fb pixel fb conversion Block 5: Two-Weekend Format | Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution | School of Law | Pepperdine University

Block 5: Two-Weekend Format

July 6 - 8 and 13 - 15, 2017

  • Thursdays: 6:00 pm - 9:30 pm 
  • Fridays: 6:00 pm - 9:30 pm 
  • Saturdays: 8:30 am - 4:30 pm

Program Courses and Faculty

 Psychology of Conflict Communication

This course explores how people experience conflict and various conflict resolution process from a psychological and communications perspective. The psychological frameworks explored include the following: personality development and differences; difficult people and psychological disorders; predictable cognitive biases; principles of neuro-collaboration, empathy, trust and altruism; psychological resistance to dealing with conflict; stages of conflict including escalation, stalemate, de-escalation, and resolution; social origins of conflict, including differences in values, beliefs and mores; neuro-psychology and the socialization of aggressive and cooperative behaviors; and emotional intelligence, including self-awareness and self-regulation. Communication concepts explored include influence, persuasion, rhetoric, dialogue, narrative paradigm, and linguistics; power; argumentation vs. aggression; and the limits of rationality. The course includes at least one self-assessment instrument to enhance student awareness of individual differences in psychological styles.

Erik Girvan is a professor at Oregon Law School. Erik litigated over 100 complex commercial cases in various federal and state jurisdictions across the country. The Co-Director of the Conflict and Dispute Resolution Program earned his J.D. at Harvard Law School and his Ph.D. (Psychology) at the University of Minnesota.  Erik's research investigates how stereotypes, attitudes, and other biases might impact decisions in the legal system. He empirically tests practical ways to reduce or eliminate implicit biases by working with a diverse variety of legal and other professionals.

 Selected Issues in Dispute Resolution: Apology, Forgiveness and Reconciliation 

This course will examine each of the themes of Apology, Forgiveness and Reconciliation. A spectrum of definitions and meaning of each theme will be explored. A variety of approaches on how to implement each theme will be discussed. The material will be addressed from the context of governing our own lives, providing professional advice to another as an advocate, and serving as a mediator. Class material will include religious and non-religious perspectives on these themes.


Al Sturgeon is the dean of graduate programs at Pepperdine University School of Law. He earned a BSE with high honors from the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, Arkansas, in 1992 and a JD with honors from Pepperdine University School of Law in 2011. He has extensive leadership experience in churches and religious organizations, having served as a youth minister, full-time preaching minister, houseparent at a children's home, founder and president of two Habitat for Humanity affiliates, and currently as an elder of the University Church of Christ in Malibu, California. He has taught law-related classes at Seaver College and at Pepperdine University School of Law, including Apology, Forgiveness, and Reconciliation for the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution. He is a member of the State Bar of California and serves on the advisory board of the Malibu Community Labor Exchange.

MCLE Credit

Each course has been approved for MCLE credit by the State Bar of California. Pepperdine School of Law certifies that this activity conforms to the standards for approved education activities prescribed by the rules and regulations of the State Bar of California governing MCLE.

Housing and Residence Life

The George Page Residential Complex, located across the street from the School of Law, will be available for a limited number of summer school students. The residential complex offers four-bedroom, single-bath apartments with kitchen, living, and dining areas. The housing is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Early reservation is advised. On-campus recreation facilities include an Olympic-size pool, tennis courts, weight room, gym, and track.

On-Campus Housing and Residence Life Information and Registration

Malibu Area Hotels and Restaurants

If you have further questions, you may e-mail housing@pepperdine.edu.