The Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution builds on its 26-year history and continues to top the U.S. News & World Report rankings as the number one dispute resolution program for the ninth consecutive year.
Pepperdine School of Law's Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution was recently ranked the number one dispute resolution program by U.S. News & World Report for the ninth consecutive year. The remaining schools in the Top 5 for 2013 are Harvard University, University of Missouri-Columbia, Hamline University, and Ohio State University (Moritz).
The Straus Institute was established in 1986 as the first dispute resolution program in the Southwest. From the beginning, the institute has recruited prominent full-time faculty and practitioners from throughout the U.S., Canada, Latin America, and Asia.
Straus offers two tracks of training: professional training programs and academic programs including the Certificate, a Master's (M.D.R.), and an LL.M. in dispute resolution. In 2004, Straus launched the Undergraduate Certificate in Conflict Management, a joint enterprise between Straus and Pepperdine's Seaver College. In the Fall, Straus will begin offering a new LLM with a concentration in international commercial arbitration.
Beginning in the fall, Straus will offer more than 40 different courses in dispute resolution including negotiation, mediation, arbitration, labor, entertainment dispute resolution, dispute resolution ethics, cross cultural conflict, psychology of conflict, and other areas. Courses are taught by six full time Pepperdine professors, 22 local adjuncts, and 35 adjuncts and visiting faculty from around the world.
Tom Stipanowich, academic director of the Straus Institute, William H. Webster Chair in Dispute Resolution, and professor of law, explains, "The Straus Institute is a one-of-a-kind community that reaches across disciplinary boundaries. Its broad and deep curriculum furnishes a full and evolving array of problem-solving skills, insights and experiences that are now at the core of Twenty-First Century law practice."
Peter Robinson, managing director of the Straus Institute and associate professor of law, adds, "Straus' success is the result of the support of a wide community of friends. The faculty and administration at the School of Law have been consistently supportive. Distinguished scholars and practitioners from across the country give generously of their time and talents to serve as faculty and mentors for our students. Judges, lawyers, and law students from around the world sacrifice to attend the courses and challenge the course materials and each other. The result is a dynamic learning environment that is encouraging and enlightening."
Robinson has dedicated more than 22 years to the Straus Institute, teaching advanced negotiation and mediation skills courses in more than 30 states and in Argentina, Canada, England, Holland, Hong Kong, India, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Mexico, and Rwanda.
Stipanowich joined in 2006, bringing to Pepperdine a reputation as a leader in the dispute resolution field. Serving as president and CEO of the New York-based International Institute for Conflict Prevention and Resolution (CPR) from 2001 to 2006, he expanded the institute's operations in the EU and China and started a number of other new initiatives here and abroad, and making substantive presentations and training programs at many leading companies and law firms in the U.S. and other countries. Prior to his time at CPR, Stipanowich was William L. Matthews Professor of Law at the University of Kentucky. He authored a number of award-winning books and articles including the leading treatise on arbitration law, cited by the Supreme Court and many other federal and state courts. He remains one of the leading scholars and policymakers in the arbitration arena, and has extensive experience as a commercial and construction arbitrator, mediator, facilitator, and special master, with emphasis on large and complex cases.
During his seven years at Pepperdine, Stipanowich has won a number of awards for scholarly writing as well as problem-solving initiatives such as the Protocols for Expeditious, Cost-Effective Commercial Arbitration. He is currently co-chairing a National Roundtable on Consumer and Employment Dispute Resolution that met at Pepperdine in early 2012. He established a 60-member Council of Distinguished Advisors for the Straus Institute, helped acquire a grant to establish a new securities investor clinic, and spearheaded the acquisition of the world's leading dispute resolution collection for the Pepperdine Law Library.
Stipanowich also received the American Bar Association's prestigious D'Alemberte/Raven Award in 2008 for contributions to the field of dispute resolution.
In 2007, Straus acquired the world's leading library from the American Arbitration Association, consisting of more than 24,000 titles. The AAA library includes titles on subjects ranging from international arbitration to consumer disputes and health law to the history and growth of public and private dispute resolution practices in the U.S. and abroad.
In recent years, Straus has launched the PACIS Project in Faith Based Diplomacy. In consultation with governments and religious leaders, the PACIS Project addresses identity-based conflicts that exceed the grasp of traditional diplomacy by combining religion with the practice of international diplomacy through an innovative model of faith-based reconciliation. Working with leaders in policymaking circles, foreign ministries, national security agencies, religious denominational communities, and humanitarian non-governmental organizations, the project has already brought about tangible fruit in the United States, Sudan, Kashmir, and recently in the Arab and Israeli spheres of influence. Since 1995, Straus has enrolled Fulbright scholars from around the world in addition to Muskie Fellows and Weinstein International Fellows, and Rotary International Scholars.
"The School of Law continues to be so proud of the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution," said Dean Deanell Reece Tacha. "The excellence of the work of the Institute is recognized throughout this country and abroad. Among the hallmarks of a good legal education is a commitment to training new lawyers to be problem solvers for their clients, society, the nation and the world. Today's legal, economic, and social landscape includes many forms of alternative dispute resolution. Pepperdine University through its Straus Institute is at the leading edge of training excellent lawyers whose understanding and skills include both traditional doctrinal grounding and the skills and dispute resolution abilities that will help solve the many problems that clients and society confront."