Y-ADR Spotlight Series - Interview Questions with Rachel Gupta
1. What has been a beneficial aspect of engaging with the CPR Institute for you personally or professionally?
Through the CPR Institute, I have been able to attend some terrific programming that has helped me grow and refine my skills as an ADR practitioner. I have also had the opportunity to develop and present trainings, which has been extremely fulfilling.
2. What inspired you to steer your career toward ADR, and what steps did you take to make it to where you are today?
After fifteen years as a litigator, I wanted to focus my time helping parties resolve their disputes, rather than be embroiled in time-consuming, expensive, hotly contested litigation. In hindsight, ADR was a natural evolution from my prior role as in-house counsel where I served as liaison and facilitator between numerous constituents with different and oftentimes competing objectives. Where I am in my career today is the culmination of years of experience as a complex commercial litigator and in-house counsel, combined with ADR training, patience, networking, and hard work.
3. What is one piece of advice you would give to somebody who wanted to pursue a career in ADR?
Be patient and proactive. Whether it is as an advocate or as a neutral, if you want a career in ADR, you need to proactively seek out opportunities, tell your colleagues of your goals and interests, and know that it doesn’t happen overnight—it’ll likely take years to build the practice you want, but it’ll happen.
4. What personal characteristics are most beneficial to you in your career?
Top five: love of learning, ability to be a good listener, empathy, persistence, and patience.
5. How can people with an interest in ADR get hands-on experience to further their career?
If you want to be a neutral, you can get hands-on experience through various court programs. There are opportunities to serve as a mediator in many court programs, and as an arbitrator of small claims or attorney-fee disputes. Before you can be a neutral, however, the best thing you can do is to develop your legal skills—gain as much expertise as you can. Think about what expertise you would look for when hiring a neutral and seek out opportunities to gain that expertise.
6. What is your favorite ADR process to practice? Mediation.
7. Describe your perfect Friday night in 5 words or less.
Quiet. Relaxing. Probably at home.