STAR: A Systematic Approach to Mediation Strategies | Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution | School of Law | Pepperdine University

STAR: A Systematic Approach to Mediation Strategies

Faculty: Tom Stipanowich and Denise Madigan

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

Thomas Stipanowich is the William H. Webster Chair in Dispute Resolution and professor of law at Pepperdine School of Law. He is also the academic director of the Straus Institute. Stipanowich brings a long and distinguished career as a scholar, teacher, and leader in the field along with wide-ranging experience as a commercial and construction mediator, arbitrator, federal court special master, and facilitator. From 2001 until mid-2006, he served as CEO of the International Institute for Conflict Prevention & Resolution (CPR Institute). He has authored two of the leading books on commercial arbitration and many articles on ADR. Recently he coauthored a groundbreaking book and materials entitled Resolving Disputes: Theory, Practice, and Law.


Denise R. Madigan has been mediating full-time for over 20 years. She entered the field as associate director for the Harvard-MIT Public Disputes Program in the early 1980s, mediating large-scale public policy disputes. After practicing law at Arnold & Porter in Washington, D.C., she joined the pioneering ADR firm, Endispute, Inc., (which later merged with JAMS). Her mediation practice is extraordinarily broad, and includes complex commercial, entertainment, intellectual property, insurance, mass accidents, public policy and health care, among others. In addition to her full-time mediation practice, MadiganADR, she has taught negotiation and mediation at the Straus Institute since the mid-1990s. Madigan also has designed and/or taught hundreds of tailored negotiation and ADR courses for courts, law firms, government agencies, universities, nonprofits, and corporations in the United States, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East.