Thomas J. Stipanowich

Pepperdine University - Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution
Malibu, CA

Thomas J. Stipanowich is William H. Webster Chair in Dispute Resolution and Professor of Law at Pepperdine University, as well as Academic Director of the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution (ranked number one among academic dispute resolution programs each of the last eight years by U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT), where he teaches courses in negotiation, mediation, arbitration, international arbitration and dispute resolution, contracts and remedies.  He is a leading scholar, speaker and trainer on conflict resolution topics as well as an experienced arbitrator and mediator.  He is co-author, with Professors Ian Macneil and Richard Speidel, of the groundbreaking five-volume treatise FEDERAL ARBITRATION LAW: AGREEMENTS, AWARDS & REMEDIES UNDER THE FEDERAL ARBITRATION ACT, cited by the United States Supreme Court and many other federal and state courts, and named Best New Legal Book by the Association of American Publishers.  He also co-authored RESOLVING DISPUTES: THEORY, LAW AND PRACTICE (2ND ED 2010), a law school course book supplemented by many practical exercises.  He is the author of many other much-cited publications on arbitration and dispute resolution, and has twice won the CPR Institute’s First Prize for Professional Articles (1987 and 2009)—most recently for Arbitration: The “New Litigation.”  In 2008, he received the D’Alemberte/Raven Award, the highest honor accorded by the ABA Section on Dispute Resolution, for contributions to the field.  In the fall of 2010 he was Scholar-in-Residence at the London office of WilmerHale.

Professor Stipanowich has extensive experience as a commercial and construction arbitrator, mediator, facilitator and special master, with emphasis on large and complex cases in the U.S. and internationally.  He has received appointments through the American Arbitration Association (AAA), JAMS, the International Center for Dispute Resolution (ICDR), the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), and the CPR Institute.  He has trained arbitrators or mediators for the AAA, CPR, the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and the Straus Institute; has facilitated internal and inter-organizational problem-solving and consensus-building efforts; and has helped develop corporate and institutional programs for avoiding or resolving disputes.  He is also on the arbitration panel of the Beijing Arbitration Commission and has played a major role in the development of their new mediation program.  He has participated in several international initiatives aimed at promoting institutional frameworks for the delivery of conflict resolution services in expanding economies.


He is currently an advisor on the ALI Restatement of U.S. Law on International Arbitration and was Editor-in-Chief of the influential COLLEGE OF COMMERCIAL ARBITRATORS PROTOCOLS FOR EXPEDITIOUS, COST EFFECTIVE COMMERCIAL ARBITRATION (2010).  The PROTOCOLS Received the 2010 Practical Achievement Award from the CPR Institute and the 2011 Lawyer as Problem Solver Award from the ABA Section on Dispute Resolution.  He was also co-chair of the National Roundtable on Consumer and Employment Dispute Resolution, a facilitated conversation among leading experts that convened at Pepperdine and Penn State Schools of Law.

As William L. Matthews Professor of Law at the University of Kentucky (1984-2001), he led the CPR Institute’s Commission on the Future of Arbitration, producing a book of practice guidelines, COMMERCIAL ARBITRATION AT ITS BEST: SUCCESSFUL STRATEGIES FOR BUSINESS USERS (2001).  Stipanowich may be the only individual who has been actively involved in the development of uniform laws as well as all of the leading providers’ arbitration rules and ethical standards.  He was academic advisor for revisions to the Uniform Arbitration Act and the Uniform Mediation Act, and chief drafter of the Consumer Due Process Protocol (1997) governing consumer ADR programs, which became the basis of the AAA’s consumer arbitration procedures.  He served on the Board of Directors of the American Arbitration Association (AAA), and was the first AAA International Visiting Scholar.  He helped revise the AAA’s Construction Dispute Resolution Rules and gave input into various procedures of CPR and JAMS. He also served as Public Member and, later, Chair of the Securities Industry Conference on Arbitration (SICA). He was actively involved in the revision of the Code of Ethics for Arbitrators in Commercial Disputes.  In 1991, he founded (and was for a time the interim director of) the Mediation Center of Kentucky, a court-connected program still in operation.

From 2001 to 2006 Stipanowich served as President and CEO of the New York-based International Institute for Conflict Prevention & Resolution (CPR Institute), a coalition of leading corporate general counsel, senior attorneys, scholars and judges, and one of the world’s leading dispute resolution organizations.  Under his leadership the Institute expanded its operations in the EU and China and started other initiatives on commercial mediation and dispute resolution.  He created CPR’s Corporate Counsel Roundtable and piloted the creation of the first extensive integrated training program on conflict management with a major international law firm.  He expanded the CPR Board to include several leading corporate counsel, increased CPR’s annual revenues and moved CPR into larger headquarters in midtown Manhattan.

Stipanowich received his bachelors and masters degrees in architecture (as a National Merit Scholar) with highest honors (Bronze Tablet), winning among other awards the American Institute of Architects School Medal, the Ryerson European Traveling Fellowship, and the Allerton American Traveling Fellowship; and a law degree (magna cum laude, Order of the Coif) from the University of Illinois.  Upon graduation he joined what was then the nation’s leading construction law practice, Smith, Currie & Hancock, in Atlanta, where he acquired extensive experience with litigation, arbitration and mediation.  After becoming a professor of law he continued law practice for a number of years as counsel for Stites & Harbison, a large southeastern law firm.  He also holds an AV-rating from Martindale-Hubbell and was recently listed among Top-Rated Lawyers in Southern California and Top Construction Lawyers nationally.

Stipanowich received the highest honor (Companionship) of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, is a Fellow of the American College of Construction Lawyers, a Founding Fellow of the American College of Commercial Arbitrators, an Honorary Member of the International Academy of Mediators (IAM), and the American College of Civil Trial Mediators (ACCTM), and an Honorary Member of the Garibaldi ADR Inn of Court.  He was selected as one of 500 outstanding lawyers in America in a survey conducted by a new legal magazine, LAWDRAGON.  In 2011 he received the Randolph Lowry Award from the Southern California Mediation Association in recognition of his scholarly contributions in the field of conflict resolution.