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Student Spotlight: Gustavo Vieira (LLM '22)

"When I discovered mediation, I knew that it was the mechanism that needed to be explored in Brazil."

Gustavo Vieira (LLM '22) discovered alternative dispute resolution, or ADR, through a tense employment dispute, where he--then a new attorney in Brazil--represented a young woman who suffered emotional distress from her employer. While he explained the litigation process to her, it became clear that she wanted more from the justice system than simple monetary compensation. "I was just starting my legal career, but even I knew that the judicial system was not sufficient, and I needed to look for better ways to resolve these types of disputes."

He applied to the Straus Institute to gain international experience and expand his knowledge about dispute resolution. "I fell in love with the campus, the structure, and of course, the Malibu ocean view." He also loved the expansive curriculum that Straus offered, including the wide varieties of specializations in the Master of Law program. He hoped to develop creative problem-solving, leadership, and self-management skills.

During his time at the Straus Institute, Gustavo has been an active learner and participant in all facets of campus life. From taking an active role in the recent Global Village Day to mentoring new students, and engaging with professors. He regularly networks with employers and is completing his externship at the Los Angeles City Attorney's Office's Dispute Resolution Program.

He credits professors Diego Faleck and Sukhsimranjit Singh as his mentors. Professor Faleck, is a renowned mediator in Brazil who heads up systems for victims' compensation of environmental disasters and aviation accidents. "He taught me that no dispute resolution method is inherently better than the others; therefore, there is an adequate avenue for each dispute...It falls on the ADR professional to inform his client about the different methods so that he or she can make the best decision." Gustavo also loved Professor Singh's Mediation class, saying, "What I learned from him can hardly be expressed in words." However, Gustavo's father, a hardworking and successful employment lawyer is his greatest role model.

For future Straus students, Gustavo recommends visualizing their journey in dispute resolution and in Malibu. He truly believes that by imagining yourself following your passion, you are one step closer to achieving your goals. "You can truly trigger feelings and emotions with the power of your mind. The more you practice, the closer you are to turn your thoughts into your reality." Gustavo intends to utilize his degree to one day become an organizational ombudsman at a multinational corporation, making an impact on workplace policy and people management.