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Pepperdine | Caruso School of Law


The Externship Program for the Master of Laws (LLM) in Dispute Resolution and Master of Dispute Resolution (MDR) enables students to integrate knowledge of conflict management principles and dispute resolution processes with the development of professional skills through practical application under the supervision of experienced practitioners. Externships offer students a realistic perspective on conflict and its effect and resolution in society.

Each externship must afford a significant opportunity for participating students to meet the following objectives:

  • reinforce knowledge of conflict management theory
  • develop skills in interviewing, analysis, counseling, negotiation,
    third-party intervention, problem solving, and planning
  • identify appropriate dispute resolution services
  • understand and manage their administration and delivery
  • evaluate the effectiveness of dispute resolution processes and their application
  • raise and resolve issues of professional responsibility


Strarus students pictured in New York

During my externship with the Office of the United Nations Ombudsman and Mediation Services in New York, I had the opportunity to learn how a sophisticated organization uses ADR to prevent and resolve workplace disputes. I worked on several projects related to conflict resolution, civility, confidentiality, and conflict management. I also provided observer feedback to mediations, facilitated conversations, ombuds sessions, and diversity and civility workshops. I really appreciated the experience, and back in Brazil I am already using the knowledge I got from the internship.

LLM '19

Resources for current students


Students may participate in externships placements if they:

  • are in good academic standing
  • have completed the prerequisite coursework
  • enroll for the appropriate clinical units
  • receive approval from their Academic Advisor


Externship Requirements

Students in the Masters and LLM programs in Dispute Resolution have the option to complete a research or skills training requirement through their Thesis or Externships. Students have the following requirements through their respective programs:

Master of Laws (LLM) in Dispute Resolution

6 Units of Thesis


2 Units of Externship, 2 units of Independent Study and one additional 2 unit Elective Course

Master of Dispute Resolution (MDR)

6 Units of Thesis


4 Units of Externship and one additional 2 unit Elective Course

Reporting Requirements

After each 35-hour block of fieldwork hours has been accumulated, students must submit a completed time sheet, signed by a supervisor, on TWEN. Students must submit a one-page progress summary with every time sheet to the Externship Administrator. These summaries should be reflective and chronicle the experiential component of completed fieldwork. Failure to provide summaries may affect the award of credit. Retain a photocopy of time sheets and summaries for your files. The student's final evaluation, as well as the supervisor's, will also be included in the portfolio.

Past Placements

Students have secured externship placements with the following organizations in the past few years:

Abilene Christian University International Centre for Dispute Resolution
ADR Center in Ohio International Institute for Conflict Prevention and Resolution
American Arbitration Association IVAMS
Amgen JAMS
Arbitration Mediation Conciliation Center Judicial Council of California
Arizona State University Kaiser Permanente, Ombuds Office
Arrowhead Regional Medical Center Law and Mediation Offices of Forrest S. Mosten
Asian Pacific American Dispute Resolution Center Legal Aid Clinic in Trinidad
Beijing Arbitration Commission in China Los Angeles Airports Ombuds Office
California Academy of Mediation Professionals Los Angeles County Bar Association
California Institute of Technology, Ombuds Office Los Angeles City Attorney's Office, Dispute Resolution Program
California Lawyers for the Arts Los Angeles Superior Court
California National Guard JAG Los Angeles Unified School District
CEDR in London Loyola Law School
Center for Civic Mediation Macedonia Outreach
Center for Conflict Resolution Mercury Insurance
Centinela Youth Services Ministry of Justice in Rwanda
Chorda Conflict Management MTV Network
City of Burbank NASD
City of Glendale Orange County Human Relations Council
Clark County Neighborhood Justice Center Oregon Dispute Resolution Commission
Department of Consumer Affairs Princess Cruises
Dependency Court Public Counsel
Dorothy Della Noce Ruckelshaus Center
Dow-Corning Trust - Settlement Facility Salans in Paris
EEOC in Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Phoenix Southwest Airlines
Excell Sports Management Supreme Court of Uganda
Fair Housing Council of Orange County The Carter Center
Family Law and Mediation Office of Maureen Stubbs The Rosenthal Group
Federal District Court of Washington, DC The President's Office in Washington, DC
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission UC Irvine, Ombuds Office
FINRA UC Los Angeles, Ombuds Office
First Mediation UC Riverside, Ombuds Office
Florida State Judge United Nations in Geneva
FOX Broadcasting Company US Air Force
Free Burma Rangers in Thailand US Bankruptcy Court
Glazer in Israel US Department of Justice, Community Relations Service
Good News Associate US Embassy in Brussels
Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre US Office of Special Counsel
ICANN US Postal Service, ADR Redress Program
Idaho Power Utah Dispute Resolution
Independent Film and Television Alliance Ventura Center for Dispute Settlement
Indiana Education Employment Board Ventura Public Defender's Office
Internal Revenue Service Western Justice Center Foundation
International Chamber of Commerce in Paris  

Externship Overview

Candidates who select an externship component for their Master's (MDR) and LLM requirements must complete two separate projects. Externships are evaluated and based on the student's ability to meet program objectives. Every student will be supervised by an appropriate and experienced practitioner. When completed, each externship placement carries two units. At a minimum every externship must contain 105 verified hours of fieldwork. Lunch, breaks and travel time to/from home or campus are excluded from accumulated fieldwork hours. Pursuant to Institute and ABA rules, students may only work for credit and may not be compensated.

The Institute will award credit upon assessment of the student and supervisor's final evaluations. All externships are graded on a pass/fail basis.
Prior to starting your externship, students should set up a time to meet with their Academic Advisor and the Externship Administrator to discuss their choices or present their externship proposal for approval.

A specific, experienced practitioner must supervise each student. The supervisor will be responsible for monitoring assignments, answering questions, providing regular feedback, verifying time sheets, and completing a performance evaluation. If more than one supervisor is necessary, they must all be designated at the beginning of the externship.

New and Existing Externships

Students wishing to initiate an externship must apply to the Straus Institute for approval. New and existing externship projects must minimally meet the following four requirements:

  1. Contain a substantial ADR component;
  2. Provide a significant opportunity for experiential learning;
  3. Meet educational objectives of the program; and
  4. Afford adequate field and faculty supervision.