Bloomberg Law
July 27, 2023, 9:00 AM

They’ve Got Next: The 40 Under 40 - Randa Adra of Crowell & Moring

Lisa Helem
Lisa Helem
Executive Editor
MP McQueen

Please describe two of your most substantial, recent wins in practice.

One of my recent wins was successfully defending a Fortune 20 client in an arbitration against breach of contract claims valued at $120 million under the International Chamber of Commerce Court of Arbitration Rules.

Perhaps the most rewarding aspect of this win was gaining the client’s trust to see this matter through to a hearing in the face of challenging facts and evidence. Our team ultimately delivered a victory that was far better than the client anticipated, leaving them “ecstatic about the outcome.”

In another $1.7 billion international arbitration governed by Egyptian law, our team secured an arbitral award of $494 million in favor of our client, and dismissal of a $500 million counterclaim. The dispute stemmed from an infrastructure project involving complex financing and technical issues.

Managing the preparation of hundreds of pages of submissions (in addition to witness and expert testimony) in both English and Arabic was an extraordinary feat that I will not soon forget.

What is the most important lesson you learned as a first-year attorney and how does it inform your practice today?

Within my first few months as an attorney, I was given the responsibility of working directly with an expert witness and supporting the preparation of his expert report for a large international arbitration matter. After taking on this big assignment, I quickly learned that two skills are vital to the practice of law, particularly in dispute resolution: curiosity and proactivity.

Initially, I simply accepted everything the expert said, without question or critique. I assumed that he was more experienced, and I had little value to add. This led to the preparation of an entirely ineffective expert report.

Through this experience, I learned that it was my job to push back on the expert, affirmatively ask tough questions, pressure test his opinions, and identify any gaps or holes that might undermine our case.

It was certainly a challenge at first, one that required setting aside my imposter syndrome and trusting my instincts. But now, on every matter I work on, I stay curious about every aspect of the case, which is necessary to unlocking creative arguments. Proactivity then complements this curiosity—actively seeking out elusive facts and issues is a key step in effectively problem-solving.

How do you define success in your practice?

Success in my practice is defined by helping my clients achieve their desired outcomes. This does not mean winning a big case or garnering accolades. Rather, it is a tailored process that involves identifying what the ideal outcome is for my client and working towards that goal.

For some clients, it is a big trial win. For others, it is a quiet settlement that preserves the parties’ business relationship. If I am able to achieve my client’s goal efficiently and cost-effectively, then I have done my job.

On a more personal level, I also view success through the lens of training the next generation of talent. I invest a significant amount of time to team and community building and hope to create opportunities for diverse junior talent to shine.

I will consider my efforts a success if I am able to contribute in even a small way to making the participation and achievement in the legal industry more accessible to women and diverse lawyers.

What are you most proud of as a lawyer?

As an attorney, I am most proud of my work serving others. I truly enjoy being able to help my clients solve their most challenging problems, adding value to their business or, in some cases, their lives.

The most rewarding work I do by far is my pro bono work, helping those who would otherwise have minimal access to sophisticated legal representation. These are the clients who often have their lives at stake.

I have spent many hours helping women who have been subject to abuse and threatened with violence tell their story and find safety. Many of these women come from the same region where I grew up in Beirut, Lebanon and I am intimately familiar with the horrors they have experienced. There is no greater feeling than knowing I was able to contribute to their new life chapters.

Who is your greatest mentor in the law and what have they taught you?

I have been very fortunate to work at a firm that has groomed me into the attorney I am today and have been supported by too many mentors and sponsors to list. If I had to identify one trusted adviser that has stood out over the years, it would be [antitrust partner] Chahira Solh.

Although Chahira and I do not have the fortune of working in the same practice area, she has helped me navigate every challenge I have faced throughout my career, not only providing guidance and advice, but also serving as a role model of a diverse woman leader climbing to the highest ranks of a prestigious law firm. She proved to me that I could achieve my goals and succeed, even as a Lebanese immigrant with a very different background and story than my peers.

One of the biggest lessons Chahira has taught me is that my voice matters. Even if I am the most junior person in the room, I should share my unique perspective. She has also always encouraged and supported me in spearheading initiatives that I am passionate about, including helping found the MENA Affinity Group at our firm.

Tell us your two favorite songs on your summer playlist.

My two-year-old son has already developed a passion for The Beatles. Singing “Let It Be” with him before bedtime will certainly be a highlight this summer (and for as long as he will let me sing with him before going to bed!).

Otherwise, for better or worse, my playlists have not been updated in over a decade. A fun classic that always brings back good summer memories and perks me up when it comes on is “Hey Ya!” by OutKast.

Randa Adra of Crowell & Moring and spouse in Cappadocia, Turkey
Randa Adra and Jonathan Hurtarte/Bloomberg Law

Randa Adra led the Women’s Leadership Initiative in the NY office for more than five years. This year, she was chosen to be chair of the Women in the Profession Committee of the ABA Young Lawyers Division. Crowell’s management board recently selected Adra to serve on its Global Reach Committee, which makes recommendations about future growth and expansion of the firm.

To contact the reporters on this story: Lisa Helem at; MP McQueen at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: MP McQueen at; Lisa Helem at

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