Sheila Purcell

Emerita Clinical Professor and Former Director of CNDR


Sheila Purcell is an Emerita Clinical Professor and the former Director of the Center for Negotiation and Dispute Resolution (CNDR). 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, Morocco, the Netherlands, Singapore, Slovenia and Uzbekistan. 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.

At Hastings,  Professor Purcell Professor Purcell taught Negotiation, Mediation, Facilitation, and Dispute System Design. She helped launch and is one of the lead faculty for CNDR’s groundbreaking International Court ADR Institute for international judges and lawyers. In her almost 10 years as Director, Professor Purcell oversaw an consistently top ranked Center where each year approximately one-third of all students continue to engage in a dispute resolution course and master skills through the Mediation Clinic, the Externship Program, and the award-winning Mediation and Dispute Resolution Team. In 2018 she lead CNDR to a US News and World Report ranking in the top ten of ADR programs nationally, and CNDR received the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ADR Education Award.

Donate to the Sheila Purcell ADR Scholarship

CNDR Director Purcell Retires

Selected Scholarship

Journal Articles

  • Mediators in the Field: Experiences Around the Globe, 20 Disp. Resol. Mag. 27 (Winter 2014). FULLTEXT
  • Dispute System Design: A Comparative Study of India, Israel and California, 14 Cardozo J. Conflict Resol. 807 (2013) (with Janet Martinez, Hagit Shaked-Gvili & Mohan Mehta). FULLTEXT SSRN
  • Court Program Funding: Advice from the Trenches, 9 Disp. Resol. Mag. 19 (Winter 2003). FULLTEXT


  • University of California Santa Cruz
    B.A., Social Anthropology and Environmental Studies

  • University of California Hastings College of the Law
    J.D., Law


  • Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Education Award
    Awarded by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
    2007 and 2018

  • Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Mediation
    Awarded by the Mediation Society.

  • James Dennis Award for Justice in the Community
    Awarded by the San Mateo County Bar Association.

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

  • Kleps Award for Innovation
    Awarded by California Courts

  • Special Recognition
    Conferred by California Supreme Court Chief Justice Ron George.

  • Founders Award
    Awarded by the Californian Dispute Resolution Council.