Northern California ADR Faculty Conference

The NorCal ADR Faculty Conference is an annual gathering to share best teaching practices for ADR and Negotiation.

For almost 20 years, the Center for Negotiation and Dispute Resolution (CNDR) and our co-host, the Martin Daniel Gould Center for Conflict Resolution at Stanford Law School, have gathered law, business school, and undergrad ADR and Negotiation faculty from throughout Northern California to explore new topics and innovations in pedagogy in dispute resolution. It is also an opportunity to connect with others in the field and build relationships.

For faculty and ADR instructors only, not open to the general public. Generally held in February annually. Contact us with any questions.


2021 Speakers and Programs

The 2021 virtual conference was held on February 19th. To honor this past year, the theme was Virtual Learning & Inclusion. The Center also presented a special CNDR Honoree award to Professor Shirish Gupta in recognition of contributions and dedication to virtual learning and inclusion, and commitment to CNDR.

Secrets Revealed, What No One Told You About Online Instruction

Presented by Toby Guerin

This year, faculty from around the world quickly transitioned teaching from in-person classes to the virtual environment. This provided to be a rather daunting task for many, and particularly those who lead simulation and experiential courses and training. With a semester of online instruction behind her, Professor Toby Guerin, will share her missteps, successes, and overall lessons learned. The workshop will focus on the Zoom platform, however, the general information shared is transferrable to other software and learning management systems. The workshop will focus on three key areas of general instruction, student engagement, and assessment.

Toby Treem Guerin, J.D. is the Associate Director for the Center for Dispute Resolution at Maryland Carey School of Law and Clinical Instructor. At Maryland Carey Law she teaches and advises students on dispute resolution courses and careers. Ms. Guerin has over fifteen years of experience as a neutral in various venues including government agencies, non-profit organizations, schools, and court systems. She served as the first chairperson of the Mediator Excellence Council, a mediator quality assistance initiative in Maryland and is the primary author of the Maryland ADR Landscape, a comprehensive overview of court-affiliated ADR programs in Maryland. She is a trained mediator, facilitator, conflict-coach, ombudsperson, and restorative practitioner. She regularly trains on topics from basic to advanced mediation, co-mediation, giving and receiving feedback, and negotiation. Ms. Guerin is the past chair of the MD State Bar Association’s Alternative Dispute Resolution Section and the recipient of the 2020 Chief Judge Robert M. Bell Award for Outstanding Contribution to ADR in Maryland.


Incorporating Race Into ADR Instruction

Presented by Kavya Mohankumar and Shirish Gupta

In addition to transitioning to a virtual teaching environment, educators have been shifting from a race-neutral or race-avoiding syllabus to a race-conscious one. In this session, UC Hastings adjunct professors Shirish Gupta and Kavya Mohankumar will lead a discussion on how to include race into our ADR teachings.

Shirish Gupta serves as an Adjunct Professor at UC Hastings, a Lecturer at UC Berkeley Law School and a Lecturer with Santa Clara Law School. He is sought out by law firms and in-house departments for mediation and negotiation trainings. Shirish is an award-winning mediator and arbitrator with JAMS and is known for his legal acumen and economic prowess, which makes him particularly adept at diving into complex financial/technical disputes, including IP, regulatory and accounting, environmental and class actions. Shirish is sought out by Silicon Valley startups, as well as Fortune 500 companies. In 2014, The Recorder conducted an extensive survey of Bay Area attorneys and named Shirish the Best Independent Mediator. Prior to joining JAMS, Shirish practiced law with Mayer Brown, Howard Rice and Flashpoint Law. Shirish has been a leader in the majority and diverse bar associations. Shirish served as Co-Chair of the California State Bar Council of Sections, President of the South Asian Bar of Northern California and Alternate Regional Governor of National Asian Pacific American Bar Association.

Kavya Mohankumar is an in-house attorney specializing in data privacy and complex commercial & technology transactions. Ms. Mohankumar currently serves as Associate General Counsel at Rodan + Fields, LLP in San Francisco, where she leads a team responsible for successfully negotiating the company’s commercial contracts, deals and acquisitions. In addition to teaching Negotiations at UC Hastings, Ms. Mohankumar also serves as adjunct professor for Civil Procedure at the Lincoln Law School of San Jose. Ms. Mohankumar graduated from Santa Clara University School of Law in 2006, and also holds a Bachelor’s degree in LifeSciences & Biochemistry from the St. Xavier’s college in Mumbai, India.


