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Pepperdine Caruso Law in Malibu

Leadership for Attorneys in Business

A Sophisticated Four-Day Program Emphasizing Skills Development for Attorneys and for Associate and General Counsels

Pepperdine Caruso Law Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution in collaboration with Willamette University and Atkinson Graduate School of Management presents a unique program through which participants learn to apply their legal expertise to help companies achieve their objectives. Attendees also learn to be trusted advisers and organizational leaders by understanding and thinking about business issues the way business decision makers do.

View the 2019 Flyer

Four-Day Program

Malibu, California
January 28-31, 2019

Why Leadership for Attorneys in Business?

Become indispensable to your organization. Leadership for Attorneys in Business (LAB) is a unique professional development opportunity for attorneys. The program provides the tools, resources and concepts to increase the value, productivity and effectiveness of an attorney working within an organization. It is a highly interactive program that enhances learning with real-life stories and examples from experienced practitioners. Participants learn to be better lawyers, advisors and organizational leaders by understanding and thinking about business issues the way business decision-makers do.

A Valuable Learning Experience In:

  • Offering legal advice that enables the achievement of business goals
  • Understanding financial reporting and the financial impact of legal advice
  • Working effectively with interdisciplinary teams and internal clients
  • Building relationships with key decision-makers and framing advice for maximum impact

Program Topics and Schedule

Day 1 - The Big Picture - General Counsel Culture

Vince Chiappetta, Professor of Law, Co-Director of the Business Lawyering Institute

  • The (aspirational) role of in-house legal
  • Implementing the aspirational goal
  • How businesses define their objectives and their relationship to value-added advice
  • Risk Management and its relationship to value-added advice
  • Value-added contracting

Monday Night - Keynote Dinner Speaker:

Thomas Stipanowich, Professor of Law and Dean, Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution

Day 2 - Finance - Financial Reports, Legal Advice and Financial Decisions

Nicole Thibodeau, Associate Professor of Accounting Practice, Willamette University; President, Nthandco Management Consultants

  • How financial statements tell the story of operations and the financial situation
  • Interpreting the balance sheet and the statement of income (P&)
  • Understanding cash flows
  • How law intersects management decisions, reporting and governance

Day 3 - Getting to Agreement

Sukhsimranjit Singh, Managing Director, Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution

  • Effective Communication and Negotiation
  • Mastering Conflict Resolution Skills and Building Consensus
  • Team Building, Team Development and Conflict Resolution

Day 4 - In-House Counsel as Leader - Leadership and YOU!

Jo Smith, Management Consultant and Leadership Coach to Lawyers

Pre-work: Complete PREP Personal Strengths Survey

  • Theories of Leadership
  • Leadership Styles
  • Assessing Your Environment and Personal Strengths
  • Leadership Development Plan


  • General Registration Rate is $3,695
  • Governmental / Non-profit Rate is $3,395
  • Pepperdine Alumni Rate is $3,195

Registration includes course materials, continental breakfasts, and lunches, and an opening night dinner.

We reserve the right to cancel this program if we have fewer than 15 students.

Enrollment is limited, participants should register early.  

The governmental/nonprofit rate is for FULL-TIME employees only. Please be sure to list your governmental/company address and email on the registration form. You are agreeing that we may contact your employer to verify full-time employment.

PLEASE NOTE!!!  Should a paid participant be unable to attend, the registration payment, less a $500 cancellation fee, will be refunded or a substitute may attend the program.   Refunds for registrations paid by check will require a W-9 form submitted to the University. This is for internal purposes only to generate a refund check. The refund is not taxed nor would a 1099 be issued.

PLEASE NOTE: There is a $100 administrative fee for transferring to another program. When canceling, we require notice by Tuesday, January 22, 2018 or there will be an additional $100 food service fee deducted.


Faculty members listed below are confirmed. However, due to illness or unavoidable conflict, we reserve the right to substitute faculty.

