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Pepperdine | Caruso School of Law

Managing Conflict Within Large Organizations: Public and Private

Faculty: Phil Armstrong and Toby Treem Guerin

This course is aimed toward businesses and government agencies that seek to develop or enhance effective conflict management practices which have been shown to increase worker retention, manage litigation, and maximize productivity. Individuals within organizations have the capacity to leverage a variety of tools to appropriately address internal and external conflicts. Through case studies, participants will learn practical problem-solving tools to mitigate the negative impacts of conflict within businesses and agencies. The course is designed for anyone managing workplace disputes including human resources personnel and general counsel, risk managers and supervisors, and trained neutrals among others. Participants will learn necessary skills and experience real-time practice opportunities as they simulate various roles in a variety of common organizational situations. At the conclusion of the course, participants will have an expanded set of time and money-saving skills and options to bring back to their business or government agency.

What you will learn:

  • Effective conflict management roles for internal staff in business and government settings
  • Spectrum of dispute-resolution processes and practices
  • Key communication, negotiation, and problem-solving skills
  • Common successes and pitfalls of workplace dispute resolution
  • Litigation management including when and how to use appropriate dispute resolution
  • Proactive and reactive conflict-management practices

Phillip M. Armstrong, a 1973 graduate of the University of Kentucky College of Law, is former senior counsel (recently retired) for ADR and litigation at Georgia-Pacific LLC and a member of the American, Georgia, Kentucky, and Atlanta Bar Associations. He has previously served as the vice chair of the American Bar Association's Dispute Resolution Section, chair of the State Bar of Georgia Dispute Resolution Section, and chair of the Atlanta Bar Association Dispute Resolution Section. He is a member of the executive committee for the CPR International Institute for Conflict Prevention and Resolution and the Council of Distinguished Advisors for the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution at the Pepperdine University Caruso School of Law. Armstrong has written several articles on dispute resolution and has served as speaker or panelist at dozens of seminars and symposiums on dispute resolution. He is an adjunct professor at the Emory University School of Law (teaching ADR and mediation advocacy) and at the Pepperdine University Caruso School of Law (teaching litigation management in business organizations), and has also taught ADR at the Georgia State University College of Law. Armstrong previously served on the board of directors for GPC Credit Association and currently serves on the board of trustees for the University of the Cumberlands in Williamsburg, Kentucky.

Toby Treem Guerin is the deputy director for the Center for Dispute Resolution at the University of Maryland Carey School of Law and clinical instructor for its Mediation Clinic. Guerin has over 10 years experience mediating and facilitating in various venues including government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and court systems. She served as the first chairperson of the Mediator Excellence Council, a mediator quality-assistance initiative in Maryland and formerly directed the agricultural mediation program at the Maryland Department of Agriculture. Guerin conducts trainings on topics such as basic mediation, co-mediation, elicitive feedback, mentoring, and effective communication, among others.