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Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution

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STAR: A Systematic Approach to Mediation Strategies

Faculty: Tom Stipanowich and Jim Craven

Mediations are dynamic and fluid. Both aspiring neutrals and sophisticated advocates should know the predictable themes and stages of a mediation as well as the variety of styles and techniques used in each stage. Competence in the mediation approaches and techniques that are not intuitive for a particular mediator marks the differences between the serious professional practitioner and the causal volunteer. This course will survey how successful mediators use a variety of approaches in five fundamental stages of a mediation. The emphasis will be on encouraging the exercise of conscious professional judgment and strategies analysis for both mediators and advocates.

What you will learn:

  • Stages of a mediation
  • How to convene and open a mediation
  • Facilitating communication
  • Encouraging problem solving
  • Utilizing the predictability of distributive bargaining
  • Using intangible interests to overcome impasse
  • Facilitating closure
  • Balancing neutrality and fairness
  • Managing emotions
  • Effective case presentation
  • Ethical concerns of mediators and advocates
  • Mediation advocacy tips

Thomas Stipanowich is the William H. Webster Chair in Dispute Resolution and professor of law at Pepperdine School of Law. He is also the academic director of the Straus Institute. Stipanowich brings a long and distinguished career as a scholar, teacher, and leader in the field along with wide-ranging experience as a commercial and construction mediator, arbitrator, federal court special master, and facilitator. From 2001 until mid-2006, he served as CEO of the International Institute for Conflict Prevention & Resolution (CPR Institute). He has authored two of the leading books on commercial arbitration and many articles on ADR. Recently he coauthored a groundbreaking book and materials entitled Resolving Disputes: Theory, Practice, and Law.

Jim Craven is a lawyer, mediator, and frequent speaker in the conflict resolution field. He has been practicing law for 36 years and remains of counsel to the Spokane, Washington, law firm of Evans, Craven & Lackie which he cofounded in 1978. He has extensive experience in the mediation of complex disputes, having served clients throughout the northwest since 1990. He serves on the construction, commercial and mediation panels of the American Arbitration Association, and is a member of the Washington Mediation Association. Craven was a trial lawyer for 25 years before becoming a full-time neutral. His trial practice emphasized complex construction, environmental, commercial, and professional negligence litigation. He received his law degree from Gonzaga University and the LL.M. in dispute resolution from Pepperdine University. In addition to his dispute resolution practice, Craven consults with business and government on a wide range of issues.