Tom Stipanowich

Tom Stipanowich holds the William H. Webster Chair in Dispute Resolution and is a Professor of Law at Pepperdine University Caruso School of Law; as Associate Dean, he heads the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution, which has been ranked first in the nation by U.S. News & World Report for 13 of the last 14 years. He is the award-winning author of more than 50 books and articles, and has been cited by the U.S. Supreme Court and many other courts. He is also an active arbitrator and mediator and a popular speaker and trainer on mediation, arbitration and dispute resolution who has worked on five continents. Prior to coming to Pepperdine he was a litigator, chaired professor of law, and, from 2001-2006, President and CEO of the International Institute for Conflict Prevention & Resolution (CPR Institute), a Manhattan-based nonprofit think tank supported by many international companies and law firms that developed new insights and tools for managing and resolving business disputes. Stipanowich is the recipient of many honors including the D'Alemberte-Raven Award, ABA Dispute Resolution Section's highest honor (2008), for his contributions to the field, and CPR's James F. Henry Award. Last year he was named Distinguished Professor by the National Law University, Delhi, India—the first non-Indian to be accorded the honor. He will be a featured commentator on a forthcoming five-part documentary on arbitration in China that will be seen on China's national TV, and is expected to be seen by as many as 100 million people. In fall, 2018, he will be a Faculty Fellow of the Hagler Institute for Advanced Studies of Texas A&M University, having been jointly nominated by the Colleges of Architecture and Law.

Sukhsimranjit Singh

Sukhsimranjit Singh practices, teaches and trains in dispute resolution. He is the Managing Director of the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution and Assistant Professor of Law and Practice at Pepperdine Caruso Law. He specializes in cross-cultural dispute resolution and has published numerous articles in that field, and in 2015 he delivered TED Talk on Cross-Cultural Communications in Salem, Oregon. He has mediated inter-cultural and commercial cases in the United States, India and Canada. An Honorary Fellow with the International Academy of Mediators, he is also a Council Member of the Section of Dispute Resolution of the American Bar Association. He has trained lawyers and law students in more than twenty states and twelve countries. He is an honorary professor of law at National Law University, Delhi. Singh obtained his Masters in Laws in Dispute Resolution from University of Missouri Columbia and was a Fellow at the Dispute Resolution Institute at Hamline University School of Law and has clerked with Chief Justice of India. An avid reader and an amateur photographer, he loves to travel with his family. He is passionate for music, sports, and interacting with new cultures.

Jo Smith

Jo Smith, Jo Smith Associates, Inc.  Smith is a management consultant, executive coach and speaker. She is the President of Jo Smith Associates, Inc. (JSA), which she founded to help successful firms grow their business by leveraging their most important asset - the strength and talent of their people. I consult and coach for one reason - I love to help people succeed, individually and collectively.  Smith has more than twenty years' experience in professional services leadership and business development and a lifetime of experience in leadership and human relations. She helps firms and teams work together more collaboratively to reach shared goals. And she helps firms and individual professionals use their talent and passion to market themselves and their services. Her client list includes law, accounting, consulting and real estate firms, the Multnomah Bar Association, the University of Oregon School of Law and Willamette University's Graduate School of Management.  Prior to returning from Los Angeles to her hometown of Portland in 2001, Smith excelled in the following management roles at Drake Beam Morin, a world-wide human resources consulting firm:

•Managing Consultant, Los Angeles, managing business unit profitability and quality and leading a team of professional consultants and staff. Ms. Smith led the office from underperformance to one of the firm's top performing offices in less than 18 months, significantly exceeding measures of profitability, client satisfaction, and employee satisfaction.
•Project Director, U.S., directing multi-million dollar projects with multiple sites across the U.S.
•Center Manager, U.S., managing and delivering on-site services at client locations in Oregon, Texas, Washington, and California.

Smith earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing with high honors from Portland State University (PSU). Faculty named her Marketing Student of the Year and she was an early inductee of Beta Gamma Sigma, the national honor society for business students. She earned a Certificate in Human Resource Management and completed a 77-hour course in coaching. Smith served on the Board of Directors of the National University of Natural Medicine. She served on the National Board of Directors of the Institute of Management Consultants (IMC) USA and chaired its National Marketing Committee. She is a Past President of the Portland State University (PSU) Alumni Association and of the Oregon Chapter of the American Marketing Association.