Beyond Technology: Negotiation Keeps On Changing

Presented by Noam Ebner

The COVID-19 era has deeply impacted conflict, negotiation, formal dispute resolution mechanisms, and mediation practice, the world over. With the transition to online activity, focus on the nuts and bolts of online process conduct, and on the technology’s effects on processes, is understandable and important.
And yet, Noam Ebner will suggest in this session, technology itself is the least interesting part of the changes that negotiators, parties to conflict, and mediators will encounter in the years to come. Technology’s utility notwithstanding, focusing primarily on its use for online processes only distracts us from a far more significant upheaval taking place over the past few decades: people are changing. Changing as humans, we are also changing as parties, negotiators and mediators. The pandemic era has only accelerated this process.
How are humans changing? What areas of negotiation and conflict are affected? What are the impacts of such change on negotiation theory, and conflict practice? What roles can our classrooms serve in coping with such change? What will that require of us, as teachers?
Tune in.

Noam Ebner is a professor of negotiation and conflict resolution at Creighton University. Previously, he taught at a number of universities around the world while practicing as an attorney, negotiator, mediator, and mediator trainer. An early innovator in the online teaching of negotiation and conflict resolution, Noam chaired Creighton’s online graduate program on Negotiation and Conflict Resolution for many years, teaching dozens of courses online while spearheading the program’s curricular and pedagogical development. He has consulted on online learning to programs, universities, and teachers, and taught a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on negotiation.

Noam co-edited The Palgrave Handbook of Cross-cultural Business Negotiation (2019) and Assessing Our Students, Assessing Ourselves; Vol.3 in The Rethinking Negotiation Teaching Project (2012). His writing ( focuses on negotiation pedagogy; trust in negotiation; Online Dispute Resolution; and the future of the negotiation, mediation, and legal fields. Currently, he is co-editing a book on Star Wars and Conflict Resolution.


Past Speakers and Programs

2020 NorCal Conference


Professors John Dean and CNDR Director Sheila Purcell (both UC Hastings) explored the growing field of ODR in the private world, and increasingly, in courts, with a focus on the importance of preparing our students for how to use it in their careers.

Norcal IMG_4102

Professor Clint Waasted (UC Hastings) gave an informative presentation on how he uses an individualized and flexible teaching model to help students identify their strengths and areas for growth in his hands-on Negotiation classes.


Professor Janet Martinez (Stanford) presented on a successful new course at Stanford designed to increase open dialogue between students, while also creating a safe space for sensitive conversations to occur.

2018 NorCal Conference

TRANSFORMATIVE MEDIATION presented by Yishai Boyarin

The workshop explored Transformative Mediation in the context of clinical work with students and focus on techniques for teaching the importance of listening and being non-directive in the context of mediation.  The presenter was until recently the director of the mediation clinic at Hofstra, where for the last five years transformative mediation was the approach taught to the students and explored in their clinical work.


This workshop discussed a method developed to videotape and review student negotiations using the recording capabilities of smartphones and the storage capabilities of Cloud computing; how to utilize a universal phone bracket, a lightweight tripod and a student’s smartphone to capture high-definition video for future review and analysis.  It included approaches for using the videos as a teaching tool, including a written diagnostic assessment and homework assignment for students to complete in connection with the viewing of their negotiation videos.

INFLUENCE SMALL BIG presented by Jessica Notini

Many of us teach the psychological principles of persuasion, often referencing the work of Robert Cialdini, the research of Melissa Nelken and others. Ms. Notini explored new research and findings in the field as presented in The Small B!G: Small Changes that Spark BIG Influence, by Martin, Goldstein and Cialdini.  We discussed best practices for incorporating these concepts in our classes, whether as a separate module or integrated into other modules, and shared some of our favorite demonstrations, videos and exercises for bringing the influencing strategies to life.


Becoming locked in a particular point of view or perspective can lead to impasse and impede forward progress in negotiations and conflict resolution. This interactive session used experiential learning techniques and applied improvisation to shift and expand perspective around issues, values, and positions by accessing intuitive and generative ways of knowing.

CREATING A NEGOTIATION MOOC presented by David Johnson

This workshop discussed the burgeoning online education space and Mr. Johnson’s first free and open online course was the global student with English and computer fluency who had not yet received any negotiation training in their education. The course was built around single-topic videos, most 5-6 minutes in length, deployed in modules to create a five week arc of instruction. Mr. Johnson discuss the state of the world in online platforms; his design/build/deliver process, and lessons learned about MOOCs.