Negotiating, Mediating and Managing Conflict: Evolution in a Global Society

On April 10th, 2008, Teahouse Media had the privilege to document a day long conference, “Negotiating, Mediating and Managing Conflict: Evolution in a Global Society,” planned and hosted by the Straus Institute of the Pepperdine University School of Law. The following videos are previews of a few of the presentations that will soon appear on the Straus Institute site.

Conference Videos

Introduction with Dean Linda Livingstone

Dean of the Graziadio School of Business at Pepperdine University, Linda Livingstone, launched the conference by noting the increasing number of cross-cultural conflicts that will arise as the “world becomes flatter.”

Topic I: Culture, Tradition and Language in Cross-Border Negotiations and International Conflict

Professor John Barkai

In this fast-paced and informative presentation, John Barkai, Professor of Law from the University of Hawaii, explains how cultural dimensions impact negotiations and dispute resolution. A demonstration of the role perceptions can play illustrates how unnoticed bias slips into our relationships. Includes references to key works in the field.

Michael Zacharia

Recent Straus graduate Michael Zacharia takes us “inside the deal” as he draws upon his personal experiences negotiating complex business deals with foreign entities. Students who intend to practice law or conduct business with foreign firms will find this talk especially relevant.

Andrew Aglionby

In this video, Hong Kong-based attorney Andrew Aglionby cautions that, while cultural stereotypes may prove valuable in some instances, attorneys and mediators must bring a more nuanced understanding to the table when resolving cross-cultural disputes.

Panel Discussion

The “Culture, Tradition, and Language in Cross-Border Negotiations and International Conflict Panel” responds to the audience in a lively question and answer session.

Topic II: Global Evolution of Business Mediation

Thomas Stipanowich Introduction

Academic Director of the Straus Institute, Thomas Stipanowich, delivers introductory remarks on the Global Evolution of mediation and describes the recent collaboration between the Straus Institute and the Beijing Arbitration Commission.

Paul Grossman

Paul Grossman of the Paul Hastings law firm provides a “hands-on” perspective of mediation from the perspective of a U.S. lawyer specializing in employment law. A prolific user of ADR services, Grossman delivers an insider’s view of the mediation process that students studying the law or mediation will find extremely helpful.

John Hinchey

John Hinchey, the author of the book International Construction Arbitration and a member of the JAMS construction panel, discusses the manner in which the construction industry has become a pioneer in designing flexible and “real time” dispute resolution processes.

Jay Welsh

Jay Welsh, General Counsel for JAMS, looks at “how we got here” with a view toward where we are going, globally, in the future. He draws upon the rich history of JAMS, the single largest provider of ADR services, to paint a picture of mediation’s future around the globe.

Professor Hal Abramson

Professor Hal Abramson discusses his latest research regarding the use of mediation in China. His work has begun to identify areas of similarity and areas where the approach may differ.

Madame Wang Hongsong

Madame Wang Hongsong, Secretary General, Beijing Arbitration Commission, chronicles the emerging use of mediation by the Beijing Arbitration Commission in an informative presentation that provides viewers with an up-to-date picture of western-style business mediation in China. Includes news of the ground-breaking collaboration between the BAC and the Straus Institute in training mediators.

Keynote Address

Mary Walker

In this multi-part keynote address, Mary Walker, General Counsel, U.S. Air Force, addresses the vital role the ethical culture of a corporation plays in the success of dispute resolution programs. Corporations that integrate heartfelt values into their culture find these values support and enhance corporate-wide dispute resolution programs.

Topic III: Early and Effective Conflict Management for Global Organizations


Peter Robinson, co-director of the Straus Institute, introduces the afternoon session devoted to discussion of “Early and Effective Conflict Management for Global Organizations.” Panel members who introduce themselves include: Kathleen Bryan, President & CEO International Institute for Conflict Prevention & Resolution; Phillip Armstrong, Litigation Attorney for Georgia Pacific; Stephen Gates, Former Senior Vice President & Group General Counsel ConocoPhillips; Charles Morgan, Managing Director FTI Consulting.

Part I

The panel discusses an emerging trend toward the systematic review and early evaluation of all cases coming into a corporation’s legal department with a focus on identifying conflicts that may be suitable for ADR. The question of how much discovery is actually needed before engaging in settlement efforts is raised.

Part II

The role of General Counsel or head of litigation in managing cases and engaging in early evaluation of ADR suitability is discussed. The respective roles of outside litigators and in-house counsel are considered in the context of early evaluation. Includes comments on the importance of viewing case management within the overall context of corporate goals.

Part III

Panelists note that the development of fully integrated conflict resolution systems that include provisions for resolution and prevention of conflict is rare within corporations, but the need for integrated systems is now emerging as a topic of discussion. The panel’s focus turns to corporations with international operations and the need to develop systems to handle conflicts in varied cultural settings with differing legal systems.