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Courses and Faculty

Winter Program Dispute Resolution Courses

Negotiation Theory and Practice

This course examines the theory and practice of negotiation as a process used to put deals together or to resolve disputes and legal claims. Students learn about competitive positional bargaining and collaborative problem solving and acquire insight into the strategic management of the tension between the two approaches. Through simulated exercises, students develop skills and confidence as negotiators, including an awareness of the psychological encouragements and barriers to consensus. Special challenges of multiparty negotiations are addressed with an emphasis on the attorney-client relationship, including applicable ethical standards, codes, and law.


Charles WigginsCharles Wiggins is professor of law (retired) at the University of San Diego. He is also guest professor at the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands. He received his JD from the University of California, Hastings, and his LLM from Yale. He is past chair of the Dispute Resolution Section of the Association of American Law Schools. Wiggins also maintains a private consulting practice, providing negotiation and conflict management training, and facilitation and mediation services, to businesses, governments, and nonprofit institutions throughout the world. Wiggins is a three-time Fulbright Scholar, and the coauthor of Negotiation and Settlement Advocacy (2nd ed.).


Mediation Theory and Practice

This course explores the various theories underlying and practices basic to mediation. The mediation process is organized into a series of stages, and basic mediation skills and techniques appropriate to each stage are identified and cultivated. Simulations and experiential exercises provide students with an opportunity to develop proficiency as mediators and to rigorously analyze appropriate roles and behavior as mediators and advocates taking into account the legal, ethical and public policy issues surrounding the practice of mediation

Judge GommaAndré Gomma de Azevedo is a judge before the state court of Bahia, in Brazil and, since 2006, a member of the Steering Committee of the Conciliation and Mediation Program of the National Council of Justice (CNJ) in Brasilia, Brazil. He has served as a lecturer and an instructor for the National School for Training of Federal and State Judges (ENFAM), and has also served as a member of the Mediation Consulting Committee of the Secretary of Judicial Reform of the Brazilian Ministry of Justice (SRJ/MJ). He is a recognized practitioner with more than 15 years of experience as a mediator, trainer, researcher, and nearly 12 years of experience as a sitting judge. Judge Gomma de Azevedo has conducted or supervised training seminars and lectures to over 4000 Brazilian judges and also to judges and court administrators from Argentina, France, Russia, India and China.


Selected Issues in Dispute Resolution: Facilitating Dynamic Groups

More and more managers and conflict resolution professionals are being asked to serve as "facilitator" of larger groups which are discussing difficult issues—often with difficult people. The success and reward of this work, for the entire group, depends on the skills of the facilitator. Often, we take on this challenge without thinking through the complexities and nuances that could move our groups from a dysfunctional group to a dynamic group capable of making effective decisions in a timely manner. This course targets those professionals who work with large groups charged with discussing and making decisions about difficult issues. Students will be introduced to and then will explore the creativity necessary to create and facilitate dynamic groups. By the end of the class, students will have a fluent understanding of the roles of a facilitator, the process of facilitation and skills to design a facilitated process.

Donna SilverbergDonna Silverberg has been in the field of mediation and facilitating consensus-building efforts involving nonprofits; businesses; local, state, federal, and tribal governments; and the public for nearly 25 years. Her work has included a wide range of issues and groups addressing complex topics such as health care policy, endangered species, water quality, human resources, nonprofit board planning and management, land use management, multicultural interactions, and organizational development. She is an adjunct professor at Lipscomb University's Institute for Conflict Management and a visiting instructor at the University of San Diego School of Law and the University of Idaho.


Cross-Cultural Conflict and Dispute Resolution

This course surveys the impact that cultural differences, stereotypes and attributions have on key dispute resolution processes, and on conflict generally. It is designed to build theoretical knowledge, to equip students with an analytical framework useful in determining suitable dispute resolution processes, and to instill practical skills and strategies to enhance effectiveness in cross-cultural contexts. Cultural differences in language, customs, values, legal systems and world-views are examined along various dimensions: orientation towards the individual or the collective community; importance of career success over quality of life; deference to authority; long vs. short term orientation; extent to which expectations for behavior are implicit or express; perceptions of time and personal space; and aversion to risk.

MeierdingNina Meierding has mediated over 4,000 disputes and trained thousands of individuals in almost all 50 states and internationally. She has been an adjunct professor at Pepperdine University Law School for over 25 years, as well as many other universities and both the National and California Judicial Colleges. She has served on numerous mediation boards including the executive committees of the Academy of Family Mediators, the Association of Conflict Resolution, and the Southern California Mediation Association. She has received numerous honors including the Distinguished Mediator Award in 2005 from the Association of Conflict Resolution and the Lifetime Achievement award from the American College of Civil Trial Mediators in 2017. She is an honorary fellow of the International Academy of Mediators.


Divorce and Family Mediation

This advanced course explores conflicts that arise in the context of families, with emphasis on negotiating and mediating issues surrounding marital separation and divorce. It is designed to equip students with the strategic judgment, skills and sensitivity needed to help parties build consensus on matters such as child custody, visitation, division of property, spousal support, and child education and support. Relevant emotional concerns, such as feelings of betrayal and loss, are examined, along with techniques for addressing them. Special consideration surrounding high conflict families, domestic violence, spousal or child abuse, and “move aways”, as well as ethical issues related to power differentials court mandated mediation, collaborative law and mediator certification, are also covered. Pre-requisite: Law 1422 Mediation Theory and Practice OR Law 1392 Alternative Dispute Resolution; Law 102 Family Law is suggested.

Zena ZumetaZena D. Zumeta is president of the Mediation Training & Consultation Institute and The Collaborative Workplace in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Zumeta is a former board member and president of the Academy of Family Mediators, past president of the Michigan Council for Family and Divorce Mediation, and past Regional Vice President of the Society of Professionals in Dispute Resolution. She has extensive experience as a trainer, mediator, facilitator and consultant. She has been providing mediation services since 1981. Zumeta is the recipient of the Family Mediation Council-Michigan Lifetime Achievement in Mediation Award; the National Education Association/Saturn Corporation Award for Union-Management Collaboration; the John Haynes Distinguished Mediator Award from ACR; and the Kumba Award from the National Conference on Minorities in ADR.