Richard Birke

Professor of Law, Director of the Center for Dispute Resolution, Director of the Certificate Program in Dispute Resolution

Professor Richard Birke has taught dispute resolution for more than 15 years, starting his career at Stanford University and coming to Willamette University College of Law in 1993 to teach and direct the Center for Dispute Resolution (CDR). Under his leadership, the CDR has enjoyed high national ranking among academic dispute resolution centers in the United States. He is an award-winning author in the field of dispute resolution, and he has been deeply involved in the practice of ADR.

Professor Birke was a member of the Quality Assurance Team for the largest civil rights settlement in United States history (Glickman v. Pigman). He trained the neutrals for the appellate settlement programs at the Oregon Court of Appeals, and the First and Second Districts in California (San Francisco and Los Angeles). He continues to serve as a consultant and mediator for those programs. He has mediated many multi-party complex cases, including a 30-party land dispute over 150 acres of waterfront property in Mendocino, Calif., the relocation of the Cascade Head Trailhead and the creation of the Opal Creek Wilderness Area. In addition, he served as mediator in an $800 million dispute between a national railroad and an oil company and assisted with the process design aspects of an effort by a consortium of Oregon organizations to reform the state’s tax structure.

Professor Birke has trained hundreds of professionals from the fields of business, law, medicine and other disciplines in negotiation, mediation, dispute resolution, trial practice, risk analysis and related fields. He has lectured and taught in family law, criminal law, environmental law, commercial law and banking law. He has trained individuals from a prestigious list of firms and organizations, including the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, Nike, Mentor Graphics, Hewlett-Packard, Texaco, Intel, the Oregon Department of Justice, the Attorney Generals' Offices of Washington and Texas, the Arthur Andersen Consulting Group, the American Bar Association, the Oregon Court of Appeals, the First District Court of Appeal in California, and many of the largest law firms in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle and Portland. Additionally, Professor Birke has taught or lectured at Harvard University, Stanford University, Northwestern University in Chicago, Hamline University, the University of Oregon, the University of Washington, the University of Chicago and Duke University.


  • LL.M. Harvard University
  • J.D. New England School of Law, cum laude
  • B.A. Tulane University


  • "Neuroscience and Settlement: An Examination of Scientific Innovations and Practical Applications," forthcoming, Ohio State Journal of Dispute Resolution (2009).
  • "Law of the Body," Symposium Introduction, 45 Willamette Law Review 1 (2008).
  • "The Role of Trial in Promoting Cooperative Negotiation in Criminal Practice," 91 Marquette Law Review 39 (2007).
  • "Settlement" in Encyclopedia of Law and Society: American and Global Perspectives, ed. David Clark, Sage Publications, 2007.
  • “Mediation” in Encyclopedia of Law and Society: American and Global Perspectives, ed. David Clark, Sage Publications, 2007.
  • “Decision Trees Made Easy," in Lawyer Negotiation, Folberg and Golann (2006).
  • “Psychology and Dispute Resolution” in Dispute Resolution, Folberg and Golann (2005).
  • "Adjudication of Individual Black Farmers Claims: Resolution in the Fast Track" (with Folberg), ABA Journal (2004).
  • "U.S. Mediation in 2001: The Path That Brought America to Uniform Laws and Mediation in Cyberspace," 50 Am. J. Comp. L. 181 (2002) (with Louise Ellen Teitz).
  • "Forecasting Trial Outcomes: Lawyers Assign Higher Probabilities to Scenarios that Are Described in Greater Detail," 26Law & Hum. Behav. 159 (2002) (with Craig Fox).
  • "Apology and Forgiveness as Bargaining Commodities" (Green College Lecture Series, University of British Columbia, Fall 2001, published by University of Toronto Press).
  • "Evaluation and Facilitation: Moving Past Either/Or," 2000 J. Disp. Res. 309 (2000).
  • "Mandating Mediation of Money: The Implications of Enlarging the Scope of Domestic Relations Mediation from Custody to Full-Service," 35 Willamette L. Rev. 485 (1999).
  • "Reconciling Loss Aversion and Guilty Pleas," 1999 Utah L. Rev. 205 (1999).
  • "Psychological Principles in Negotiating Legal Settlements," 4 Harvard Negot. L. Rev. 1 (Spring 1999) (with Craig Fox.) (This article won the 1999 CPR Institute national award for best article of 1999.).
  • "Bargaining in the High Courts: Settlements and the Oregon Court of Appeals," 31 Willamette L. Rev. (1995).

Other Published Works

  • Electronic Publication: A Reprinted Edit of Psychological Principles in Civil Settlements, Oregon and Washington Bar Web Sites.
  • "An Interview With George Mitchell," Willamette Scene, Spring 2001.
  • "Adjudication of Individual Black Farmers Claims: Resolution in the Fast Track," ABA Journal, Forthcoming (with Jay Folberg)(2004).
  • "Settlement Psychology: When Decision Making Processes Fail, 18 Alternatives to the High Cost of Litigation," December 2000.
  • Book Reviews and Lead Articles appearing in Dispute Resolution Alert, October 2000-present (5 book reviews and 2 lead articles annually).
  • "Peer Mediation: Are We 'Merely’ Solving Problems, or Are We Changing the Way People Think?," ABA Tort & Insurance Practice Section Quarterly, Spring 2000 (with Loren Podwill).
  • "ABA Training Manual for High School Peer Mediators," ABA Press 1997.
  • "Two Views: Is Alternative Dispute Resolution Preventative?" (with Ed Dauer) 15 Preventative Law Reporter 31 (1996).
  • "The Changing Face of Legal Training -- Teaching the Lawyer to be a Problem-Solver," 6 International Legal Studies 50 (1996).
  • "Negotiation Lessons from the Gulf War." (with Robert Mnookin), Harvard Negotiation Journal, January 1992.
  • "Simulation Writing Competition Winning Entries," (annual edited volumes), 1995-1999.