Pepperdine School of Law's Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution was recently ranked the number one dispute resolution program in the nation by US News & World Report for the 10th consecutive year. The remaining schools in the Top 5 for 2014 are Harvard University, University of Missouri-Columbia, Hamline University, and Ohio State University (Moritz).
Tom Stipanowich, academic director of the Straus Institute, William H. Webster Chair in Dispute Resolution, and professor of law, explains, "At a time when more and more law schools and academic institutions worldwide are trumpeting their programs and offerings on mediation, arbitration, and conflict management, it is gratifying (and humbling) to have been identified by our peers among the top programs in our burgeoning field for ten years in a row. The Straus Institute's academic offerings are as broad and deep as any in the world."
The Straus Institute was established in 1986 as the first dispute resolution program in the Southwest. From the beginning, the institute has recruited prominent full-time faculty and practitioners from throughout the U.S., Canada, Latin America, and Asia.
Straus offers two tracks of training: professional training programs and academic programs including the Certificate, a Master's (M.D.R.), and an LL.M. in dispute resolution. In 2004, Straus launched the Undergraduate Certificate in Conflict Management, a joint enterprise between Straus and Pepperdine's Seaver College. Last fall Straus launched a new LLM program with a concentration in international commercial arbitration.
Straus now offers more than 40 different courses in dispute resolution, including negotiation, mediation, arbitration, labor, entertainment dispute resolution, dispute resolution ethics, cross cultural conflict, psychology of conflict, and other areas. Courses are taught by six full-time Pepperdine professors, 22 local adjuncts, and 35 adjuncts and visiting faculty from around the world.
In 2007, Straus acquired the world's leading library from the American Arbitration Association, consisting of more than 24,000 titles. The AAA library includes titles on subjects ranging from international arbitration to consumer disputes and health law to the history and growth of public and private dispute resolution practices in the U.S. and abroad.
In recent years, Straus has launched the PACIS Project in Faith Based Diplomacy. In consultation with governments and religious leaders, the PACIS Project addresses identity-based conflicts that exceed the grasp of traditional diplomacy by combining religion with the practice of international diplomacy through an innovative model of faith-based reconciliation. Working with leaders in policymaking circles, foreign ministries, national security agencies, religious denominational communities, and humanitarian non-governmental organizations, the project has already brought about tangible fruit in the United States, Sudan, Kashmir, and recently in the Arab and Israeli spheres of influence. Since 1995, Straus has enrolled Fulbright scholars from around the world in addition to Muskie Fellows and Weinstein International Fellows, and Rotary International Scholars.