Y-ADR Spotlight Series – Interview Questions with Adam Weiss

Y-ADR Spotlight Series,

1. What has been a beneficial aspect of engaging with the CPR Institute for you personally or professionally?

Adam Weiss

Of Counsel at Paul Hastings

1. What has been a beneficial aspect of engaging with the CPR Institute for you personally or professionally?

Early in my career, I used my firm’s membership with the CPR Institute to attend seminars and workshops hosted by experienced ADR practitioners and thought leaders.  Now, as a more senior practitioner and member of the Y-ADR Steering Committee, I am able to participate in the CPR Institute in a more bilateral manner, including by networking and establishing connections with colleagues in the ADR space and by hosting programs where I am able to share my own insights and experiences with junior practitioners interested in fostering a career in ADR.

2. What is one piece of advice you would give to somebody who wanted to pursue a career in ADR?

    Don’t be too hard on yourself early in your career or impose unreasonable expectations of immediate success.  It takes time to develop expertise and skills that you can replicate.  Especially in the ADR field, where there ae so many intelligent and driven individuals, imposter syndrome can manifest itself quickly.  Make sure that your career objectives and decisions are driven by internal motivation and personal interests, rather than what you perceive to be the “correct path” based on where others appear to be in their respective careers.

      3. Is there a moment in your career that you are most proud of?

      Fortunately, there have been many proud moments, each with varying significance depending on the stage of my career, but one that sticks out occurred several years ago during an HKIAC arbitration.  Late one night before a key cross examination a colleague and I developed a demonstrative exhibit that I then used the following afternoon during that examination to undermine some critical assertions in that witness’s witness statement.  In the final arbitral award, the Tribunal specifically referred to that cross examination and cited to that witness’s inconsistent statements.  This was particularly rewarding given that the award found in favor of our client on all material issues and even ordered the other side to pay our client a substantial amount in attorneys’ fees.

      4. What personal characteristics are most beneficial to you in your career?

      Curiosity and an eagerness to learn about different industries and how companies operate within those industries, a desire to problem solve, and a healthy amount of competitiveness.

      5. How can people with an interest in ADR get hands-on experience to further their career?

      Attending seminars or workshops that offer skill-building programs is an easy and fun way to develop critical negotiation and advocacy skills and experience, even if in a simulated environment.  Working with local pro bono clinics that specialize in areas like immigration, landlord-tenant, and disability benefits is also a great way to learn about and participate in various forms of dispute resolution, and more importantly, provides a fantastic opportunity to make a meaningful real-world impact.

      6. What is your favorite ADR process to practice?

      Recognizing that most clients would prefer to never see themselves in a dispute posture, when prophylactic measures fail to achieve early resolution, my preferred ADR process—and the one that I believe is ultimately the most effective—is international arbitration. 

      Although sometimes maligned for being protracted and expensive, in my experience, if conducted professionally by proficient counsel and overseen by an experienced tribunal, international arbitration is the premier dispute resolution mechanism for ensuring a procedurally and substantively correct result.  On a more personal level, having to navigate and reconcile the cultural and legal differences between parties, counsel, and the tribunal that invariably arise during the course of an international arbitration hearing creates another layer of dynamism that I have not experienced when participating in other forms of ADR.

      7. Describe your perfect Friday night in 5 words or less.

      Family, friends, takeout, (and hopefully) no deadlines.