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Straus Institute Hosts Second Annual Mediation Competition

On Tuesday, March 15, 2022, the Straus Institute hosted its Second Annual Mediation Competition, bringing together twenty skilled student competitors, dozens of alumni role-players and timekeepers, as well as distinguished judges and practitioners to evaluate the mediations and offer feedback to the participants. This year’s theme focused on diversity, equity, inclusion (DEI), and each of the three rounds presented competitors with mediating a complex dispute in the area. 

The online event began at 1:00 pm, with Professor Stephanie Blondell, who supervised the staff and the Mediation Competition Honor Board, opening the event with remarks. ”We, at the Pepperdine Caruso School of Law and at the Straus Institute are honored to sponsor an event that highlights the talent of the next generation of mediations. We honor the students’ courage to stand up and receive feedback and we celebrate the generosity of our mediation community willing to show up and share their words of wisdom.”

After two completed rounds, four finalists -- Ahilya Pulsakar, Jamie Jensen, Nathan Peterson, and William Struemke -- were selected to compete, and a virtual audience was able to observe the mediation in progress. Professor Sukhsimranjit Singh delivered remarks before the final rounds began, expressing his support for the event, which brings together the Straus community, and sharing his gratitude for the professionals who mentored the students as judges. These included: Justice Tricia Bigelow, Judge Alexander Williams III, Tamara Lopez, Steve Rottman, Jan Schau, Matt Ariago, Professor Stephanie Blondell, Denise Madigan, Shaphan Roberts, Orit Asanin, and Michael Eagleson.  

William (Billy) Struemke won the competition with the highest tallied score, followed closely by  Jamie Jensen, Ahilya Pulsakar, and Nathan Peterson. 

This event was not possible without the ardent support and dedication of the Mediation Competition Honor Board, which was led by Co-Chairs Jared Lee and Fabio Franco, and included Sherri Sturgeon, Judge Charles Huguelet, Edwin Weaver, Payton Silket, and Noah Shaw. Straus staff members Randi Redman, Ro Lee, Aparna Gupta, as well as Straus intern Sharmila Adyanthaya were instrumental in the organization and implementation of the competition.