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Professors Stephanie Blondell, Tom Stipanowich, and Maureen Weston Present at AALS Alternative Dispute Resolution Works-in-Progress Conference

Professors Stephanie B. Blondell, Thomas J. Stipanowich, and Maureen A. Weston represented Pepperdine Caruso School of Law at the AALS Alternative Dispute Resolution Section 15th Annual Works-in-Progress Conference. The conference was hosted by the University of Oregon School of Law from Thursday, October 6, through Saturday, October 8, 2022. Since 2007, the Works-in-Progress Conference has brought together dispute resolution scholars and researchers to share their ideas and discuss their work in a rigorous and collegial atmosphere. Over 40 ADR scholars convened for the conference, which was held in a hybrid format.

Professor Blondell presented "Legal Advice, Legal Information, Legal Fiction: Rethinking Mediation Table Skills with Pro Se Litigants."

Abstract: The temptation for new mediators, as well as experienced ones, to become directive and evaluative when working with pro se litigants is compulsive. This troublesome dynamic invokes questions at the heart of mediation ethics.  When teaching in the professional skills or clinical setting, bright lines have been drawn around largely suspect categories, such as legal advice and legal information. In addition, instilling the fear of the unauthorized practice of law is commonplace. The author's assertion is that the development of advanced mediation table skills circumvents the need to rely on the suspect categories of legal advice and information. This paper proposes a three-part analysis to categorize mediator interventions with pro se litigants, including the regulatory context of the litigation as well as specifics of both the litigant and the mediator context. The paper appeals to clinicians to teach to the "carrot” (an evolved and ethical approach to table skills) as an alternative approach to the “stick” (fear-based rubrics).

Professor Stipanowich presented "The Lincoln Way: Abraham Lincoln as Negotiator, Problem-Solver and Manager of Conflict."

Abstract: Abraham Lincoln is perhaps the most familiar figure in U.S. history, and the most written-about. Often ranked as America’s greatest President, he presided over the Union throughout the crucible of conflict that was our Civil War, and played the pivotal role in ending the enslavement of four million African Americans. At a time when unprecedented attention is focused on the causes, management, and resolution of conflict, consideration of Lincoln’s character, virtues and evolution provide a uniquely valuable focus of study. His life and career, culminating as a transformational leader, is an appropriate curtain raiser for a new avenue of investigation that views historical leaders through the lens of our recent exploration and growing understanding of the dynamics of problem-solving, negotiation and conflict resolution. 

Professor Weston presented "Using ADR Skills to Adjust the Sport Mindset and Promote Mental Health." 

Abstract: Problem-solving and collaborative conflict resolution techniques used in dispute resolution can be applied to increase awareness of mental health issues. These techniques can also be used to promote a governance system designed to a promote positive mental health culture in sport.

Additional information on the conference may be found at AALS Dispute Resolution Conference