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Straus Institute Senior Fellows

Meet Our Senior Fellows

Tricia Bigelow

Justice Tricia Bigelow (JD ’86)

Hon. Tricia Bigelow (Ret.) is a distinguished legal professional celebrated for her compassionate approach to justice. With a career spanning roles from deputy attorney general to Presiding Justice of the Court of Appeal, she brings over 35 years of legal expertise to her work as a skilled mediator and appellate consultant. Recognized with awards such as the Bernard S. Jefferson Judicial Education Award, she continues to make notable contributions to California's legal community.

“My entire career has been about serving the legal community and finding fair outcomes. Now, I am continuing to refine this approach within the more flexible context of alternative dispute resolution.”  

 

Amarjit Singh Chandhiok

Amarjit Singh Chandhiok

Distinguished International Senior Fellow

Amarjit Singh Chandhiok is a distinguished Senior Advocate in the Supreme Court and High Courts of India, with a notable career as the former Additional Solicitor General and Principal Counsel for the European Union Commission. He has held leadership roles in legal associations, played a key role in policy creation, and received several awards, including two honorary doctorate degrees, for his contributions to the legal field.

 

Nachhattar Chandi 

Nachhattar Singh Chandi

Founder of Chandi Group USA

Nachhattar Chandi, a self-made entrepreneur, started at a gas station in Coachella at 20 and became its owner in three years. In the span of 25 years, the group has expanded, owning various properties and businesses, and employing 550 people in California. As a significant contributor to Riverside County's sales tax, the Chandi Group focuses on making a positive impact in the community, donating over $1 million in the last four years. Rooted in market strategy and embodying core values, Chandi Group USA stands strong on the principles of Growth, Services, Employment, and Opportunity.

"This is my home, this is my town, this is my valley." 

 

Gerry DeSimone

Gerry DeSimone

Mediator at DeSimone Law d.b.a. Gerry DeSimone Mediation

Gerry DeSimone, a seasoned trial attorney in Southern California for 38 years, transitioned to teaching at Pepperdine Caruso School of Law. With an LLM from Pepperdine’s Straus Institute, he's a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates for over two decades. Gerry's expertise, spanning both Defendant and Plaintiff representation, uniquely positions him to emphasize the advantages of settlement. Since 1990, he's been actively involved in Court ADR panels, mediating over 100 disputes appointed by the Court.

 

Jair Gevaerd

Jair Gevaerd

Adjunct Professor

Jair Gevaerd is the Founding Partner at Gevaerd & Associates, specializing in Commercial Law. He serves as a State Attorney, arbitrator, and mediator, with expertise in both domestic and international legal contexts. Jair holds academic roles, including Professor of Corporate Law, International Law, and Conflict of Laws. With a Ph.D. in Corporate Law and an LL.M in Dispute Resolution, he is a recognized Straus Institute Ambassador for Brazil, actively contributing to legal education and leading the International Editorial Committee of the ADR Brazilian Law Journal.

 

Doug Noll

Doug Noll

Adjunct Professor

Douglas  Noll is an inspiring figure who overcame physical challenges to transition from a successful civil trial lawyer to a dedicated peacemaker. An award-winning author and experienced mediator, Noll's work extends from international conflict resolution to training incarcerated individuals through the Prison of Peace initiative. His innovative de-escalation techniques and commitment to promoting peace have earned him prestigious awards, including California Lawyer Magazine Lawyer of the Year and Best Lawyers in America Lawyer of the Year.

 

Al Sturgeon

Al Sturgeon

Associate Dean for Student Life & Spiritual Development

Al Sturgeon serves as Associate Dean of Student Life & Spiritual Development at the Pepperdine Caruso School of Law. He earned a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville and worked as a coach, teacher, and pastor in Arkansas and on the Mississippi Gulf Coast for sixteen years prior to moving to Pepperdine where he earned a J.D. and a Certificate in Dispute Resolution in 2011.Dean Sturgeon has worked in higher education since 2011 and held various positions in student affairs, including serving as the chief student affairs officer at Blackburn College (Illinois) and Lipscomb University (Tennessee). He has taught Apology, Forgiveness, and Reconciliation in the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution since 2016. 

 

Don Philbin

Don Philbin

Attorney - Mediator, Arbitrator, and Consultant

Douglas  Noll is an inspiring figure who overcame physical challenges to transition from a successful civil trial lawyer to a dedicated peacemaker. An award-winning author and experienced mediator, Noll's work extends from international conflict resolution to training incarcerated individuals through the Prison of Peace initiative. His innovative de-escalation techniques and commitment to promoting peace have earned him prestigious awards, including California Lawyer Magazine Lawyer of the Year and Best Lawyers in America Lawyer of the Year.

 

Selina Schultz

Selina Schultz (JD ’86)

Adjunct Professor

Selina Schulz , a seasoned conflict and organizational consultant with over two decades of experience, excels in roles such as Mediator, Consultant, Coach, Trainer, Facilitator, and Contract Ombudsman. Her expertise lies in navigating and resolving complex conflicts within organizational settings, making her a valuable asset for fostering effective communication and promoting harmony.

 

Honorable Thomas Trent Lewis (Ret.)

Honorable Thomas Trent Lewis (Ret.) (LLM '23)

Judge Lewis led the Los Angeles County Family Law Division from 2016 until retirement, overseeing 70 family law departments. Before joining the bench in 2006, he was a principal attorney at Rehwald, Rameson, Lewis & Glasner. Recognized as a Certified Family Law Specialist in 1985, he became a name partner in 1984. Judge Lewis, a past president of the California Chapter of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, contributed to The Rutter Group’s California Practice Guide: Family Law until 2023. Attorneys value his credibility, patience, and dedication in moving cases forward.

“Both decisive and compassionate, I bring over 40 years of family law experience as both a lawyer, judge, and neutral. More dedicated, focused, and energetic than ever before.”