Y-ADR Spotlight Series – Interview Questions with Kyle Thomason

Y-ADR Spotlight Series,

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

Kyle Thomason

Senior Corporate Counsel at Pfizer Inc.

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

I’ve personally loved being involved in the International Mediation Competition because it’s allowed me to connect with amazing colleagues from other countries and learn how ADR is exploding internationally.  On a personal and professional note, I’ve really enjoyed learning how ADR is attractive across industries and brainstorming ways to make dispute resolution even more effective.  

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

It’s critical to be able to approach ADR being solution-oriented with an understanding of the parties’ broader business objectives and how the dispute fits into those objectives.  For example, starting a mediation by repeating well-known arguments and allowing parties to become further entrenched in their positions is rarely a way to move matters toward a solution, but happens all too often.  

3. What is an issue that you see within the field of ADR and how can that issue be combated?

I think it can be very hard for a new mediator or arbitrator to gain traction because “experience” and “references” are so often the starting point for selection.  I think this issue can be helped by clients being willing to realize that not every dispute is “bet the company” and trying to work with newer neutrals on smaller disputes.  I also think it would be great to see newer practitioners team up with busy, overbooked neutral in a visible way so that parties can gain more confidence in working with up-and-coming neutrals for future matters.

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

I am extraordinarily proud of the work I have done to help more patients gain access to safe, effective treatments by remembering that the heart of the biopharma industry is helping improve patients’ lives.

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

I am told that it is helpful that I listen carefully, don’t speak just to be heard, and try to focus on strategic solutions with a keen focus on the ultimate goal.  I like to think it’s also beneficial that I’m friendly and willing to laugh at myself.

6. What is your favorite ADR process to practice?

I am a huge fan of an effective mediation where the parties are able to get a real assessment of their dispute and then work quickly toward a solution.

7. Describe your perfect Friday night in 5 words or less.
Filling out this questionnaire.  Just kidding.  Relaxed, calm, quiet, energizing, entertained.