Cosmin Vasile earns plaudits as "a leading litigator in the Romanian market" who further excels in construction, engineering and arbitration matters.
Dr Cosmin Vasile, managing partner of Zamfirescu Racoți Vasile & Partners, has extensive experience of more than 21 years in handling cross-border disputes, with a focus on construction, energy, privatisation, and M&A litigation. In addition, he is popular among major domestic and international corporations for advice in high-profile commercial, administrative-contentious, enforcement and public procurement disputes. Cosmin also acts for a significant client roster in intellectual property matters, being a highly regarded IP litigator in both patent and trademarks.
What inspired you to pursue a legal career?
Providence. When I started my career as a lawyer, I had no idea what this profession was all about what to expect / was expected of me. Luckily, I had the fantastic chance to join an authentic litigation academy, the perfect place for me to fathom, master and fall in love with litigation. From that moment on I have been convinced that this is what I want to do for the rest of my legal career and to this day, more than 21 years later, I have the same sentiment.
How has your background in academia enhanced your present work as a litigator?
I would rather say that it was the other way around, or at best that the two have influenced and enhanced each other. I joined academia when I was a young litigator, but still experienced enough to understand how to use academic training as a pragmatic tool. To this day, in each of the academic positions I have held I have focused on giving prominence to the practical side of theory.
Where, in your opinion, does the future of commercial litigation lie?
The brief answer would be in further specialisation and diversification. Already, one cannot discuss about commercial litigation as a unique concept, due to the many subdivisions and forms which commercial disputes are being settled under, i.e. specialised courts/arbitral tribunals in various fields adapting to and functioning under various circumstances (in person, online, hybrid, etc.), multi-tier dispute resolution procedures stemming from complex and specialised contracts, which have gained tremendous success in various industries (e.g. construction, energy, oil and gas, etc.), simplified (almost automated) procedures for small claims and, last but not least, the prospective impact of AI in dispute settlement. These are all realities which are bound to become more and more accentuated in the coming years. I am convinced that in less than 10 years various domains of litigation will differentiate one from another to such an extent that they would be perceived as completely distinct procedures.
How does Zamfirescu Racoţi Vasile & Partners distinguish itself from the competition?
First and foremost, ZRVP’s litigation practice group has established itself as a premier litigation academy for young lawyers: at present, out of a total of 44 litigators, more than 30 have been raised and trained in this team and this is not a coincidence. This appetence for raising pure blood litigators has always allowed us to be one move ahead, since procedural strategy is what drives a case. Our many successes and appraisals prove that we have been doing the right thing. On the other hand, all our lawyers are working in teams that are specialised in several different areas which, together with our strategic vision, allow for a multidisciplinary and holistic approach to handling any case.
What are the legal and practical considerations businesses should consider when contemplating the use of alternative dispute resolution methods, such as mediation and arbitration, as opposed to litigation proceedings?
As an arbitrator, I am a fervent advocate of alternative dispute resolution methods, arbitration in particular. Generally, the only legal impediment to choosing ADR is non- arbitrability of a particular subject matter. Once this test is passed, then there are no restrictions but only advantages, the most important of all being that the parties have, to a certain extent (in any way greater than in litigation), control over the procedure, including its actors.
With some hearings continuing to take place virtually, how do you adapt your litigation style to ensure you remain as effective appearing remotely as you do in-person?
A few preliminary observations are necessary: today, as we speak, the use of virtual hearings is typical for arbitration rather than litigation; secondly, the general tendency for regulating the litigation process and not only to enhance the importance of the written phase at the cost of the oral phase; thirdly, online hearings have proven to be very useful and (surprisingly) effective. Considering the above, the answer to your question would be only one: the key is to know when to say no, when to draw the line and decide that virtual hearings are no longer adequate for the settlement of a dispute and return to the traditional in-person hearing.
What is the most important lesson you have learned in your 21 years of practice?
Understanding clients – their needs, their objectives, their expectations plus, most importantly, comprehending the perception that the client has in relation to the problem they are facing – is a vital skill for all lawyers. If this initial assessment is not correct, then you risk starting the dispute with an incomplete foundation. Apart from this, the entire journey is all about understanding people and their perception: the colleague you work with, the opposing counsel, the judge, the expert, etc.
You have enjoyed a very distinguished career so far. What would you like to achieve that you have not yet accomplished?
Should I ever catch the goldfish, I would ask it for a single wish instead of three: I would like to hold the key to not losing my passion for this amazing journey that is my legal career.