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Pepperdine | Caruso School of Law

Summer 2021 Professional Skills Series

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Continuing to Prepare You for the ADR Landscape in Response to COVID-19

Series Overview

This Summer, the Straus Institute is again pleased to offer the Professional Skills Series of courses that provide timely strategies and innovative techniques to address practice challenges posed by COVID-19 for lawyers, mediators, students, and professionals at all levels.

The current global pandemic has fundamentally changed ADR across the United States, and indeed the world. In the span of a few short weeks, litigation, dispute resolution, and virtually all business-centered transactions have moved online. Professionals have had to adapt to virtual practice norms, quickly learn online platforms, and develop new ways to connect with clients and audiences online. The Professional Skills Series reimagines Straus' long-standing Professional Skills Training Program and addresses diverse topics that respond to changes in the ADR field brought by COVID-19.

Join our Distinguished Faculty in Straus' Virtual Classroom

Courses are taught by accomplished faculty, thought leaders, and nationally-recognized experts, who are skilled in online teaching, inspiring meaningful dialogue, and building connections in the virtual classroom. The Professional Skills Series Courses will include engaging presentations and interactive components that equip professionals with skills they can immediately employ in their practices.  Participate from anywhere within a convenient, online format, selecting a single class or take multiple in the Series. We recommend using Google Chrome web browser for registration.


Additional Program Information for Summer 2021

  • TIMING OF COURSES:  Each seminar will be held on a Thursday and Friday morning from 8:30 AM - 12:30 PM (PST), making it a 3 1/2-hour course each day, with two 15 minute breaks.  Total of 7 hours of training/CLE credit for the two days. 
  • ONLINE MCLE CREDIT:  For participants outside California, please confirm online CLE hours will be accepted by your state bar.  
  • COURSE CANCELLATION: There is a $35 processing fee for canceling a course. If a course is sold out, please cancel by the Tuesday prior to the class start date.   Participants who do not cancel prior to the program start date will not receive a refund.
  • WEBINAR RECORDING: By participating in a Straus Institute/Pepperdine Caruso Law webinar, you automatically agree to authorize the recording of audio and visual content presented during the live event and consent to subsequent use of the recording by Pepperdine Caruso Law. This recording may include questions and poll responses provided by you during the live event. This recording will be made available after the conclusion of the live event as part of the webinar archives and will remain available indefinitely. If you do not wish to consent to the recording, please do not join the live event, and contact straus@pepperdine.edu to discuss your concerns.

Back to Summer 2021

Course Descriptions - As of 1/15/2021 we have six classes listed, we anticipate posting additional classes.  Dates to be posted soon and registration is not yet open. Thank you!

Family Law Mediation

Dates to be announced for Family Law in Summer 2021

Family Law Mediation Course Description Coming Soon

Faculty: Irwin Joseph and Don Saposnek

Honorable Irwin Joseph (retired) provides private mediation, arbitration, and private judging services in Northern California. Before retirement, he served as a Superior Court All Purpose Judge (as a Commissioner) in Santa Clara County and in Santa Cruz County for almost 15 years. His bench experience included family, civil, and criminal assignments. During his eight years in the family law division, he heard dissolution, custody, support, paternity, and domestic violence matters. He created the Judicially Supervised Settlement Conference (Mediation) program and the Early Neutral Evaluation Program for Family Court. He co-taught mediation skills to judges in Singapore and at over twenty Straus trainings. He has mediated thousands of conflicts since 1995. He was a faculty member of the Center for Judicial Education and Research (CJER) and the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ), and a member of the Elkins Family Law Task Force. He is a graduate of the University of La Verne College of Law and UCLA.

