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Straus Institute Ranks Number One Fourth Consecutive Year

The Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution is co-directed by Tom Stipanowich (Academic Director) and Peter Robinson (Managing Director).

Pepperdine School of Law's Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution has been ranked the number one program by U.S. News and World Report for the fourth consecutive year. The Straus Institute bested Harvard University, the University of Missouri-Columbia, Hamline University, and Ohio State University, which comprise the remaining top five schools. In the last 12 years, the Straus Institute has never been lower than third and has achieved the number one position 7 times.

In January 2006, Pepperdine named Peter Robinson and Thomas Stipanowich as co-directors of the institute. Robinson, who serves as managing director, maintains a long and diverse career in dispute resolution. He has presented advanced negotiation and mediation skills courses in more than thirty states and in Argentina, Canada, England, Holland, Hong Kong, India, Israel, Japan, Jordan, and Mexico.

Says Robinson, "Straus has become a place where outstanding faculty, accomplished practitioners, and passionate students from around the world meet for serious and sophisticated learning about dispute resolution skills."

Stipanowich, who is the academic director and also a full professor, has a distinguished career in academics and international leadership. Stipanowich has authored leading books and articles on arbitration, mediation, and conflict management. He has conducted hundreds of workshops and presentations to international and national organizations, major corporations, and law firms on four continents. He is one of four Companion of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, a Fellow of the American College of Construction Lawyers, a Founding Fellow of the American College of Commercial Arbitrators, and an Honorary Fellow of the American College of Civil Trial Mediators.

"The U.S. News ranking is symbolic of the continuing strength of a program which combines a uniquely broad and deep academic curriculum with first-rate professional skills offerings," says Stipanowich. "The institute is breaking new ground as a leader in the development of mediation world-wide, in the innovative use of media to encourage changes in the culture of conflict management, and in empirical research."

School of Law Dean Ken Starr praises the institute's achievements. "Year after year, Straus continues to be recognized as the premier dispute resolution program in the nation," he says. "Around the globe, and right here at home, Straus admirably embodies Pepperdine University's enduring commitment to the profound values of peacemaking in a hurting world."

The Straus Institute administers two masters programs and a certificate in dispute resolution for more than 350 degree-seeking students at Pepperdine's School of Law. The institute is also a popular provider of continuing professional education programs in negotiation, mediation, and arbitration to more than 1,000 lawyers, judges, and other mid-career professionals every year.

Founded in 1986, the Straus Institute was the first program of its kind in the Southwest, offering a certificate in dispute resolution, Master of Dispute Resolution, and in 2003, an LL.M. degree. A commitment to research, publication, service, and reconciliation in religious communities completes a survey of Straus' programs.