On Monday, July 15th, AABANY, along with SABANY, co-sponsored a panel on Careers in Alternative Dispute Resolution (“ADR”) at the JAMS office located on the 16th floor of the New York Times Building at 620 8th Ave. The panel featured Dr. Kabir Dhuggal, Senior Associate at Arnold & Porter, Robyn Weinstein, ADR Administrator at the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, Rebecca Price, Director of the ADR program at the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, and Chris Kwok, mediator and arbitrator at JAMS, ADR Services. Chris Kwok is a Board Director of AABANY, Co-Chair of the Asia Practice Committee, and Chair of the Issues Committee. The panel was moderated by Amit Kumar, Managing Attorney at the Law Offices of William Cafaro.
After a brief introduction of the panelists, Kumar first asked panelists, “How did you become involved in ADR?” The panelists’ responses ranged from studying it early in law school to falling into the realm of ADR later. Price noted her background as a social worker in helping to make the transition to working in ADR more naturally. Kwok affirmed that and humorously added, “When I try to describe mediation, I sometimes tell people that I’m a psychologist with a law degree.”
The panelists also spoke on key skills for thriving in a career in ADR. These skills included patience, engaged listening, an entrepreneurial spirit, and a genuine passion for the work. Dr. Dhuggal especially emphasized the necessity of robust legal writing skills. He advised, “Legal writing is an art that needs to be finessed. Make every effort you can. A simple way to do this is to find a senior whose writing you particularly admire and tell them that you’d like to co-author a piece with them.” Everyone commented on the importance of meaningful networking as well—be it through organizations such as AABANY and SABANY to even organizing panels with professionals you’d like to reach out to.
Other topics discussed during the well-attended panel included improving diversity in ADR, domestic ADR vs. international ADR, and predictions on future trends in the career pathway. Afterwards, attendees munched on assorted snacks from Cafe Zaiya while networking—as discussed during the panel. Thank you to all of our accomplished panelists for sharing their valuable insights!