ao link
Who's Who Legal
Who's Who Legal
Menu
Thought Leaders

Thought Leaders

Mrinal Jain

Mrinal Jain

Secretariat1102, 11th Floor, Tower B,Peninsula Business Park,S. B. Road, Lower Parel,MumbaiIndia400013

Thought Leader

Peers and clients say

"Mrinal is exceedingly hardworking, highly meticulous and presents independent quantum"
"He has a strong commercial mind-set"
"I found Mrinal to be delightful to work with and I will not hesitate to recommend him as expert witness"

Questions & Answers

Mrinal is a director at Secretariat and leads the firm’s economic damages and valuation practice in India. He has about 15 years of experience in the assessment of quantum, financial, economic and valuation issues in calculating damages, claims and losses in disputes. He is a member of SIAC Users Council and appointed on the Board of Society of Construction Law – Western India Chapter and the Advisory Board of Centre for Arbitration Research, MNLU Mumbai.

What inspired you to pursue a career as a quantum and valuation expert?

I commenced my professional career with a Big Four accounting firm in New York and was truly fascinated by the real-life application of economic, finance and valuation principles in resolving client issues. In my constant pursuit of a more challenging role, I was enthralled by the unique blend of law and finance in expert witness work. This role provided me an opportunity to assist the tribunals and counsels in opining on complex economic, finance and valuation issues in assessment of damages and claims in the dispute resolution process. The rigour, depth and challenge involved in the expert witness work and the interaction with the legal fraternity is, indeed, intellectually stimulating.   

What has been the most memorable arbitration you have been a part of?

Each dispute is unique and memorable in its own way. Nothing can be more professionally satisfying than a settlement of the dispute based on the expert witness report! I have been fortunate to be involved in such international arbitration cases in the past wherein I had an opportunity to work with some of the finest counsels across the globe. 

Since you began your career, what has been the biggest change you have seen in relation to the way that arbitration proceedings are conducted in India?

Arbitration as a means of alternative dispute resolution has been present in India for a long time, as governed by the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996. One of the biggest changes that I have noted in the conduct of the arbitration proceedings in India is greater acceptability and recognition by the tribunal of the role of an independent expert witness in the dispute resolution process. It is also pertinent to note that recent amendments to the act have sought to improve speed and efficiency of arbitration in India by imposing time limits and providing the framework for institutionalised arbitration in India.

How efficient has the shift towards remote and virtual hearings been in the past year? Are they here to stay?

The late Austrian economist and Harvard professor Joseph Schumpeter considered disruption critical for economic growth and societal advancement. The question is, are we ready to embrace this disruption? While the coronavirus pandemic is far from over, the arbitration community has shown a desire to embrace technology as an alternative to in-person hearings. 

The increase in the use of videoconferencing and virtual hearing rooms has undoubtedly ushered in greater efficiency and flexibility in the arbitration proceedings. However, the issues of screen fatigue and different time zones pose a significant challenge to the practitioners. 

Lockdowns have resulted in new norms and acceptances that may continue beyond the crisis. However, in my view, the future would be a mix of virtual hearings and in-person meetings, especially in cases of large complex disputes where cross-examination and hot-tubbing is critical to evaluate the credibility of the experts and narrow down the list of issues of disagreement between the parties. 

What challenges do you see the next generation of expert witnesses facing?

First, it is essential to create knowledge and awareness of the role of an independent expert witness in the dispute resolution process amongst the corporates and the legal fraternity in India. The expert witness work is still at a nascent stage in this country (as compared to the developed countries like Singapore, USA and UK) and requires greater acceptability and recognition by the arbitration community, in general. This is true especially in cases where complex economic, financial and valuation issues are contested. 

Second, it is pertinent to recognise the need to continue to develop the next generation of expert witnesses and assist the first-timers in identifying suitable opportunities to present themselves as an expert. 

Finally, the expert witness work will evolve over time with the increasing reliance on technology and artificial intelligence; and changing law of damages. 

How do you see your practice developing over the next five years?

India continues to suffer an unprecedented and complex economic disequilibrium emanating from the simultaneous demand and supply shocks of the coronavirus pandemic. It is, therefore, not unreasonable to expect an increase in the number of disputes in the short term. In addition, the firm is focused on actively participating in the growing Singapore-India corridor in the long term. My colleague and mentor, Chaitanya Arora and I look forward to sharing Secretariat’s global best practices in expert witness services to Indian corporates and law firms in effectively managing their dispute resolution. 

Secretariat has recently launched its economic damages and valuation practice in India. The expansion of this practice into India complements Secretariat’s existing market-leading construction delay and quantum practice in Asia. Therefore, the firm is now well-positioned to provide a full range of expert services across Asia. 

In my view, the most important piece for entering a market successfully is finding the right talent to bring it together. At Secretariat, we are driven by the desire to build a firm that is set apart by the values of integrity, quality and objectivity that define everything we do. I look forward to delivering world-class solutions every day and attract the best, brightest and most respected names in the industry to our team.

What is the best piece of career advice you have received?

My idol, Howard Rosen once said, “Change is the only constant in life, so continue to challenge yourself for professional growth to be able to contribute and add value to your clients”.

Global Leader

WWL Ranking: Recommended

Peers and clients say

"Mrinal is exceedingly hardworking, highly meticulous and presents independent quantum"
"He has a strong commercial mind-set"
"I found Mrinal to be delightful to work with and I will not hesitate to recommend him as expert witness"

Biography

Mrinal Jain is a director at Secretariat and based in India. Mrinal’s primary area of focus is the assessment of quantum, financial, economic and valuation issues in contentious and non-contentious matters. He is recognised as one of the leading expert witnesses in international arbitration in WWL: Arbitration 2019, 2020 and 2021 and WWL Thought Leaders: Arbitration 2021.

He commenced his professional career with a Big Four accounting firm in New York in 2007 and brings with him more than 14 years of experience in corporate finance, valuation and quantification of damages, claims or losses and preparation of independent expert reports and rebuttal reports in dispute cases. Specifically, Mr Jain has worked on more than 25 matters involving domestic and international arbitrations, bilateral investment treaty (BIT) cases and litigations.

His experience includes valuation of businesses and equity shares; valuation of IPRs including intangibles and non-compete agreements; market and economic analysis; research and study for various purposes including dispute resolution; litigation and arbitration support; family settlement; shareholder negotiation; joint venture (entry or exit); merger; acquisition; restructuring; strategic sale and investments; private equity portfolio evaluation as per IPEVC guidelines; and financial reporting purposes.

Mrinal was awarded with All India Economics Merit Certificate by CBSE in 2001. He graduated in economics from St Stephen’s College (Delhi) in 2004. He pursued his MBA (finance) from Fordham Graduate School of Business in New York in 2007. He is also a visiting faculty at several business schools and a speaker at various national and international conferences.

Law Business Research
Law Business Research Ltd
Meridian House, 34-35 Farringdon Street
London EC4A 4HL, UK
© Law Business Research Ltd 1998-2021. All rights reserved.
Company No.: 03281866