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Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution

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Malibu Campus

Block 4: One-week Intensives

June 30, July 1, 2, 3, & 5, 2014

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday : 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
Thursday: 8:30-11:30 a.m.

Psychology of Conflict

Based on findings from the social sciences, this course examines how individuals think about and relate to one another in the context of conflict. Students acquire a theoretical framework for understanding and assisting parties in conflict. Concepts explored for their usefulness in conflict resolution include the following: personality development and differences; neurotic styles; difficult people and psychological disorders; predictable cognitive biases; sources of psychological resistance to dealing with conflict such as fear of abandonment, shame, guilt and unresolved grief; stages of conflict including escalation, stalemate, de-escalation, and resolution; social origins of conflict, including differences in values, beliefs and morals; socialization of aggressive and cooperative behaviors; emotional intelligence, self awareness and empathy; trust and altruism; anger and the limits of argumentation and rationality; prejudice and the need for enemies. The course includes at least one self-assessment instrument to enhance student awareness of individual differences in psychological styles.

Richard C. Reuben is the James Lewis Parks Professor of Law at the University of Missouri School of Law and co-director of the Missouri Center for the Study of Conflict, Law & the Media. Reuben is co-author of Dispute Resolution and Lawyers (4th ed. 2009), a leading ADR casebook; a reporter for the Uniform Mediation Act, a project of the American Bar Association and the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws; and is one of the leading authorities on confidentiality in ADR processes. He is also the founding chair of the ABA Section of Dispute Resolution's Committee on Public Policy, Consensus Building, and Democracy, a member of the Editorial Board of the Section's Dispute Resolution Magazine, and the American Law Institute.

Selected Issues in Dispute Resolution: Dispute Resolution and Technology

Pre-requisite: LAW 1422 Mediation Theory and Practice or Alternative Dispute Resolution

Courts cannot handle online disputes. The judicial system is slow, expensive, and geographically bound. Rapidly expanding e-commerce, the growth in cross-boundary transactions, and the inability of traditional legal processes to deal with disputes arising over the web has created a need for online redress options. The international consensus is that online alternative dispute resolution is the best solution to these problems. Online ADR (or "ODR") can resolve online disputes quickly, confidentially, and effectively. It helps parties to be at their best, it connects capable neutrals with parties in effective ways, and it brings efficiencies to inefficient online marketplaces.

ODR is the hottest area of the ADR field right now. But it is still in its infancy. Do the rules of offline ADR apply to ODR? How does technology change the equation? Can ODR be effective when parties are not looking into the other side's eyes? How can offline neutrals best translate their skills online? How can technology merge with face-to-face ADR to make it more effective?

In this Seminar we'll examine the development of ODR, think through some of the new challenges it poses to neutrals and systems designers, and look at all the major providers, administrative agencies, and international organizations currently involved. We'll also get to try out state-of-the-art ODR technologies through a series of simulations, and to begin to wrestle with the challenges of providing effective dispute resolution online.

Colin Rule is COO of, an ODR provider based in Silicon Valley. He was previously Director of Online Dispute Resolution for eBay and PayPal, and co-founded one of the first online dispute resolution (ODR) providers, Online Resolution. Colin is the author of Online Dispute Resolution for Business, published by Jossey-Bass. He has contributed more than 50 articles to prestigious ADR publications such as Consensus, The Fourth R, ACResolution Magazine, and Peace Review. He currently blogs at, and serves on the boards of RESOLVEand the Peninsula Conflict Resolution Center.