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Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution

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Courses and Faculty

Dispute Resolution courses

Negotiation Theory and Practice
This course examines the theory and practice of negotiation as a process used to put deals together or to resolve disputes and legal claims. Students learn about competitive positional bargaining and collaborative problem solving and acquire insight into the strategic management of the tension between the two approaches. Through simulated exercises, students develop skills and confidence as negotiators, including an awareness of the psychological encouragements and barriers to consensus. Special challenges of multiparty negotiations are addressed with an emphasis on the attorney-client relationship, including applicable ethical standards, codes, and law.

Jasper Kim

Jasper S. Kim is an Associate Professor for the Graduate School of International Studies, and School of Law at Ewha Women's University (Seoul, Korea). He has published in numerous journals, such as with Harvard, Columbia, and the University of California, and is working on an upcoming text, Korean Business Law (Carolina Academic Press, 2009). Jasper Kim received his J.D. from Rutgers University, School of Law, Certificate from Harvard Law School (Program on Negotiation), MSc. from the London School of Economics (Economics and Economic History), and dual-B.A.'s from the University of California, San Diego (Economics, Third World Studies). He is also an attorney who has worked for Lehman Brothers, Credit Suisse, and Barclays Capital.


Mediation Theory and Practice
This course explores the various theories underlying and practices basic to mediation. The mediation process is organized into a series of stages, and basic mediation skills and techniques appropriate to each stage are identified and cultivated. Simulations and experiential exercises provide students with an opportunity to develop proficiency as mediators and to rigorously analyze appropriate roles and behavior as mediators and advocates taking into account the legal, ethical and public policy issues surrounding the practice of mediation

Jim Craven

Jim Craven is a lawyer, mediator and frequent speaker in the conflict resolution field and has trained mediators throughout the world. He is of counsel to the Spokane, Washington law firm of Evans, Craven & Lackie which he co-founded in 1978.  Mr. Craven has extensive experience in the mediation of complex commercial and construction disputes, having served as a mediator since 1990. Mr. Craven was a trial lawyer for 25 years with a practice emphasizing construction, commercial and environmental litigation, as well as professional errors and omissions defense. Mr. Craven concentrates on mediation and conflict resolution work throughout the Northwest. He consults with business and government on a wide range of issues.


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 ReubenRichard 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.


Cross-Cultural Conflict and Dispute Resolution
This course surveys the impact that cultural differences, stereotypes and attributions have on key dispute resolution processes, and on conflict generally. It is designed to build theoretical knowledge, to equip students with an analytical framework useful in determining suitable dispute resolution processes, and to instill practical skills and strategies to enhance effectiveness in cross-cultural contexts. Cultural differences in language, customs, values, legal systems and world-views are examined along various dimensions: orientation towards the individual or the collective community; importance of career success over quality of life; deference to authority; long vs. short term orientation; extent to which expectations for behavior are implicit or express; perceptions of time and personal space; and aversion to risk.

Nina Meierding is a national leader in the field of Nina Meierdingconflict resolution and has been providing training and mediation services for over twenty two years. She is a former president of the Academy of Family Mediators and served on the Board of Directors of the Association of Conflict Resolution and many other organizations. She is an adjunct professor at both Pepperdine University and Southern Methodist University. She was the Director and Senior Mediator at the Mediation Center for Family Law in Ventura, California from 1985-2007 where she mediated over 4,000 disputes. She is a consultant for the Wisconsin Special Education Mediation System (WSEMS). Nina has trained thousands of individuals in businesses, courts, school districts, governmental agencies, medical centers, corporations and universities throughout the United States and abroad.


Divorce and Family Mediation
This advanced course explores conflicts that arise in the context of families, with emphasis on negotiating and mediating issues surrounding marital separation and divorce. It is designed to equip students with the strategic judgment, skills and sensitivity needed to help parties build consensus on matters such as child custody, visitation, division of property, spousal support, and child education and support. Relevant emotional concerns, such as feelings of betrayal and loss, are examined, along with techniques for addressing them. Special consideration surrounding high conflict families, domestic violence, spousal or child abuse, and “move aways”, as well as ethical issues related to power differentials court mandated mediation, collaborative law and mediator certification, are also covered. Pre-requisite: Law 1422 Mediation Theory and Practice OR Law 1392 Alternative Dispute Resolution; Law 102 Family Law is suggested.

Zena D. Zumeta is president of the Mediation Training &Zena ZumetaConsultation Institute and The Collaborative Workplace in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Zumeta is a former board member and president of the Academy of Family Mediators, past president of the Michigan Council for Family and Divorce Mediation, and past Regional Vice President of the Society of Professionals in Dispute Resolution. She has extensive experience as a trainer, mediator, facilitator and consultant. She has been providing mediation services since 1981. Zumeta is the recipient of the Family Mediation Council-Michigan Lifetime Achievement in Mediation Award; the National Education Association/Saturn Corporation Award for Union-Management Collaboration; the John Haynes Distinguished Mediator Award from ACR; and the Kumba Award from the National Conference on Minorities in ADR.

