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Pepperdine | Caruso School of Law

STAR: A Systematic Approach to Mediation Strategies

Faculty: Peter Robinson and Shaphan Roberts

Mediations are dynamic and fluid. Both aspiring neutrals and sophisticated advocates should know the predictable themes and stages of a mediation as well as the variety of styles and techniques used in each stage. Competence in the mediation approaches and techniques that are not intuitive for a particular mediator marks the differences between the serious professional practitioner and the casual volunteer. This course will survey how successful mediators use a variety of approaches in five fundamental stages of a mediation. The emphasis will be on encouraging the exercise of conscious professional judgment and strategies analysis for both mediators and advocates.

What you will learn:

  • Stages of a mediation
  • How to convene and open a mediation
  • Facilitating communication
  • Encouraging problem solving
  • Utilizing the predictability of distributive bargaining
  • Using intangible interests to overcome impasse
  • Facilitating closure
  • Balancing neutrality and fairness
  • Managing emotions
  • Effective case presentation
  • Ethical concerns of mediators and advocates
  • Mediation advocacy tips

Peter Robinson is professor of law at Pepperdine University Caruso School of Law and former managing director of the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution. He has presented advanced negotiation and mediation skills courses throughout the United States and in more than 10 foreign countries. He has served on the boards of the California Dispute Resolution Council, the Southern California Mediation Association (SCMA), Dispute Resolution Services of the LACBA, the Ventura Center for Dispute Settlement, and the Christian Conciliation Service of Los Angeles. The SCMA recognized him as Peacemaker of the Year in 1999. He is a Fellow of the International Academy of Mediators and was recognized as a Southern California Super Lawyer in the area of mediation in 2006 and 2008. After being appointed by the Los Angeles City Attorney, he successfully mediated all the environmental objections to building the Farmers Field football stadium in downtown Los Angeles.

Shaphan Roberts is the Director for Los Angeles City Attorney's Dispute Resolution Program and has earned his MBA from Pepperdine University's PKE program. Mr. Roberts manages the coordination of all programmatic aspects of the Dispute Resolution Program, including community mediation, the Community Police Unification (CPU) Program, and the growth of the program in line with the goals of the City Attorney's Community Justice Initiative.

Mr. Roberts also serves as the head liaison with public and private alternative dispute resolution programs; with federal, state, and local agencies, colleges, and universities; and with restorative justice entities and other community-based organizations. Additionally, he manages the recruitment, training and certification of the DRP's volunteer mediator workforce. The DRP office features an award-winning training module, which is responsible for teaching community members the core functions of alternative dispute resolution. 

He also serves as an adjunct professor for the Straus Institute and teaches Cross Cultural Dispute Resolution for the program.