“Tennis. Chocolate-hunting. Reading. Hiking”
Originally from the United States, Khurram Khan is a dispute resolution lawyer with almost 10 years professional experience. After being awarded bachelor’s degrees in both Physics and Aerospace Engineering from the State University of New York, Khurram switched disciplines, gaining his Juris Doctor from SUNY, Buffalo Law School, before pursuing an Executive LLM from Northwestern University, Pritzker School of Law. Building on this broad educational background, Khurram went on to receive a Certificate in Business Administration from IE University, Madrid.
During his professional career, he has acted as an arbitrator or legal advisor in a number of complex cross-border disputes in the Middle East and North Africa, counting MNCs and government agencies among his clientele. His successful handling of disputes has given him a unique position among advisors in the UAE to effectively prosecute contentious matters and achieve commercially beneficial results. Alongside his extensive frontline experience, Khurram has published articles in The Lawyer Monthly and San Frontiers on commercial dispute resolution and new developments in arbitration law in Saudi Arabia, among others.
Khurram Khan, United States
- Program studied
Why did you decide to do the Executive LLM?
I was drawn to the Executive LLM for a number of reasons. First, having worked as a dispute resolution lawyer for nearly 10 years, I wanted to take a step back and commit myself to understanding recent shifts in the legal industry. Lawyers are often focused on minute detail, which is certainly a key skill for mastery in any discipline. However, we forget to develop our full range of abilities. A peregrine falcon can spot its prey up to three kilometers away, but its telescope-like vision would be useless without its birds-eye view. The Executive LLM offered me that fresh perspective.
Having decided to enroll in an LLM, I wanted to select an institution with a globally recognised law program and faculty. After some research, I found that the Executive LLM at IE ticked both boxes.
A third reason for choosing the Executive LLM was the diverse student body. Our class had 17 students, which provided an excellent student to faculty ratio. The students had experience in various areas of the law and other fields. Our class alone included a judge, an investment banker, senior in-house lawyers and private-practice lawyers from numerous sectors. They also represented different parts of the world, including Australia, Italy, Guatemala and Ecuador.
I should also add that the opportunity to attend courses in Madrid was not only convenient (I am based in Dubai and Madrid is well-connected to the Middle East), but the city itself has a unique people, culture and legal system that is great to explore.
What are your professional goals?
I specialize in international arbitration. I would like to continue developing professionally as an advisor and arbitrator, with a further aim to teach in this area at a law school.
What do you enjoy most about your profession?
Legal analysis, writing and advocacy. All three are intensive aspects of law which develop essential transferable skills that can be applied to many disciplines outside the legal sphere. I also enjoy the opportunity to get involved in social causes that are related to the law.
You are in a very diverse classroom with classmates from all over the world. Do you find cultural differences in the approach to the law? If so, what are they and how do these differences enrich the learning experience?
Yes, there are many differences. For example, I have noticed there are a broad number of approaches in preparing for a trial. As to enriching the learning experience, studying a different culture’s practice, with regard to a particular issue, gives you a new perspective. Through this fascinating alternative lens, you get an insight into the historical context of a legal culture, as well as current challenges facing a particular society. This serves as a great tool, allowing you to reflect on your own legal experiences.
What are the main challenges that professionals working in your sector face?
Cost would be one challenge. International commercial arbitration professionals are still in demand, even with new factors such as technology. That being said, we need to think hard about how best to deliver value. Another challenge is holding legal professionals to a high standard of ethics and professionalism. Finally, I would also add the challenges of legal certainty and reliability, with regard to enforcing foreign awards and judgments.
What are your hobbies?
Tennis. Chocolate-hunting. Reading. Hiking.
What was a highlight of your Executive LLM experience?
It’s really hard to choose just one! I would say the day trip to Segovia where we had an insightful class, enjoyed a fantastic lunch and explored the old town. Also, I really appreciated the opportunity to bond with people from all over the world, forming lifelong friendships in the process.