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Welcome to Inside Straus
April 2011

Straus Institute Ranks Number One Seventh Consecutive Year
Pepperdine School of Law's Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution was recently ranked the number one dispute resolution program by U.S. News and World Report for the seventh consecutive year. The remaining schools in the Top 5 for 2012 are Harvard University, Hamline University, University of Missouri-Columbia, and Ohio State University. This is the tenth time Pepperdine has achieved the number one position in the past 15 years. To read more, please Click Here

The PACIS Project in Faith-Based Diplomacy - Middle East Mission
With full knowledge of the Department of State and appropriate Foreign Ministries, Professors Tim Pownall, Brian Cox, and Michael Zacharia led a very successful three-day faith-based reconciliation process for ten American Christian leaders and ten Muslim Brotherhood leaders in Amman, Jordan in January 2011. The PACIS Project in Faith-Based Diplomacy of the Straus Institute of Pepperdine University Law School and, the International Center for Religion and Diplomacy of Washington DC, undertakes track two faith-based diplomatic initiatives that bring the transcendent power of religion to bear on identity-based conflicts and peace processes through an innovative model of faith-based reconciliation. The PACIS Project entered into this particular aspect of its work more than three years ago by conducting a series of unique experiences known as faith-based reconciliation gatherings.

This is a work of faith grounded in the unshakeable conviction of the sovereignty of God over all life. Only softened hearts between Christians and Muslims can transform the centuries of deep seated hostility toward each other. The faith-based reconciliation process is designed to accomplish such an outcome as a work of God.

PACIS Project - Middle East

Mission Outcomes:
Hearts were softened toward each other expressed in honest and thoughtful exchanges in the working groups, expressions of apology and forgiveness during a Service of Reconciliation as well as the stated desire to work together to build a people movement that is an alternative to religious extremism. There was a clearly expressed feeling by the Muslim leadership that they had finally found a partner from the west in the task of creating a new paradigm of global relationships between the Islamic world and the West. More than in any previous gathering, the participants intuitively grasped the uniqueness and the power of faith-based reconciliation as an idea and as a new paradigm for global human relations in the 21st century. The Muslim leadership specifically proposed a second gathering in 2011 that would include a wider representation of their leadership from such places as Egypt, Kuwait, Yemen and Morocco.

Subsequent events in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Syria, Bahrain and other places have underscored the importance of our years invested in building a bridge to the Muslim Brotherhood leadership.

California Environmental Negotiation Competition Winners

Pepperdine Takes First Place at the California Environmental Negotiation Competition
Congratulations to Pepperdine Law students, Ardy Pirnia and Kaden Norton, who took First Place at the 12th Annual Student California Environmental Negotiation Competition. The competition was held on March 18th at Golden Gate University. The competition involved the negotiation of the terms and environmental issues surrounding the construction of a desalination plant on the California coastline. Our students defeated 28 teams from California law schools, including teams from UCLA, Southwestern, UC Berkeley, and UC Davis.

Since 1972, Pepperdine's School of Law has had a developed advocacy program competing at the highest levels. By participating in realistic appellate, trial and dispute resolution proceedings, "mooters" put their advocacy skills to the test by competing against other law students from the United States and from around the world.

The Externship Program: Domestic and International Placements
The Externship Program is a great opportunity for students to apply their academic interests to the real world and get some professional experience. Students take advantage of the externship opportunities to develop skills, build professional networks, and test drive career options.

In the last year, more than one hundred students earned academic credit for their work with some of the nation's most prestigious organizations, courts, and law firms. In 2010-2011 placements included: Los Angeles Superior Court; US Bankruptcy Court; US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Hawaii; Stanislaus Superior Court; San Bernardino Superior Court; Kern County Superior Court; US Department of Justice; Los Angeles Unified School District; UCLA Ombuds Office; UC Irvine Ombuds Office; ICANN; Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Phoenix); California Association of Professional Employees; US Army National Guard JAG; US Navy JAG; FINRA; Arbitration Mediation Conciliation Center; Ventura Public Defender's Office; US Department of Energy; Federal Energy Regulatory Commission; California Lawyers for the Arts; Screen Actors Guild; FOX; Independent Film and Television Alliance; Georgia Pacific; Administrative Office of the Courts; JAMS; AAA; Center for Conflict Resolution; Kaiser Permanente; Asian Pacific American Dispute Resolution Center; Internal Revenue Service; Bet Tzedek Services; Western Justice Center Foundation; Centinela Youth Services; Disability Rights California; On Deck Mediation; USA&M-Midwest; Gila County in Arizona; King and Spalding LLP; The Holmes Law Firm; and many more.

