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About the President, Lee Jay Berman

Lee Jay Berman

Lee Jay Berman brings unmatched experience to his work as a trainer, lecturer and keynote speaker on topics relating to mediation, conflict resolution, and negotiation.  Lee Jay is the founder and President of the American Institute of Mediation, leaving his position as Director of Pepperdine Law School’s “Mediating the Litigated Case” program after seven years to launch this forward-thinking institution offering "World Class Training for the Complete Mediator".   The AIM Institute quickly rose to national prominence as the place where leading mediators turn to continue their learning and career development.

With over 29 years of experience as a commercial mediator, over 2,700 mediations under his belt, and posting resolutions rates over 90% every year, Lee Jay brings the successes and failures from his work in the trenches into the classroom to share with his audiences. His deep understanding and experience with the mediation process, risk analysis, legal rights and remedies, court systems, negotiation theory, people, motivations, difficult personalities, and the neuroscience of what drives people in conflict, along with his unique experiences in and out of the court system, law schools, mediation rooms and training judges and mediators all over the world are the primary reasons for his being chosen to resolve the most complex legal matters and highly emotional and intractable disputes.  Lee Jay organizes parties and issues into logical, digestible order, and he is a very quick study who rapidly identifies where the conflicts are and in what order they need to be resolved.  For this reason, he is frequently engaged to manage the most complex disputes with multiple parties, multiple layers of insurance, cross complaints between all parties, and complex business and financial issues.  He is also highly effective with emotionally charged disputes where one or more of the parties requires extra attention, or where the information is highly confidential, complex or sensitive.

Lee Jay is unmatched in his experience in the field of mediation. He is a national panelist with the American Arbitration Association, a Distinguished Fellow with the International Academy of Mediators since 2003, a Charter Diplomat and national advisory board member with the National Association of Distinguished Neutrals, and a Dispute Resolution Expert with the United Nations Development Programme.  Chambers USA ranks him among the top commercial mediators in the U.S. annually since 2017, and recently Band 1, among the top 13 in the country.  He has been voted by his colleagues into the Who’s Who of International Commercial Mediation from 2012-2023, and they named him one of the 10 Global Thought Leaders in North America.  ADR Times named him to their inaugural “Who’s Who in ADR”.  The Association of Media and Entertainment Counsel honored him with their 2024 Counsel of the Year Award for Excellence in ADR.  The National Academy of Distinguished Neutrals (NADN) named him their inaugural “Distinguished Neutral of the Year” in 2017.  California’s Daily Journal twice named him “Top Neutral”.  The Southern California Mediation Association has honored him with both their Cloke-Millen Peacemaker of the Year (2021) and L. Randolph Lowry Award (2010) for his work as a mediator, trainer, and thought leader in the field.  He is a AAA Master Mediator for employment matters, a national panelist on their commercial and construction panels, and a select mediator on their International Center for Dispute Resolution mediation panel.  He is a Distinguished Fellow with the International Academy of Mediators, a Charter Diplomat with NADN, and was one of the first 5 U.S. mediators certified by the International Mediation Institute. 

Nationally, Lee Jay chaired the ABA Dispute Resolution Section’s Training Committee for four years, developing a national database of trainers and programs, and delivering training programs to support up-and-coming mediation marketplaces.  He has also delivered numerous webinars for legal and ADR organizations including the American Bar Association, Association of Attorney Mediators, California Lawyers Association, Southern California Mediation Association, American Institute of Mediation, and many more. Lee Jay has trained for state bar ADR sections and statewide mediation organizations in 19 states, and has taught lawyers, judges, business leaders and governmental agencies all over the country.  As a consultant, independently and with the Harvard and Pepperdine faculties, Lee Jay has taught conflict resolution, negotiation and client development skills to business leaders, client service professionals, and insurance claims professionals in 20 states and in Europe and the Middle East. 

Internationally, Lee Jay has trained in Amsterdam, Dubai, New Delhi, New Zealand, and throughout Australia, and has had groups flown in to train with him from Croatia, Jordan, and Uzbekistan.  His work with the Delhi High Court included helping to write the Delhi High Court's Mediation Rule of Law, which was later adopted by the Indian Supreme Court, and designing the Tiz Hizari Court’s MediationCenter.

In addition to Pepperdine, Lee Jay has also trained and lectured at BondUniversity,  University of Texas - Austin, Southern Methodist University, University of California – Santa Barbara, Southwestern Law School, Cal-State Northridge, Ventura College of Law, LipscombUniversity, and FaulknerUniversity.

He has been a conflict analyst on the KTLA 5 Morning News in Los Angeles, and he has published dozens of articles on Mediation and negotiation.  He is a popular and motivating speaker on topics including negotiation, conflict resolution, ADR and ADR Ethics.  He co-hosted a radio talk show on conflict resolution called Talk It Over and authors the popular blog Eye On Conflict.  The ABA will be publishing two of his books in 2020.

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What people have said about him:

Victoria Pynchon's post, Eye on Conflict is Cause for Celebration, on her Commercial ADR blog about the effect that Lee Jay has had on her career.


"Lee Jay is one of the few dispute resolution professionals seemingly born to be a mediator and trainer of the first order. His exceptional skills are exceeded only by his persistence and tenacity. Lee Jay has an exceptional capacity to communicate with widely diverse audiences credibly and persuasively. His enthusiasm, excellence and effectiveness are extraordinary.”

- Larry Bridgesmith , Executive Director , Lipscomb University Institute for Conflict Management

“The course presented a great deal of material with clarity in a short period of time.  My negotiation skills are greatly enhanced and this course is my springboard into being a professional mediator.”

- Neil Reynolds, Architecture & Construction Consulting, Woodland Hills, CA

“The presentation was superb, and the material useful and interesting.  The mediation exercises were especially helpful.  I’ve already recommended to other colleagues that they consider taking the course to enhance their professional skills.

- Mark Loeterman, Esq., Cole & Loeterman, Los Angeles, CA

"Lee Jay is a dynamic, enthusiastic instructor.  He energizes the class, easily leads them into participation.  His willingness to “teach” – “impart knowledge” (as opposed to simply demonstrate knowledge) is refreshing."

- Litigation Attorney

"Lee Jay is excellent.  He holds interest, he’s responsive, he’s knowledgeable, and he teaches from the heart and mind."

- U.S. Dept. of Justice Attorney

"Lee Jay has excellent communication skills and the broadest perspective imaginable!  He’s knowledgeable and responsive to class concerns.  The course is logical, progressive, and builds on what has gone before.  It focuses on integrating personal style and traits with the art of mediation.

- Attorney/Mediator

"You obviously are very passionate about the mediation process and have a sincere desire to impart your knowledge and experience to help all of us improve our mediation skills. Your generosity in that regard is greatly appreciated. It was two days well spent."

-Craig von Sternberg



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