Director of CNDR


Sheila Purcell is the Director and Clinical Professor of the Center for Negotiation and Dispute Resolution. For 16 years she designed and directed a public/private dispute resolution partnership of the San Mateo Superior Court, bar and community with civil, small claims, family, probate, complex litigation and juvenile court ADR programs and staff. She also oversaw the courts’ Jury Division and Self Help Center. In the early 1990’s she worked throughout California as the State Bar’s ADR Program Developer, received a Coro Fellowship in Public Affairs and mediated for the S.F. Mayor’s Office. She received an ABA award for organizing the first-ever national Court ADR conference. Publications include A Bench Guide to ADR along with numerous articles. She has consulted and presented nationally and in Bosnia, China, Hong Kong, Italy, India, the Netherlands, Singapore and Slovenia. She received a California Dispute Resolution Council Founder’s Award and special recognition from California’s Supreme Court Chief Justice. Her court’s ADR program was a recipient of the “Kleps” Award for Innovation. She helped launch and is one of the lead faculty for CNDR’s groundbreaking Court ADR Systems Design Institute for international judges and lawyers. She oversees the Center where each year approximately 500 students engage in a dispute resolution course and master skills through the Mediation Clinic, the Externship Program and the award winning Mediation and Negotiation Team. In 2012 US News and World Report CNDR ranked Hastings in the top ten of ADR programs nationally.



  1. University of California Santa Cruz

    B.A., Social Anthropology and Environmental Studies

  2. University of California Hastings College of the Law

    J.D., Law


  1. Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Mediation 2013

    Awarded by the Mediation Society.

  2. James Dennis Award for Justice in the Community 2012

    Awarded by the San Mateo County Bar Association.

  3. ABA Award 2010

    Awarded by the American Bar Association for organizing the first-ever national Court ADR conference.

  4. Kleps Award for Innovation 2010

    Awarded by California Courts

  5. Special Recognition 2008

    Conferred by California Supreme Court Chief Justice Ron George.

  6. Founders Award 2004

    Awarded by the Californian Dispute Resolution Council.

Selected Scholarship

  1. Mediators in the Field: Experiences Around the Globe 01/2014

    Dispute Resolution Magazine

  2. Dispute System Design: A Comparative Study of India, Israel, and California 01/2013

    UC Hastings Research Papers

  3. Court Program Funding: Advice From the Trenches 01/2002

    Dispute Management Magazine


  1. Facilitation for Attorneys
  2. Negotiation