Professor Thomas J. Stipanowich is an award-winning author and much-cited authority on arbitration, mediation and other subjects; the director of one of the world's pre-eminent academic programs on dispute resolution; a respected and widely experienced arbitrator and mediator for JAMS; the former chief executive of another prestigious international institution; a well-known teacher and trainer; and the winner of several of the dispute resolution field's highest honors including the ABA D'Alemberte/Raven Award for significant contributions to the field of conflict resolution.
Stipanowich is Professor of Law at Pepperdine University and Director of the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution, ranked number one among academic dispute resolution programs in four of the last five years by U.S. News & World Report. He recently co-authored Resolving Disputes: Theory, Law and Practice, a course book supplemented by many practical exercises and illustrations on video.
Stipanowich has extensive experience as a commercial and construction arbitrator, mediator, facilitator and special master, with emphasis on large and complex cases. He is one of the inaugural members of the new JAMS Construction and Engineering Group of neutrals with several other senior members of the American College of Construction Lawyers, and has often served on panels for the American Arbitration Association (AAA), the International Center for Dispute Resolution (ICDR), and the International Institute for Conflict Prevention & Resolution (CPR). He has trained arbitrators or mediators for the AAA, CPR, and the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, as well as the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution, and has facilitated internal and inter-organizational problem-solving and consensus-building efforts, including project partnering, and has helped develop corporate programs for avoiding or resolving disputes.
Stipanowich received his bachelors and masters degrees in architecture (with highest honors, winning the AIA School Medal and the Ryerson European Traveling Fellowship) and a law degree (magna cum laude, Order of the Coif) from the University of Illinois. In 1980 he joined the nation's leading construction law practice in Atlanta, where he acquired extensive experience with litigation, arbitration and mediation. As William L. Matthews Professor of Law at the University of Kentucky, Tom co-authored one of the leading treatises on arbitration and many other publications cited by the Supreme Court and other federal and state courts. He led the CPR Institute's Commission on the Future of Arbitration, producing a book of practice guidelines, Commercial Arbitration at Its Best. He was academic advisor for revisions to the Uniform Arbitration Act and the Uniform Mediation Act, and chief drafter of a protocol to govern consumer ADR programs. He served on the Board of Directors of the American Arbitration Association (AAA), and was the first AAA International Visiting Scholar. He helped revise the AAA's Construction Dispute Resolution Rules and served as Public Member and Chair of the Securities Industry Conference on Arbitration (SICA). He is a Founding Member of the College of Commercial Arbitrators and the first (and only non-British) Companion of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators. In 1991, Tom founded the Mediation Center of Kentucky, a court-connected program still in operation. Tom meanwhile maintained a construction and dispute resolution practice with a large regional law firm, Stites & Harbison, and edited The Construction Lawyer for the ABA Forum on the Construction Industry.
From 2001 to 2006 Stipanowich was President and CEO of the New York-based International Institute for Conflict Prevention & Resolution (CPR Institute), one of the world's leading dispute resolution organizations. He remains on the CPR Board of Directors. Stipanowich is one of four (and the only non-British) Companion of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, a Fellow of the American College of Construction Lawyers, and a Founding Fellow of the American College of Commercial Arbitrators. He is an Honorary Member of the Marie Garibaldi A.D.R. Inn of Court, and an Honorary Fellow of the International Academy of Meditators (IAM) the American College of Civil Trial Mediators (ACCTM). He was recently selected as one of 500 outstanding lawyers in America in a survey conducted by a new legal magazine, Lawdragon.