Selected Issues in Dispute Resolution: Ombuds
This course will explore the theory and practice of ombuds and ombuds programs. These programs are being created at a quickening pace. Our goal is to provide a thorough background that could be used in making a decision about establishing an ombuds program or in examining ombuds practice as a personal career direction. This course is organized around a series of questions: 1. What is ombuds? A general overview of the concept and it evolution. 2. Why does ombuds work? A review of the theory of third party intervention in conflict. 3. How does ombuds work? A survey of ombuds practice with opportunities to try it out. 4. How can ombuds get wide institution/constituency support? An exploration of best programmatic practices for building strong and enduring programs. 5. What are the issues that arise in ombuds practice? An open-ended discussion of the current opportunities and challenges in the profession. Time will be spent in a variety of activities: presentation, discussion, brainstorming, and skills practice.

David Talbot is currently an ombudsman with The World Bank David Talbotstationed in Bangkok, Thailand. Prior to the World Bank, Talbot was an ombudsman for the Coca-Cola Company and Coca-Cola Enterprises, Inc. (CCE), an office that addresses workplace conflict for approximately 65,000 employees across North America. He has worked as a conflict resolution professional and trainer for the past 17 years. Prior to Coca-Cola, he served as manager for Community Mediation Services in Vancouver, Washington; and director for the California Academy of Mediation Professionals in Los Angeles, California. He holds a J.D. from the University of Idaho and a master of dispute resolution from Pepperdine University, Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution.

Legal Practice Skills Courses 

Business Development for Lawyers (1 unit) - CANCELLED
This course focuses on the important practical subject of business development for attorneys. Achieving skill in business development is often critical to success in private practice, whether in a large, medium or small law firm or as a sole practitioner. The course will emphasize that business development is not a series of random acts, but a process with specific steps that can be taken to help generate business. Students will learn about creating a vision for their practice, effective marketing strategies tailored to their individual talents and strengths, how to develop referrals, and how to create a system for business development.

Linda Randlett Kollar is a partner in the Los Angeles Linda Kollaroffice of Hooper, Lundy & Bookman, P.C., a firm dedicated to the representation of healthcare providers. With more than 25 years of legal experience, she is recognized by her clients and peers as an accomplished litigator, health law regulatory expert and champion of behavioral healthcare providers. Her clients include non-profit organizations that provide residential treatment and foster care for children, physicians, psychologists, licensed clinical social workers and marriage and family therapists.  Professor Kollar devotes a substantial part of her practice to advising behavioral healthcare providers on licensure, compliance and contracts, special education, privacy, confidentiality, HIPAA and minor's consent issues. As a seasoned litigator, she regularly represents her provider clients in administrative and civil litigation, including writs and appeals. She is a nationally recognized expert and consultant regarding legal issues affecting child welfare organizations. Professor Kollar is a member of the firm's Business Development Committee. She initiated and leads the firm's business development program which provides associates and partners with strategies on effective marketing and business development. She is also an active participant in the firm's diversity initiative.

Law Office Management (1 unit) - CANCELLED
This course is designed to provide practical skills on how to form and operate your own law firm, as well as how to succeed as an associate in larger law firm settings. The course opens with a look at the formation of law firms, how law firms are managed, recruiting for the law firm, business planning and startup funding. Law firm accounting is introduced, including discussions of billing, collections, associate compensation and profit distribution among partners, including methods for improving the firm's economic and long-term viability. Malpractice liability, malpractice insurance and ethical issues facing attorneys in day-to-day practice are also covered. Students also learn about issues of marketing, networking and client retention unique to legal services. The goal of this course is to prepare students for the actual practice of law by providing a behind-the-scenes look at how law firms are managed.

John J. Selbak has taught Law Office Management since John Selbak1999. Mr. Selbak is the founding partner of Corporate Counsel Partners, a firm focused on representing entrepreneurial and emerging companies. Prior to founding Corporate Counsel Partners, Mr. Selbak was a partner in the Los Angeles office of Musick, Peeler & Garrett, where Mr. Selbak chaired the firm's Business & Technology Practice and was the firm's Marketing Director. He also worked closely with the firm's managing partner on the management of the firm. In addition to counseling fellow attorneys regarding the formation of law firms and the ongoing operation of their practice, Mr. Selbak's own legal practice involves the representation of a wide array of established media, software, e-commerce and technology companies. His experience in helping to manage a large firm for close to a decade before forming and operating his own firm for the past eight years gives Mr. Selbak unique insight into the key issues facing attorneys at all levels of the practice, as well as changes taking place in the legal profession as a whole.