Our externs were also accepted by international organizations, such as: International Chamber of Commerce (Paris); the United States Embassy (London); Law Offices of Kim & Kim (Korea); United Nations (Lebanon); Search for Common Ground (Lebanon), and Beijing Arbitration Commission (China).

In order to ensure that students have a wide array of opportunities, the Externship Program continues to build and update its comprehensive database of domestic and international placement opportunities. If you are interested in learning more about the Externship Program, or would like to request an extern, please contact

"Outside the Box" A Masters' Roundtable on Creatively Managing Conflict
On April 6-7, the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution, The International Institute for Conflict Prevention & Resolution, and the DePaul Center for Dispute Resolution presented a two-day Roundtable "Outside the Box". This workshop was by invitation only and both days were devoted to a variety of short presentations and interactive discussions on successful strategies that depart in various ways from the normal approaches to contracting, negotiating, mediating, arbitrating, or litigating. The two-day workshop was based on the materials developed from the feedback received from the Straus Council of Distinguished Advisors members and other selected leading neutrals and practitioners, as well as examples gleaned from published materials. In developing these materials we sought specific examples of everything from contractual platforms to incentivize collaboration (alliancing, partnering) to creative management of complex mass litigation as well as mediation and arbitration.


April 20: The Nuts and Bolts of Starting a Mediation Practice (11:30 - 2:30 pm in B)
Straus Institute is hosting a panel presentation entitled "The Nuts and Bolts of Starting a Mediation Practice." This is an essential presentation for any of our students or alums who are anticipating opening a mediation practice. There will be tips on common pitfalls to avoid, essential steps to take, mediation agreement and confidentiality templates (free!), and time for networking. Panelists include Straus alumni who will offer practical tips on how to build on the Straus foundation to create a mediation practice.

- Rebecca Callahan, LLM '07, Principal of Callahan Dispute Resolution and panel Arbitrator for the American Arbitration Association on the Commercial and Healthcare Payor/Provider Panels; 25+ years as a trial lawyer in the state and federal courts representing clients in various commercial/business/accounting disputes.

- David Peterson, LLM '04, has been a trial attorney for over 25 years and a mediator for 14 years. He specializes in governmental disputes, real estate, and commercial cases.

- Dennis Torres, MDR '00, has more than 35 years of business experience. In addition to his private practice, Torres serves as the Executive Director of Real Estate for Pepperdine and as an adjunct professor of negotiation and dispute resolution at Pepperdine's Business School. He has been a successful real estate developer, mediator, arbitrator and negotiator.

Lunch will be provided. Please RSVP to by April 18.

Mediation Cartoon

Teaching Law School ADR Classes

June 21-22: Straus Institute will present Teaching Law School ADR Classes
This program is offered to law faculty from the U.S. and around the world interested in comparing approaches, improving techniques, and discussing the relationship between the ADR classroom and professional law practice. The program is organized by Jay Folberg, Dwight Golann, Peter Robinson, and Tom Stipanowich and faculty are invited to attend through a generous grant from the JAMS Foundation. The two day conference will combine plenary sessions focusing on topics related to teaching all types of ADR courses and breakout tracks for professors interested in Mediation, Negotiation, Arbitration, and ADR Overview (survey) courses. All presentations will be made through interactive discussion among panelists and seminar participants.

For more information, interested law faculty can Click Here.

Teaching Law School ADR Classes

June 23-25: 24th Annual Professional Skills Program in Malibu, CA
Three days of intensive skills instruction and practice including lectures, small group discussions and practice exercises. This program features sixteen courses including basic and advanced mediation, as well as specialized areas of dispute resolution. For more information Click Here or contact Lori Rushford at (310) 506-4655 or Spaces are limited for students ($295 rate) so please make sure to register early. The alumni rate is $495.


Please visit our Straus Job Postings.

Pepperdine University School of Law
Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution

24255 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu, CA 90263
Phone: (310) 506-4655 |

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