Negotiation and Dispute Resolution Director Brings Global Perspectives to UC Hastings

UC Hastings CNDR Director HIro Aragaki wants to expand the center’s global reach and broaden its connections with legal scholars and real-world practitioners.

For nearly two decades, UC Hastings has been home to a top-rated dispute resolution program that offers cutting-edge classes, hosts an award-winning negotiation and dispute resolution team, and brings together scholars and practitioners from the Bay Area and beyond.

This year, a new director – Hiro Aragaki – has taken on the role of leading the school’s renowned Center for Negotiation and Dispute Resolution (CNDR). Aragaki said he plans to build on the center’s success, forge new relationships with professionals who work in the field, and expand the center’s global footprint.

“One of the things that excites me about the center is its international reach,” Aragaki said. “I know the center has been very connected to the international ADR community, and I hope to build on those connections.”

Aragaki is no stranger to Hastings’ CNDR. He worked as an adjunct professor when the center was launched in 2003.

A consultant on major ADR reform projects in Africa and Asia, Aragaki said he has a special interest in how mediation is evolving internationally. He’s engaged in multiple research projects looking at mediation and arbitration from international and comparative perspectives. “We live in an increasingly globalized environment,” he said. “Learning to navigate transcultural issues in dispute resolution will be extremely valuable for our students.”

As the center’s director, he will teach a negotiation course in Fall 2022 and a new course called the ADR Honors Colloquium in Spring 2023. The colloquium will feature guest lectures by prominent ADR scholars and practitioners; lectures that will be open to the public. “It’s an opportunity for students to learn about new and cutting-edge ideas still being developed and to be exposed to leaders in our field,” he said.

Aragaki has also invited an African legal scholar to further her research on U.S. mediation practices this year as a UC Hastings Affiliated Scholar. Victoria Banke Olagbegi-Oloba is a mediation pioneer from Nigeria.

He added that he’s particularly interested in bringing more UC Hastings alumni into the fold at CNDR, “I would welcome hearing from interested alumni.”

The new director plans to keep supporting the center’s award-winning negotiation and dispute resolution team, which has been winning national and international competitions for the last two decades. “They’re a great ambassador for the law school both domestically and internationally,” he said.

He also wants to continue offering skills training for real-world practitioners. Last year, the center trained more than 200 hearing officers, attorneys and other staff from the California Labor Commission. It expects to train an additional 130 people this year. “The center is a forum to bring together not just scholars, academics, and students, but also the practitioner community and non-lawyers who might benefit from dispute resolution,” Aragaki said.

As CNDR approaches its 20-year anniversary next year, Aragaki said he wants to keep the center – which has been ranked a top 10 dispute resolution program by U.S. News & World Report – at the forefront of the legal profession, “I hope to continue the original and impactful work that CNDR has been doing, not just in terms of providing our students with top notch legal training and opportunities, but also in terms of engaging scholars, practitioners, legal reformers, and thought leaders.”