October 2, 2016 — On September 23 and 24, nearly forty lawyers, scholars and dispute resolution professionals from six continents joined more than forty graduate students for the International Summit on Mixed Mode Dispute Resolution. The Summit, hosted by Pepperdine School of Law’s Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution, took place at Pepperdine University’s Drescher Conference Center. The event was the first meeting of an international task force co-sponsored by Straus, the International Mediation Institute (IMI), and the College of Commercial Arbitrators.
The Task Force and Summit were set up to explore and promote understanding of dispute resolution scenarios that involve the interplay between processes of adjudication, such as arbitration, and processes aimed at facilitating agreement of some kind, notably mediation. This varied spectrum of complex “Mixed Mode” approaches are becoming increasingly important to the resolution of commercial disputes, both internationally and domestically. They are often approached in very different ways by different cultures and legal systems.
The Task Force is led by an executive committee composed of Professor Tom Stipanowich, Academic Director of the Straus Institute; Jeremy Lack (Member, IMI Independent Standards Commission, Switzerland); Deborah Masucci (Chair, IMI board of directors); Moti Mironi (Law Faculty, Haifa University Israel); Kathleen Paisley (Ambos NBGO, Belgium and UK) and Edna Sussman (President, College of Commercial Arbitrators).
A highlight of the conference for graduate students was the variety of networking opportunities built into the event. Speakers and LLM and MDR (Masters in Dispute Resolution) students were able to connect at a Thursday reception preceding the event, as well as at two dinners and small discussion group sessions that took place throughout the event. In the words of one graduate student, “Besides the fact that I found the session exceptionally useful, I got a chance to meet with amazing professionals and to network.” Professional participants were also appreciated the event; one experienced arbitrator reported, “It was truly the very best conference I have ever attended.”
Summit participants, who came from as far as Asia, Europe, the Middle-East and South America, agreed to create six working groups to promote international dialogue regarding the development of guidelines and best practices for mixed mode dispute resolution processes.