Brish Miller with John Bates

John Bates Jr. J.D. ’74, right, congratulates 2017 Santa Clara Law graduate Brish Miller who received the first John B. Bates Jr. Dispute Resolution Award. Photo by Adam Hays.

John Bates Jr. J.D. ’74, one of the pioneers in the field of conflict resolution and a mediator at JAMS in San Francisco, has made a substantial gift to Santa Clara Law to support education in mediation and conflict resolution.

Bates has been practicing since 1974. He started at Cooley LLP, where he was a litigation partner. At the end of 1990, he left to form a mediation and arbitration firm with Bruce Edwards, which became known as Endispute and had 12 offices nationally. In 1994, it combined with JAMS to expand to 24 offices. Bates has mediated several thousand matters across the United States. He has conducted more than 100 lectures and trainings on mediation and published many articles on the subject. He has received many honors and awards, including the 2016 National Law Journal’s ADR Champion.

“Thanks to Santa Clara Law, I’ve been able to make a career in mediation,” says Bates. “My wife and I have made this gift to enable the school to become a magnet for Silicon Valley business and legal leaders who want to learn how to approach conflict in innovative ways in order to find solutions. To that end, Dean Kloppenberg has assembled an accomplished group of faculty, students, and practitioners to conduct trainings, classes, and related activities. Our hope is that this effort will raise the profile of the entire school and the community as innovators of conflict resolution and promoters of civility and respect for all,” he says.

Bates’ gift has enabled the Law School to create a new position, director of conflict resolution programming, and the first to hold this post is Dana Curtis J.D. ’87, who joined the Law School earlier this year. A recognized leader in the conflict resolution field, Curtis has devoted her career exclusively to mediation, beginning her full-time practice in 1991. Since serving for four years as a circuit mediator on staff with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, she has maintained a successful Sausalito-based mediation practice. Also a respected mediation teacher, Curtis has designed and facilitated hundreds of programs for law schools (including Santa Clara Law, Stanford, and Harvard), businesses, court panels, private groups, bar associations, and professional conferences throughout the United States and internationally.

In her new role at Santa Clara Law, Curtis will work with students, faculty, alumni, practitioners, and community members to help plan and coordinate a rich array of dispute resolution events. She will also help foster appreciation of the theory and skills of dispute resolution through classes, externships, clinics, competitions, workshops, conferences, and faculty scholarship. (Read an essay by Curtis here).

Bates’ gift has also created the John B. Bates Jr. Dispute Resolution Award, an award for graduating Santa Clara Law students in recognition of the student’s coursework, publications, performance, and service related to the field of dispute resolution. The inaugural award was given this year to Brish Miller (see photo).

“We are so grateful to John for his generosity and vision that will enable Santa Clara Law to better educate students in this critical field of conflict resolution,” says Lisa Kloppenberg, dean. “John is a leader in his field, and we appreciate his wisdom and guidance as we utilize his gift to create a robust, nationally recognized program in mediation at Santa Clara.”