Donald T. Saposnek, Ph.D. is a practicing clinical-child psychologist and child custody mediator, a family therapist for over 48 years, and a national and international trainer of mediation and child development, in several recent years presenting trainings to judges and lawyers in Singapore. He is author of the classic book, Mediating Child Custody Disputes: A Strategic Approach, and coauthor of Splitting America: How Politicians, Super PACS and the News Media Mirror High-Conflict Divorce. He has mediated over 5,000 custody disputes since 1977, was Director of the Santa Cruz County Family Court Services for 17 years, and has published extensively in the professional literature on mediation, child custody, and child psychology. He has taught on the psychology faculty at the University of California, Santa Cruz for 41 years, is Editor-in-Chief of publications for the Academy of Professional Family Mediators, and serves on the editorial boards of numerous publishing houses and several international journals on conflict resolution. He co-created this course ten years ago to bring psychological and child-developmental research perspectives to the work of divorce professionals.

Class Times: Two morning sessions, Thursday/Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.  with two 15 minute breaks.  Total class time is 7 hours.

Advanced Mediation

Dates to be announced for Advanced Mediation in Summer 2021

Class Times: Two morning sessions, Thursday/Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. with two 15 minute breaks. Total class time is 7 hours.

Advanced Mediation Skill Development:  Perfecting Our Craft

(Includes one/half hour of Legal Ethics)

An interactive, skill enhancement course facilitated by an experienced trainer with over 35 years of mediation and training experience in the U.S. and abroad.

This course invites you to engage in reflective learning with other experienced mediators as we "drill down" on important topics effecting our profession. You will read blogs on cutting edge topics and be exposed to unique forms of online learning.

Join me in taking your skills, and your career to the next level as we explore:

Join us in taking your skills, and your career to the next level as you learn:
• Techniques that are customized to the different stages of mediation (early, mid-stage, and late-stage negotiations)
• Diagnosis of sources of resistance and specific strategies for different sources of impasse
• Skills for working with high emotion
• Knowledge of communication issues across cultures and understanding the concept of implicit bias
• Approaches to expanding your practice beyond "cases" - brainstorming how to use our skills beyond the traditional litigated case and expanding our market
• Pre-mediation and post-mediation strategies that are appreciated in the market and will make your practice stand out from the other providers
• Ethical issues that mediators face due to the changing nature of the field

Faculty: Bruce Edwards

Eldercare and Probate Mediation

Dates to be announced for Eldercare and Probate Mediation in Summer 2021

Class Times: Two morning sessions, Thursday/Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. with two 15 minute breaks. Total class time is 7 hours.

Eldercare and Probate Mediation Description Coming Soon

Faculty:  Zena Zumeta

Zena Zumeta, is internationally known as both a mediator and trainer of mediators. She is president of the Mediation Training and Consultation Institute, Zena Zumeta Mediation Services, and The Collaborative Workplace in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She received her juris doctor from the University of Michigan Law School. Zumeta is a former board member and president of the Academy of Family Mediators (now merged into the Association for Conflict Resolution), past president of the Michigan Council for Family and Divorce Mediation, and past regional vice president of the Society of Professionals in Dispute Resolution. 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.



Psychology of Conflict 

August 5-6, 2021 

Class Times: Two morning sessions, Thursday/Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. with two 15 minute breaks. Total class time is 7 hours.

Psychology of Conflict

How do the current COVID technological and sociological adaptations impact the behaviors of litigants and their advocates? What is the impact on conflict in our homes, workplaces, and schools? This course examines the four pillars of the psychology of conflict: attention, empathy, leverage, and decision-making, through a post-COVID lens. Continue to create your own version of mediation "magic" by updating your understanding of human behavior with insights from the areas of cognitive and social psychology, neuroscience, and communication theory.

Faculty:  Stephanie Blondell 

Stephanie Blondell is an assistant professor of law and assistant director of the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution. She supervises the Mediation Clinic and teaches Mediation Theory and Practice, Psychology of Conflict, and Criminal Law. Prior to joining Pepperdine, she served as the manager of the King County Alternative Dispute Resolution Program and Interlocal Conflict Resolution Group, a tri-county labor-management and public policy mediation program in the area around Seattle, Washington. Prior to this she was the alternative dispute resolution coordinator for the City of Seattle where she designed and implemented a labor and employment mediation program for city government. Before joining Straus full-time, Blondell served as an adjunct professor at Straus, the Seattle University School of Law, and the University of Washington master of public administration program. Blondell earned her BA with honors in American civilization from Brown University, and her JD from the University of Washington School of Law.

