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Photo of Thomas J. Stipanowich, J.D.

Thomas J. Stipanowich, J.D.
Academic Director, Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution, William H. Webster Chair in Dispute Resolution, and Professor of Law

Office: School of Law (SOL)

  • J.D., University of Illinois, 1980, magna cum laude
  • M. Arch, University of Illinois, 1976
  • B.S., University of Illinois, 1974, highest honors

Curriculum Vitae

SSRN Author Page


Thomas J. Stipanowich is William H. Webster Chair in Dispute Resolution and Professor of Law at Pepperdine University, as well as Academic Director of the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution (ranked number one among academic dispute resolution programs each of the last 11 years by U.S. News & World Report), where he teaches courses in negotiation theory and practice, mediation, arbitration practice, international commercial arbitration, international dispute resolution, contracts and remedies. He is a leading scholar, speaker and trainer on conflict resolution topics as well as an experienced arbitrator and mediator.

Professor Stipanowich was co-author, with Professors Ian Macneil and Richard Speidel, of the groundbreaking five-volume treatise Federal Arbitration Law: Agreements, Awards & Remedies Under the Federal Arbitration Act, cited by the United States Supreme Court and many other federal and state courts, and named Best New Legal Book by the Association of American Publishers. He also co-authored Resolving Disputes: Theory, Law and Practice (3rd ed. forthcoming 2016), a law school course book supplemented by many practical exercises. He is the author of many other much-cited publications on arbitration and dispute resolution, and has twice won the CPR Institute's First Prize for Professional Articles (1987 and 2009) - most recently for Arbitration: The "New Litigation." In 2008, he received the D'Alemberte/Raven Award, the highest honor accorded by the ABA Section on Dispute Resolution, for contributions to the field. In the fall of 2010 he was Scholar-in-Residence at the Park Lane (London) office of WilmerHale, which specializes in international commercial arbitration. In the fall of 2014 he was the New Zealand Law Foundation's International Dispute Resolution Visiting Scholar, and in the summer of 2015 was a visiting professor at Heidelberg University.

Professor Stipanowich is an advisor on the ALI Restatement of U.S. Law on International Arbitration; he is also on the Advisory Board of the New York International Arbitration Center and the Academic Council of the Institute for Transnational Arbitration (ITA). He was Editor-in-Chief of the influential College of Commercial Arbitrators Protocols for Expeditious, Cost Effective Commercial Arbitration (2010). The Protocols received the 2010 Practical Achievement Award from the CPR Institute and the 2011 Lawyer as Problem Solver Award from the ABA Section on Dispute Resolution. He co-chaired a National Roundtable on Consumer and Employment Dispute Resolution, a facilitated conversation among leading experts that convened at Pepperdine and Penn State Schools of Law.

Stipanowich is a sought-after speaker and trainer here and abroad, and has conducted skills training or educational programs for many leading companies and law firms. He is responsible for a current and ongoing series of "Conversations" - in-depth interviews with leading figures on conflict resolution topics, including Desmond Tutu and Ken Feinberg. He recently spearheaded a series of empirical studies of corporate counsel, arbitrators and mediators (co-sponsored by the Straus Institute and other leading conflict resolution organizations) to enhance understanding of current trends in commercial arbitration, mediation and conflict management. His long-term research projects include a book entitled The Lincoln Way: Abraham Lincoln as a Negotiator, Problem Solver and Manager of Conflict, as well as a study of actor-studio conflict in the Golden Age of Hollywood (focusing on the careers of James Cagney, Bette Davis and Olivia de Havilland at Warner Brothers Studios).

From 2001 to 2006 Stipanowich served as President and CEO of the New York-based International Institute for Conflict Prevention & Resolution (CPR Institute), a think tank/coalition of leading corporate general counsel, senior attorneys, scholars and judges, and one of the world's leading dispute resolution organizations. Under his leadership the Institute expanded its operations in the EU and China and started other initiatives on commercial mediation and dispute resolution, broadened the CPR Board to include several leading corporate counsel, increased annual revenues and moved into larger headquarters in midtown Manhattan. As William L. Matthews Professor of Law at the University of Kentucky (1984-2001), Stipanowich led the CPR Institute's Commission on the Future of Arbitration, producing a book of practice guidelines, Commercial Arbitration at Its Best: Successful Strategies for Business Users (2001). He may be the only individual who has been actively involved in the development of uniform laws as well as all of the leading U.S. Providers' arbitration rules and ethical standards. He was academic advisor for revisions to the Uniform Arbitration Act and the Uniform Mediation Act, and chief drafter of the Consumer Due Process Protocol (1997) governing consumer ADR programs, which became the basis of the AAA's consumer arbitration procedures. He served on the Board of Directors of the American Arbitration Association (AAA), and was the first AAA International Visiting Scholar (2000). He also served as Public Member and, later, Chair of the Securities Industry Conference on Arbitration (SICA). He was actively involved in the revision of the Code of Ethics for Arbitrators in Commercial Disputes. In 1991, he founded the Mediation Center of Kentucky, a court-connected program still in operation.

Professor Stipanowich has extensive experience as a commercial and construction arbitrator, mediator, facilitator and special master, with emphasis on large and complex cases in the U.S. and internationally. He has received appointments through the American Arbitration Association (AAA), JAMS, the International Center for Dispute Resolution (ICDR), the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), and the CPR Institute, and has trained arbitrators or mediators for the AAA, CPR, the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and the Straus Institute.

Stipanowich received his bachelors and masters degrees in architecture (as a National Merit Scholar) with highest honors (Bronze Tablet), winning among other awards the American Institute of Architects School Medal, the Ryerson European Traveling Fellowship, and the Allerton American Traveling Fellowship; and a law degree (magna cum laude, Order of the Coif) from the University of Illinois. A one-time litigator with emphasis on construction and public contracts cases, Stipanowich holds an AV-rating from MartindaleHubbell and was recently listed among Top-Rated Lawyers in Southern California and Top Construction Lawyers nationally. He received the highest honor (Companionship) of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, is a Fellow of the American College of Construction Lawyers, a Founding Fellow of the American College of Commercial Arbitrators, an Honorary Member of the International Academy of Mediators (IAM), and the American College of Civil Trial Mediators (ACCTM), and an Honorary Member of the Garibaldi ADR Inn of Court. He was selected as one of 500 outstanding lawyers in America in a survey conducted by the legal magazine Lawdragon.


Key Awards/Affiliations
  • Lawyer as Problem Solver Award from the ABA Section on Dispute Resolution, 2011
  • Practical Achievement Award, International Institute for Conflict Prevention & Resolution, 2010
  • Advisor, ALI Restatement of U.S. Law on International Arbitration


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