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Pepperdine | Caruso School of Law

Cross-Cultural Dispute Resolution and Law Practice

September 27-28, 2018

Faculty: Sukhsimranjit Singh and Marvin Johnson


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This training examines how obvious and not-so-obvious cultural differences impact resolution of interpersonal and interstate (international) disputes. Specifically, this training will bring a global perspective to understanding the impact of culture on legal negotiation, mediation, arbitration, and law practices.

This training will provide practical tools to attorneys and mediators on how to work effectively in cross-cultural situations. It will cover common cross-cultural mistakes, how to build trust and effective communication across cultural boundaries, and how to develop rapport with cross-cultural clients?

This course is designed to build theoretical knowledge, to equip participants 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 worldviews will be examined along various dimensions.

What you will learn:

  • Worldview: implicit and explicit bias
  • Cultural dimensions: research and practical tools
  • Cultures, emotions, and apology: what does one needs to know?
  • Memory, analysis, and culture: studies and results
  • Decision making across cultures: tips, traits and stories
  • Power and culture: working effectively with authority
  • Cross-cultural mediations: an effective cross-cultural model
  • Faith-based mediations: expanding your cross-cultural practice?
  • Culture and gender: approaching cultural holistically


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.


Marvin E. Johnson is a nationally recognized mediator, arbitrator, and trainer with more than 27 years of dispute resolution experience. He is the Founder and Executive Director of the Center for Alternative Dispute Resolution, the first dispute resolution center founded at a historically black university. Mr. Johnson provides workshops and lectures extensively on the subjects of diversity and conflict management.

Two Presidents of the United States, a Secretary of the United States Department of State, a Governor of Maryland, a Chief Judge of the Maryland Court of Appeals, and the County Executive for Prince George's County, have recognized Mr. Johnson's dispute resolution expertise by appointing him to the Federal Service Impasses Panel, the Foreign Service Grievance Board, the Maryland State Labor Relations Board, the Maryland Alternative Dispute Resolution Commission (now the Maryland Mediation and Conflict Resolution Office or MACRO), and the Prince George's County Public Employee Relations Board, respectively. He serves on numerous national and regional dispute resolution panels, including the American Arbitration Association National Roster of Neutrals, the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, and JAMS.

Mr. Johnson is a Past President of the International Academy of Mediators (IAM) and has served on the Boards of the ABA's Section of Dispute Resolution, the Association for Conflict Resolution, and IAM.