De-Escalating Strong Emotions 

Dates to be announced for De-Escalating Strong Emotions in Summer 2021

Class Times: Two morning sessions, Thursday/Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. with two 15 minute breaks. Total class time is 7 hours.

De-Escalating Strong Emotions

Listening is the master skill of peace. When at least one person is listening well, misunderstandings get cleared up, relationships are energized, and time is saved. Listening improves any relationship, whether you're setting milestones on an important project, giving tough feedback, or helping someone solve problems. The problem with most people is that (1) they listen to the wrong things, (2) they jump to problem-solving too quickly, and (3) they emotionally invalidate the person they are listening to. This may lead to emotional escalation and impasse.

Neuroscience rejects the western myth that humans are rational beings. Science has established that humans are 98% emotional and 2% rational. Unfortunately, the Enlightenment emphasis on logic and rational thinking has created a large set of unintended consequences. All conflict is emotional and most relationship problems are emotional. In this workshop, participants will be introduced to the top level ideas in the neuroscience of emotional experience. Based on new understanding, they will learn advanced techniques for de-escalating the strong emotions of others.

Faculty: Doug Noll 

Douglas E. Noll, AV-rated, is listed in The Best Lawyers in America and is a Northern California Super Lawyer. Noll holds an M.A. in peacemaking and conflict studies from Fresno Pacific University and is an adjunct law professor at San Joaquin College of Law. He is a Distinguished Fellow of International Academy of Mediators and American College of Civil Trial Mediators and is certified by the International Mediation Institute. His books include Elusive Peace: How Modern Diplomatic Strategies Could Better Resolve World Conflicts; Sex, Politics & Religion at the Office: The New Competitive Advantage and Peacemaking: Practicing at the Intersection of Law and Human Conflict.

Cross-Cultural Dispute Resolution

August 12-13, 2021

Class Time: Two morning sessions, Thursday/Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. with two 15 minute breaks. Total class time is 7 hours.

Course Description for Cross-Cultural Dispute Resolution Coming Soon

Faculty:  Sukhsimran Singh and Deep Basraon

Sukhsimranjit Singh practices, teaches, and trains in dispute resolution. He is the Judge Danny Weinstein Managing Director of the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution and assistant professor of law and practice at Pepperdine Caruso School of Law where he also directs the LLM program in dispute resolution. He specializes in cross-cultural dispute resolution and has published numerous articles in that field, and in 2015 he delivered a TED Talk on cross-cultural communications in Salem, Oregon. He has mediated intercultural and commercial cases in the United States, India, and Canada, among other countries. 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 and board member at Weinstein International Foundation. He has trained lawyers and law students in more than 30 states and 22 countries. Singh obtained his Ph.D. from National Law University, Delhi, master of laws in dispute resolution from University of Missouri-Columbia and was a Fellow at the Dispute Resolution Institute at Hamline University School of Law. 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.

Baldeep "Deep" Basraon is a lead consultant for businesses in the United States and Canada on cross-cultural decision making and on statistical analysis of business growth. She merges the two fields of dispute resolution and mathematics with her master's degree in dispute resolution from the University of Oregon School of Law and her bachelor of science in statistics and applied mathematics from California State University. Among other clients, Basraon has successfully helped Choice Hotels, Wyndham Group, Food Chains, Farm Owners, and Private Dispute Resolution Practices in managing revenue increases while creating budget cuts. With a passion to help parties in identity-based conflicts, her mediation practice is focused on business-to-business conflicts and national culture conflicts. Deep has taught or lectured on negotiation and cross-cultural dispute resolution at national and international conferences in India, the United States, and Canada, and has served as a professor of mathematics at Chemeketa Community College in Oregon.

Questions may be directed to Lori Rushford at lori.rushford@pepperdine.edu or call 310.506.6342.