Aditi Kulkarni-Knight had an early preview of the pandemic virtual world in February when she first-chaired an international arbitration hearing. She represented a Kenyan client and led the arbitration with the opposing counsel appearing via video.
“We were ahead of the curve in terms of doing a full-day arbitration by video before COVID hit,” she said. “It was a useful experience.”
At the time, she had some other useful — if unusual — experience to pull from in that arbitration, which resulted in receiving the full damages amount for her client plus attorneys’ fees. Her experience as captain of an NCAA gymnastics team at Seattle Pacific University helped her transition to the law. Skills like cultivating a hard work ethic, working as a team and staying competitive all transfer, she said.
As a commercial litigation associate at Davis Graham & Stubbs, Kulkarni-Knight regularly puts all of those skills to work in preparing witnesses for trial, practicing the performance of opening and closing statements and studying documents ahead of a trial. Her work involves contract and royalty disputes, government investigation work and appellate work.
Kulkarni-Knight said she has found she has a lot of the skills needed to be a successful lawyer, but she didn’t always know she would go into the law. As college professors, her parents instilled an importance of learning as well as an international experience.
She spent every other summer traveling from Denver to Pune, India, where her parents had grown up before emigrating to the U.S. She said the experience gave her an appreciation for the opportunities she had — she later travel with her parents for “semester at sea” programs where they would teach college students and she would travel with them around the world. She visited half-a-dozen before middle school and has traveled to 20 countries so far.