tailored Solutions: We build strong relationships with our clients, taking the time to understand their specific needs and objectives. This allows us to tailor our solutions to their individual circumstances, delivering practical and commercially-driven advice.

Proactive Communication: We believe in clear and proactive communication throughout the process. We keep our clients informed of developments and potential challenges, ensuring they are actively involved in all decision-making.

International Perspective: Recognizing the global nature of shipping, we offer an international perspective, drawing on our network of associates and partners worldwide to provide clients with comprehensive legal support across jurisdictions.

Unmatched Track Record:

Proven Success: Our impressive track record in handling complex shipping disputes and transactions speaks for itself. We have successfully represented a diverse range of clients, including shipowners, charterers, cargo interests, and financial institutions.

Top-Tier Recognition: We are consistently recognized by leading legal directories such as Legal 500; Who’s Who Worldlawyers and Chambers & Partners as a top-tier shipping law firm in India. This independent recognition confirms our expertise and high-quality legal services.

Commitment to Excellence:

Continuous Learning: We are dedicated to providing our team with ongoing training and development opportunities to ensure they remain at the forefront of legal knowledge and best practices in the shipping industry.

Investment in Technology: We leverage technology to optimize our processes and improve efficiency, ultimately leading to a better experience for our clients.

Quality Assurance: We have a rigorous quality control system in place to ensure the accuracy and consistency of our work.

By combining specialization, a client-centric approach, a proven track record, and a commitment to excellence, Brus Chambers has established itself as a leading force in Indian shipping law. We are dedicated to exceeding client expectations and delivering exceptional legal services that contribute to their success.

With a busy and challenging legal career, how do you unwind and find balance? Can you share a bit about your personal hobbies or interests that provide a break from the legal intricacies?

While the legal world can be demanding and complex, maintaining a healthy balance is crucial for well-being and long-term success. In my personal journey, I prioritize several strategies to unwind and find balance:

1. Prioritizing Time for Disconnection:

Setting boundaries: I practice strict boundaries between work and personal time, ensuring I disconnect from emails and calls outside of designated work hours.

Digital detox: Regular digital detoxes, where I completely switch off from technology, allow me to reconnect with myself and my surroundings.

2. Embracing the Power of Movement:

Regular exercise: Physical activities like running or cycling help me release stress, improve focus, and boost energy levels.

Yoga and meditation: Incorporating yoga and meditation into my routine provides a powerful tool for inner peace and stress reduction.

3 Cultivating Creativity and Connection:

Exploring artistic pursuits: I find immense joy in engaging in creative hobbies like painting, writing, or playing music. These activities allow me to express myself and unwind from the analytical demands of law.

Nurturing relationships: Spending quality time with loved ones, friends, and family provides a sense of belonging and support, fostering a healthy work-life balance.

4. Engaging in Activities that Spark Joy:

Learning new skills: Continuously expanding my knowledge base through learning new skills, whether it be a foreign language, or photography, brings me immense joy and keeps my mind active.

Exploring the outdoors: Immersing myself in nature through hiking, camping, or simply enjoying a quiet walk in the park allows me to reconnect with the world around me and find peace.

5. Embracing Mindfulness:

Practicing gratitude: Regularly reflecting on and appreciating the positive aspects of my life helps cultivate a sense of contentment and well-being.

Living in the present moment: Mindfulness practices, like focusing on my breath and being fully present in the moment, help me manage stress and anxiety, allowing me to savor each experience.

By prioritizing these strategies, I’ve discovered that maintaining balance is not only possible but essential for achieving personal and professional fulfillment. While legal work can be demanding, by nurturing my passions and dedicating time to self-care, I ensure that I show up energized and focused, ready to tackle any challenge legal practice throws my way.

For junior lawyers aspiring to excel in the legal field, especially in areas like shipping and commercial arbitration, what new skill sets do you believe are crucial for achieving success in today’s legal landscape?

Emerging Skill Sets for Success in Shipping and Commercial Arbitration

The legal landscape is continuously evolving, driven by technological advancements and a rapidly changing global economy. For young lawyers aspiring to thrive in fields like shipping and commercial arbitration, mastering traditional legal expertise is no longer sufficient. Success demands a broader skill set that equips them to navigate the complexities of these dynamic fields. Here are some crucial new skill sets that junior lawyers should focus on:

1. Technological Proficiency:

Data Analytics: Familiarity with data analysis tools and platforms is crucial for effectively handling the increasing volume and complexity of legal data in shipping and arbitration. This includes extracting insights from contracts, invoices, and other documents to support legal arguments and identify potential risks.

Legal Technology: Understanding and leveraging legal technology, such as contract management software, artificial intelligence-powered legal research platforms, and e-discovery tools, can significantly enhance efficiency and accuracy in legal work.

Cybersecurity: As legal proceedings increasingly move online, understanding cybersecurity principles and best practices for protecting sensitive client information is essential.

Artificial intelligence: Artificial intelligence is the next hop and is growing at a very high speed, this cannot be ignored. AI assist in improving our quality.

2. Communication and Collaboration Skills:

Effective Communication: The ability to clearly and concisely communicate legal concepts and strategies to diverse audiences, both verbally and in writing, is paramount for success in arbitration and complex legal matters.

Cross-cultural Communication: Understanding and navigating cultural differences is crucial for working effectively with clients and colleagues from diverse backgrounds in international shipping and commercial arbitration.

Collaboration: Building strong relationships and collaborating effectively with colleagues, clients, and experts from other disciplines is vital for achieving successful outcomes in complex legal matters.

3. Business Acumen:

Commercial Awareness: Understanding the commercial realities of the shipping industry and the broader business environment is crucial for providing clients with commercially sound legal advice.

Negotiation and Dispute Resolution: Mastering the art of negotiation and developing strong dispute-resolution skills are essential for resolving complex legal issues efficiently and effectively.

Project Management: The ability to effectively manage legal projects, meet deadlines, and stay organized is critical for handling complex legal matters with multiple stakeholders.

4. Adaptability and Continuous Learning:

Adaptability: The legal landscape is constantly changing, and lawyers must be adaptable and willing to learn new skills and technologies to stay relevant and competitive.

Critical Thinking and Problem-Solving: Developing strong critical thinking and problem-solving skills is essential for analyzing complex legal issues, identifying potential solutions, and developing effective legal strategies.

Continuous Learning: Cultivating a commitment to continuous learning and staying abreast of legal developments, industry trends, and emerging technologies is crucial for long-term success in the legal field.

In addition to these specific skill sets, young lawyers should also cultivate strong ethical values, professional judgment, and a commitment to client service. By developing these diverse skill sets and remaining adaptable and eager to learn, young lawyers can position themselves for success in the ever-evolving legal landscape of shipping and commercial arbitration.

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