Did you begin your professional career by choosing a position in ADR? We want to hear from you!
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With 35 individuals featured on this blog, and an entire issue of the ABA's Dispute Resolution magazine dedicated to the changing landscape of ADR careers, I still receive push back from colleagues when I say it is possible for recent grads to start their careers in ADR.  Do you agree?  Do you think it is possible for recent grads to start a career in ADR?  Why?  Please share your thoughts below:


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  2. It is. Is it. The same two words, but when switched they imply very different meanings, don’t they? This week I published two pieces on the idea that ADR as a first career is in fact possible and you don’t necessarily have to wait until you retire, or have 10+ years of experience as a litigator before you transition to ADR. In both instances, the person editing the piece, or posting to the blog, inadvertently changed the message from an emphatic statement to a question. In my piece for the ABA-DR Magazine, they list the title of the article as “ADR as Early Career: Is It Possible?” when the actual title is “ADR as Early Career: It Is Possible.” Literally changing it from a statement of fact to a question that still needs to be answered. In the second piece I wrote, a guest blog post on the ADR Prof Blog, Indisputably.org, they titled the post for me “Carrel on Dreams of an ADR Career”. I was surprised to see the word “Dreams” used in the title. Again, it implies that ADR as an early career isn’t possible. These subconscious acts questioning the assertion that it is possible to start a career in ADR early on is, just fascinating to me.

  3. There have been some very nice supportive comments on the indisputably.org website following a recent blog post I shared. You can read the post and comments here: http://www.indisputably.org/?p=7131&cpage=1#comment-141420

    I am hoping this conversation continues and for now am using this discussion page to share my thoughts on the topic.

    In one of the comments, John Lande, Professor at the University of Missouri, wrote: "In general, it really is hard to get ADR jobs and it usually takes a lot of preparation, patience, and perseverance." I agree with him and shared that I would also add the word "Passion". When students or recent grads ask me for advice, I start with a question: "What interests you in an ADR career and what does success mean to you?" Because if someone isn't truly passionate about this work, or needs the predictability of the big law career path to feel successful, then ADR as a first career is likely not for them.

    I spoke with a recent Harvard grad who was thinking about applying to law school because she said she wants to be a mediator. She currently volunteers as a mediator in the courts and thought going to law school was her logical next step to a career in ADR. But when I spoke with her about her passions and definition of success, it seemed clear to us both that she is not interested in mediation at the entry level. She simply loves to problem solve and be involved in policy making and organizational change. For her, I pointed out that the tenets of dispute resolution are applicable in any profession. That she can pursue a career and use her problem solving capabilities to improve situations and make a difference. She doesn't have to necessarily focus solely on work in the ADR field as a neutral or administrator.

    I also asked about what she wanted her future to look like, what success meant for her. And it became clear that an entry-level position doing administrative work may not fulfill her. But for me, I was happy doing administrative work when I was hired as the Juvenile Dependency Mediation Program Manager for the 8th Judicial Circuit in Florida. I was 23 years old and thought I hit the jackpot. Because for me, all I wanted to do was work in this field and I felt fortunate anytime I was given the opportunity to do so, especially at such a young age. That feeling of success has followed me in each and every job I have landed since then.

    And so far, for the folks I have interviewed as part of this blog, it seems they too feel successful, not because of status or monetary gains, but because they found a way to land a job in ADR, doing what they love, at a young age when no one else said it would be possible.

  4. check out Heather Kulp's series on giving career advice for ADR professionals and why most of it is wrong! https://hnmcpblog.wordpress.com/2015/10/14/fallacies-underlying-common-adr-career-advice-given-to-young-professionals/