Nicole Thibodeau

Nicole Thibodeau, Associate Professor of Account Practice, Willamette University.   Thibodeau has more than 25 years of experience in making numbers sing, dance, and rock, growing businesses and individuals exponentially by leveraging financial language and strategies and advising executives, managers, and financial professionals. A growth expert through real cost, SMART pricing and investing, and strategic financial leadership, Thibodeau's experience spans the industries, borders, and coasts of North America. Through her firm, Nthandco Management Consultants, she partners with elite business owners, executives, and CFOs of SMEs to drive business and personal growth and wealth. Nthandco drives exponential growth through SMART Business GrowthSM and strategic financial leadership (SFLSM), putting the owners, executives, and the financial team in the driver's seat. Thibodeau volunteers at Mercy Corp NW to help micro start-ups, and she has mentored and inspired success in individuals from a variety of leading firms and organizations including Nike, Intel, Benchmade Knives, Les Schwab, Deloitte, Forest Dental, SERA Architects, Willamette University, the Veterans Administration (VA), Deloitte, KPMG, Moda Health, the Department of Defense, Port of Portland, Northwest Natural, PGE, Naval Postgraduate School, the University of Pittsburgh, and Laval University. Thibodeau obtained her BBA in 1988 from Laval University, her CPA in 1990, and her PhD in 2003 from the University of Pittsburgh. She particularly thrives on challenges and in the outdoors, where she can feel the elements and where the growth opportunities are without limit, and in partnering with growth-minded business owners and professionals to grow business exponentially!

Vince Chiapetta

Vince Chiappetta, Professor of Law, Co-Director of the Business Lawyering Institute, Willamette University.  Professor Chiappetta joined the Willamette University College of Law faculty in 1997. He teaches property, intellectual property, antitrust, business lawyering and science, and technology and law. In 2013 and 2002, he received the Jerry E. Hudson Award for Excellence in Teaching. In 1999, he was named College of Law Teacher of the Year. He was the founding director for the Certificate Program in Law and Business. He currently serves as co-director of the Business Lawyering Institute on campus. Chiappetta was named a CALI Copyright Fellow in 2004 and a CALI Trademark Fellow in 2003. Chiappetta has extensive practice experience, having served as vice president and general counsel for Tektronix Inc. (1993-1997), associate general counsel (Trademarks) for Levi Strauss & Co. (1992-1993) and associate general counsel (Europe, Africa, Middle East) for Apple Computer Inc. (1987-1991) in Paris, France. He also was a partner in the Meyer, Hendricks, Victor, Osborn & Maledon firm in Phoenix, Ariz., from 1977 to 1987 and from 1991 to 1992. Chiappetta has worked on numerous high-technology and e-commerce legislative issues, serving as the chair of the Oregon Internet Commission and as a member of both the Oregon Higher Education Technology Transfer Board and the Oregon Bar Computer and Electronic Information Workgroup. Chiappetta has been a visiting professor at Indiana University School of Law and at Arizona State University College of Law and has taught as an adjunct at Lewis & Clark Northwestern School of Law, as well as in Shanghai on Willamette's China Program. He has taught courses in business organizations, business planning, sales, negotiations, banking law and European Union law. He is admitted to the Arizona, California and Oregon State Bars and to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Bar.


These activities have been approved for 24 hours of MCLE credit by the State Bar of California. Pepperdine University Caruso School of Law certifies that the activity conforms to the standards for approved education activities prescribed by the rules and regulations of the State Bar of California governing MCLE. Participants from outside of California should submit the California MCLE form to their state bar for approval after the program is completed.  Please be sure to sign in each day in the CLE sign-in forms located in the classroom. Straus programs have been accepted for MCLE credit across the nation.


All programs of the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution are offered with a satisfaction guarantee. If a participant completes the program and is dissatisfied with the course content or performance of the faculty, the tuition fee will be refunded.

 Tax Deduction

Education expenses (including enrollment fees, course materials, and travel costs) may be deductible if they improve or maintain professional skills. Treas. Reg. Sec. I 162-5.

 Location, Hotels, and Times


Pepperdine University Drescher Graduate Campus

24255 Pacific Coast Highway
Malibu, CA 90263

Hotel List

Malibu Hotel List

Our on campus hotel is the Villa Graziadio (310) 506-1100. Participants staying at the Villa would be able to walk to the classrooms for the program.  Please ask for the Straus LAB Room Block when you make your reservation. Please note that this is a small hotel and will sell out.

We also have a room block at the Hilton Garden Inn in Calabasas. Please ask for the Straus LAB Room Block in making your reservation or book online: Hilton Pepperdine Straus LAB Reservation.

HILTON GARDEN INN – 13 miles southeast 
24150 Park Sorrento - Calabasas, CA 91302
818.591.2300 – Pepperdine rate $185
Hilton Pepperdine Straus LAB Reservation


Monday through Thursday class schedule is 8:30 am to 5:00 pm.  

Please contact Lori Rushford at 310.506.6342 or lori.rushford@pepperdine.edu for more information.