Petya Koycheva

Why have you decided to specialise in ADR? What attracted you to this area of law?

I very much like the mental challenge that ADR presents in the form of both flexibility to choose many aspects of the procedure, applicable laws, etc. and complexity of the disputes. It is also a very interesting area of law, which allows you to pursue different career paths – one can be either counsel, arbitrator, mediator or even all of the above.

What do you consider to be the biggest challenge in your career as a female practitioner in arbitration/ mediation?

The arbitration/ mediation market has become very competitive and due to its idiosyncrasies having a career in arbitration/ mediation is a demanding job. I believe one of the biggest challenge is having a role model or mentor, someone that is willing to share their knowledge and experience with you. Another challenge is that arbitration is susceptible to the market situation – one has to have the right skills and experience in the right time. 

What do you consider as the biggest challenge for the ADR in the future?

There is a huge focus at the moment on technology, efficiency and cybersecurity in ADR as well as the legitimacy of arbitration in particular. I think the biggest challenges for arbitration, however, remain to be costs and efficiency.   

Are there any interesting developments in the field of ADR in the jurisdiction you are based in?

In the UK there has been a huge focus on Brexit since the 2016 referendum, so it is interesting to see whether arbitration will benefit from this (because the enforcement of court judgments remains uncertain and parties will turn to arbitration) or not (because London will not be seen as a favourable seat of arbitration).

As to Bulgaria, I am happy to see that generally there has been an increased interest in ADR. There are more and more cases before the Bulgarian courts dealing with arbitration-related issues, which is a positive trend. 

What is it like to work in a predominantly male profession such as ADR?

It is challenging but luckily there are more and more women that are reaching the top in this profession and who are fantastic role models, such as Prof Gabrielle Kaufmann-Kohler, Paula Hodges QC, Wendy Miles and Ania Farren.

How has a membership with the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators benefitted your career?

As a member to the Young CIArb group I have benefited greatly from the events organised by the group. They are a great opportunity to meet like-minded professionals and stay up-to-date with the latest developments in the field.

What do you consider to be your biggest achievement in the field thus far?

I see my PhD as the biggest achievement so far. Next step – a published book!

Tell us about your interests, hobbies or any out of work activities.

I am very interested in decision-making not only from a legal point of you but also from a psychological one. I enjoy reading about cognitive bias, psychology of decision making, behavioural economics and everything that explains how we shape our views and take decisions. Apart from that I like photography and all sorts of sports.

Tell us a short war story from your ADR experience.

It’s a funny story about the Willem C Vis moot in Vienna. It happened a few years ago now. I was asked to sit on a tribunal as Gary Born’s substitute as he was late for a hearing. I entered the room, only to see the sheer disappointment of the students who having been eager to meet the legendary Gary Born were to have their hearing chaired by a really bad impersonator!

If you could be a film/book character for one day who would it be and why?

I would love to be a super hero character with special powers – I might be able to clean the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in a day.

 If you could meet for a dinner a famous person, dead or alive, who would that be?

David Attenborough – I didn’t even have to think hard about this!

If you could experience first-hand one historical event what would it be and why?

I wish I could remember the tearing down of the Berlin Wall. Unfortunately being a small child at the time I have no recollection of the event.