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Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution

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Educational Opportunities for Lawyers and Judges

Frequently Asked Questions

I want to be a mediator. Should I participate in a training program or get a Certificate or LL.M. in Dispute Resolution?

If your interest is in volunteering at the courthouse, the Mediating the Litigated Case program will meet the minimum requirements of many courthouses without making the investment of an educational degree. If your interest is in going into private practice, the Certificate and LL.M. program will provide you with more credibility than any training program.

The academic programs provide an academic understanding of dispute resolution processes through the exposure to relevant literature as well as extensive conversations about practical skills and techniques. In addition to basic courses, elective courses include topics in Divorce and Family Mediation, Dispute Resolution Systems Design, Ombuds, Employment Dispute Resolution, and various other topics. Students in the LL.M. program are required to develop their mediation skills though the Mediation Clinic class where students are able to mediate cases at various courts within Los Angeles County.

I am interested in mediating cases at the court, what are my training options?

You will need to check with the specific courthouse in your area for their requirements, but many require a minimum of 40 hours of training. The Mediating the Litigated Case program is the most popular option that offers 42 hours of mediation and negotiation training through the use of foundational theory and simulated exercises. Attorneys, Judges and non-law professionals travel from around the nation to attend this seminar offered several times a year in various locations including Malibu, Orange County, China, Hawaii, and other specialized locations.

I have a full-time law practice, what are my options as a part-time student?

The Straus Institute recognizes the schedule limitations for busy professionals, and offers the Certificate, M.D.R. and LL.M. programs with full-time or part-time options. Students can coordinate their participation in our academic programs with the pace of their professional and family commitments by taking advantage of one week, two weekend and evening courses at the Malibu campus.

Are any of the courses available online?

The Straus Institute's academic programs are built on the foundation of learning the skills to resolve conflict. As a result, we require face-to-face interaction for students to learn and practice these skills through lectures, discussions and simulated exercises. We do not offer any of our courses in an online format, however our intensive courses have been designed to accomodate full-time professionals, including those that do not reside in California.

I don't live in California, can I still participate in the program?

The Straus Institute's courses are offered in a variety of formats including one week, two weekend and fifteen week formats. Students have commuted from various locations across the nation including Texas, New Jersey, Tennessee, Alaska, Hawaii, Utah, Alabama, South Carolina, North Carolina and Arizona.

I am really interested in a specialized topic; can I just take one class during the Summer or Winter Intensive program?

The Straus Institute's Summer and Winter Intensive program provide academic courses in shortened formats. Through these formats the Straus Institute is able to offer courses in specialized topics like labor, ombuds, dispute resolution systems design, and other advanced topics by flying in faculty around the nation. Professionals in the field are able to audit up to two courses when space is available. Priority is given to students enrolled in the academic program, then opened for audits. People that choose to audit an academic course are participating in the academic class as a training program, and are not required to meet the educational requirements like the final paper or exam.  To audit a class, applicants must submit the Summer or Winter Application form with a letter of interest and a copy of their resume that includes educational history.

Can I get MCLE credit for academic courses?

Yes, the Straus Institute's academics courses have been approved for MCLE credit by the State Bar of California. Students from other states can usually submit our courses for MCLE credit to their state bar organizations.