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Straus Institute Successfully Hosts First-Ever Mediation Competition

On Monday, March 8, the Straus Institute hosted its first-ever Mediation Competition, bringing together 15 competitors, dozens of alumni, and top commercial mediators and lawyers as judges to evaluate and mentor students. Professor Stephanie Blondell, who teaches the Mediation Clinic and directs the Masters in Dispute Resolution Program, spearheaded the event, held from 3:00-9:00 pm Pacific. The competition featured COVID19-themed disputes as simulations, which were designed by current mediation practitioners.

Student competitors resolved challenges by employing methodology and effective negotiation strategies, and they were scored on their ability to effectively mediate and apply strategies by distinguished leaders in the ADR community. Once the judges had evaluated the competitors, they offered concrete feedback on the student's performance, improving their skills and knowledge for future practice. Students competed over three rounds, and the following students received top honors: First Place - Jared Lee; Second Place - Edwin Weaver; and Third Place - Sherri Sturgeon.

Jared Lee shared the following about the event:

The Mediation Competition was an amazing chance to practice my skills as a mediator, and I received very thoughtful and insightful feedback from the experienced judges. I learned so much about how to become a better mediator and look forward to continuing to grow and stretch the possibilities of the mediation field.

Pepperdine Caruso Law Dean Paul Caron shared remarks to begin the final rounds and Managing Director Professor Sukhsimranjit Singh thanked the community of alumni and judges in attendance for inspiring Straus students. Professor Blondell was assisted by Judge Alexander Williams, who co-teaches the Clinic with her, as well as a team of Straus students and staff including Weiwen Chen, Jamie Domke, Fabio Franco, Sasha Jayewardene, Erol Kilic, Ro Lee, Vasundhara Mehta, and Randi Redman.